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What is Employee Engagement and Why Does it Matter?

December 5, 2012

There is a myriad of ways to address the issue of employee engagement. How much emphasis should you place on engagement?

The Business Dictionary defines employee engagement as the “emotional connection an employee feels toward his or her employment organization, which tends to influence his or her behaviors and level of effort in work related activities,” while the Society for Human Resource Management defines it as “The means of creating a work environment that empowers employees to make decisions that affect their jobs.”

The core concept here is the emotional tie an employee has to their job that creates motivation and involvement. But what happens if your employees aren’t engaged? Is it really worth focusing your efforts on?

Well, a notable Gallup study about employee engagement worldwide revealed that 62% of Americans who consider themselves engaged in the workplace say they are thriving. That amount is almost halved for the actively disengaged. Similarly, 36% of the engaged consider themselves to be struggling, while that number jumps to 61% for the disengaged. What huge differences!

From management’s standpoint, the benefits of high engagement levels are multifold. Study after study shows that highly-engaged employees work harder, are absent less, have better relationships with clients, and stay with the company longer, all of which lead to a better bottom line. So the clear and definite answer to the question is: yes! You’ll want to, and in fact need to, work hard at it.

This then begs the question, “how?” A good start would be to find out how your employees – current and exiting – feel about working at your company. An employee opinion survey and an exit survey would provide insight into the reasons for engagement and disengagement. Based on the results, you can see where your perceived weaknesses are and build an engagement plan with those in mind. In case you’ve been proactive and already have a plan in place, you’ll get actionable feedback on how it’s working and steps you can take to make it work even better.

The next step is to build or revise your engagement plan. That’s a big topic to cover, and unfortunately we’re out of time for today. If you need more information on employee engagement or other human resource issues, visit our blog at blog.wonderlic.com, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Have a great day!

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