What is Employee Engagement?

Employee engagement is a human resources concept that describes the level of enthusiasm and dedication a worker feels toward their job. Engaged employee cares their work and about the performance of the company, and feels that their efforts make a difference. An engaged employee is in it for more than a paycheck and may consider their well-being linked to their performance, and therefore instrumental in their company's success.

Understanding Employee Engagement

Employee engagement can be critical to a company's success given its clear links to job satisfaction and employee morale. Communication is a big part of creating and maintaining employee engagement. Engaged employees are more likely to be productive and higher performing and they may display a greater commitment to a company's values and goals.

Employee Engagement: How to Foster It

Employers can encourage employee engagement in many ways, including communicating expectations clearly, offering rewards and advancement for excellent work, keeping employees informed about the company's performance, and providing regular feedback. Other strategies include making efforts to make employees feel valued and respected, and feeling that their ideas are being heard and understood. Engaged employees believe that their work is meaningful, believe that they are appreciated and backed by their supervisors, and that they have been entrusted with the success of their company.

Employee engagement has been a considered a part of management theory since the 1990s and became widely adopted in the 2000s. While it has its detractors, mostly based on how difficult it can be to measure, employee engagement has been found to have direct links to a company's profitability and financial health.

Employee Engagement: Worker Characteristics

Engaged employees will develop emotional connection to their job and their company and will be focused on working toward their organization's goals. According to the Society of Human Resource Management, some other characteristics that display employee engagement include the following:

  • They know what their role is, what their job entails and they want to do it.
  • They are loyal to their employer and productive.
  • They are motivated to work toward the success of their organization and know what success look like (and how to work toward it).
  • They are connected rationally and emotionally connected to their organization and motivated to perform at a high level.
  • They are intellectually and emotionally connected to their organization, as measured by three primary behaviors according to outsourcing company Aon Hewitt: Say (an employee consistently speaks positively about their employer to co-workers, customer and job candidates); Stay (an employee has a strong desire to remain with an organization despite having other opportunities); Strive (when an employee makes an extra effort to contribute to an their organization's success).