“Employee engagement has become the top issue on minds of business leaders, directing us to an entirely new model of management,” says Josh Bersin, Deloitte.
There has been a huge push in this industry, with the onset of companies creating tools to measure the importance of employee engagement. You’ll see metrics such as: employee satisfaction, relationships, and alignment. This can be hard to quantify, but you know an engaged employee when you see it: it’s worn on his or her face, and it extends to work attitude, communication, and even to their personal life.
Likewise, disengaged employees can also be easily identified. They come into work late, make excuses to leave early and have excessive unscheduled absences. Managers notice these individuals for their lack of participation in team meetings and events, and co-workers experience a sense of gloom after every interaction.
Customers see the lack of engagement quickly in the form of poor service, short answers, and impatient attitudes. Disengaged employees tend to have performance issues, often leading to disciplinary action and eventual termination of employment.
Unfortunately, lack of engagement isn’t always obvious. Employees who are committed to demonstrating professional behavior give no outward sign of discontent until they abruptly give their notice and move on to another opportunity. This sort of disengagement also impacts customers by putting them in the hands of brand new staff members on a regular basis.
True Employee Engagement
Many managers misunderstand true employee engagement. They see that team members appear satisfied with their pay and comfortable with their job responsibilities, and there is very little conflict or complaining within the department. Based on these factors, managers assume that staff members are engaged. However, employee satisfaction is quite different from employee engagement.
Satisfied employees vs. Engaged employees
While satisfied employees are content, they are not personally invested in the organization and its goals. It wouldn’t take much to lure them away to another opportunity, putting them at risk for poaching by competitors.
On the other hand, engaged employees care about the work they do, and they are committed to helping the organization achieve strategic goals. These individuals do more than the basic functions of their positions. They use discretionary effort to ensure that work is done quickly and efficiently.
These are the employees who stay late to clear up a backlog without being asked or volunteer for an assignment that doesn’t come with any particular rewards. They know they don’t have to take on extra responsibility and they do it anyway because they care about the organization and its customers.
How important is employee engagement to your organization?