Understanding Employee Engagement (and How to Increase It)

There are three different types of employees. Before implementing employee engagement activities, figure out what type of employees you have.

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What is employee engagement?

When an employee is genuinely engaged, they are invested in their work and their company. However, truly engaged employees are a rarity. The State of the American Workplace 2018 report noted that only 33 percent of workers in the U.S. are engaged. That’s much better than the 13 percent average on a global scale, but still not what employers want to hear. If your employees are only showing up for the paycheck and benefits, you know they aren’t giving their best selves to the company. They may not even be doing the bare minimum. So how do you address employee engagement? By first understanding what it means, and implementing employee engagement activities that will boost workplace satisfaction.

We have good news. There are ways to gauge how engaged employees are and increase engagement for the majority who are simply coasting. First, it’s important to understand just what kind of employees you have.

Understanding Employee Engagement

There are three primary types of employees: engaged, not engaged, and actively disengaged. The engaged employees are passionate, go above and beyond, and are the innovators of the company. Not engaged employees are simply checked out. They show up and might do barely what’s necessary to not get noticed or fired, but they’re largely apathetic. However, if you have actively disengaged employees, they’re unhappy about their job and not afraid to show it. They are poison to a company and have the power to drag down morale.

The biggest untapped potential any employer has is the not engaged employee. They have potential to turn into engaged employees, but need the right kind of management. Unfortunately, they can be tough to spot because they’re the majority. One of the easiest ways to spot the not engaged is with an employee engagement score.

What is An Employee Engagement Score?

These scores can be customized by each company, and are used to assess employee satisfaction. A five-point scale is usually implemented, with the highest score being a five. There’s no such thing as a standardized employee engagement score, but common questions might include, “Do you think employee satisfaction is a top priority at the company?” or “Would you recommend to a friend applying to this company?” Get started on building your own engagement survey with our customizable employee engagement survey template.

Scores can be rated on a curve, a T-score to eliminate variations, or any other method. It’s important to look for trends, such as if a particular question garnered unnaturally high or low scores.

What is the Importance of Employee Engagement?

Employee engagement is important because the weakest link theory is actively in play throughout companies. When the majority of employees are not engaged, that’s going to be the driving factor behind the company as a whole. Apathy and lack of interest are going to drag down overall productivity and lead to a subpar company culture. To prevent against your workplace community being impacted by negative employees, discover ways in which you can support and nurture a thriving workplace culture

What are Employee Engagement Activities?

Optimizing engagement can and should be approached strategically. Employee engagement activities can be built into daily activities, business plans, and standard operating procedures. For example, including employees in decision-making processes, offering learning opportunities, and generating excitement about forthcoming events can all increase engagement.

When employees are engaged, everyone wins—including the employees. To keep your team on track and get in the habit of giving routine feedback, download our performance management eBook and see your engagement levels skyrocket. 

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