Having a highly engaged workforce can make all the difference to productivity and performance. Employee engagement appears to be the management buzzword of the past few years. Countless articles have been written on the topic and engagement remains a top concern for both HR and business psychology. This is particularly the case in the UK, where employee motivation appears to be at an all-time low.
It seems there is always something new to learn about engagement and how it can impact our employees and organisations. But in order to determine how and why companies are investing in it, we thought we’d go back to basics and address the fundamental question: what is employee engagement?
Though some sources might confuse the two, it is important to note that employee morale, or satisfaction, is not the same as employee engagement. Satisfaction is an indication of how content or happy your employees are. Engagement relates more to levels of motivation, commitment and involvement.
Engagement can more specifically be defined as a “Measurable degree of an employee’s positive or negative emotional attachment to their job, colleagues and organisation which profoundly influences their willingness to learn and perform at work”. So while morale might be a driver of engagement, these are certainly not synonymous terms. Someone may be content to simply go to work, check social media for eight hours, and go home with a full days’ pay. This might be an employee with high morale, but this is certainly not an engaged employee.
Lots of elements need to be taken into account when factoring engagement, but when high levels of engagement are reported, organisations experience significant benefits. Employees are satisfied from the fact that they know they are valuable at work and that they are making a difference. They also believe in the company as a whole and they are invested in its future.
Companies that prioritise high employee engagement are able to capture the heads, hearts and souls of their employees, while instilling an innate desire and passion for excellence. It is a concept based on integrity, trust and commitment between the company and the employee.
To understand the modern obsession with employee engagement, we need to look to the benefits to be derived from it. Employee engagement has been linked to higher overall morale, increased productivity, better company performance and lower turnover. It has even been associated with increased employee health, which results in lower rates of absenteeism.
This might sound too good to be true, but these benefits will only be seen if an organisation makes a dedicated effort to improve employee engagement levels. This takes time and commitment, which not all organisations are willing to invest.
Employee engagement is dependent on a number of factors, including relationships with colleagues and managers. In fact, it has been shown that managers account for a 70% variance in employee engagement scores.
Engagement levels can also depend on the following:
To give you a deeper understanding of employee engagement and its relevance to the workplace, we have compiled the following statistics:
As we have shown, a number of factors need to be taken into consideration when it comes to determining and improving engagement levels. This is where Davis Associates can step in to facilitate the process.
To begin with, we measure employee attitudes using our Employee Engagement Survey. Using this survey, we are able to get a reflective representation of the organisation’s current level of employee engagement, comparable over time. The results will reveal exactly how employees feel about their work on a range of Organisational Drivers (such as the current climate and culture) and Individual Drivers (such as commitment, perceptions of trust and attachment to the business).
Once we have collected this data, we can determine areas in need of improvement. It also provides employees with a great opportunity to share their feedback, feelings and opinions relating to senior management, their work and the organisation as a whole. Such honesty is integral and essential when it comes to improving levels of employee engagement.