What does Employee Engagement mean?
To simply define employee engagement, it is an approach that results in each employee giving their best to the organization. An employee is engaged when he/she is enthusiastic about their work and perform tasks more than what is assigned to them to fulfill organization’s goals.
Let’s understand this term better. We will start by clearing off a few myths and look at what an engaged employee doesn’t mean.
What isn’t part of employee engagement?
- Every happy employee is certainly not an engaged employee. Most of the employees feel good at the pool tables and at Friday parties however a happy employee differs from an engaged one. For all you know your happy employee may be using your internet to search for better opportunities outside.
- Even a satisfied employee is ‘just satisfied’ and hence high scores on employee satisfaction surveys need to be kept separate. A satisfied employee will reach on time and leave on time without putting in extra efforts to meet the company goals.
Now here are few examples to understand what an engaged employee will do.
- A computer engineer who ensures his tasks on hand are completed before he leaves for the day without worrying that he is already 3 hours pass his day closing time is an engaged employee. While he follows his task list, he will also look at options to help other team members to ensure a quicker software roll-out.
- A housekeeping agent will ensure he is keeping the store room clean as well which is hardly visited by senior bosses. Or keeps the meeting room ready always to make sure important meetings aren’t delayed.
- A customer care agent who takes a couple of calls post his shift and before the next agent settles down on his desk to ensure customer needs are addressed on time is the right example for employee engagement.
The better the engagement, the better the company revenue
Multiple research firms confirm that engaged employees lead to a better business growth but one may wonder how an engaged employee is going to increase or decrease the revenue!?
Not directly but indirectly – here is how.
An engaged employee will provide better customer service and give quality performance which will result in satisfied customers. With satisfied customers increases the word-of-mouth and in-turn increases sales and profits. At the end better stocks.
What drives employee engagement?
While decision makers at every organization may have their logic about the driver, here are two widely accepted and research-supported factors that drive an effective employee engagement.
Engagement with the Organization
This is measured based on overall what the employee feels about the organization and the leadership team. Transparency, values, trust, and respect are the pillars to an employee’s engagement with the organization. As Anne Mulcahy, former CEO and Chairperson of Xerox Corporation says, ‘Employees who believe that their management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.”
Engagement with Manager
Now this one entirely relates to the right utilization of skills and being valued. The responsibilities and tasks that the managers give their reportees should show the right growth path, provide feedback and a fair opportunity is responsible for building a trust-based relationship. And plays an important role in keeping the employee engaged and motivated.
Is it measurable?
Yes it is and surveys help in this. However a survey alone can only give numbers and unless validated and benchmarked based on numbers from other organizations (known for better employee engagement), these surveys alone won’t give the output you may be looking at. Other than this, the number of question that your survey includes plays an important role. A few questions can only tell you if the employee is happy or unhappy, to know if they are engaged, the count should be atleast 50-60 questions. The more the questions the better you will cover all categories of employee engagement.
Marissa Ann Mayer, former Yahoo! president and CEO defines employee engagement beautifully. She says, ‘It’s about getting the best people, retaining them, nurturing a creative environment & helping to find a way to innovate’.