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What is Employee Engagement?

Employee engagement is the active involvement and emotional commitment of individuals in their work or activities, leading to higher productivity, satisfaction, and retention. The levels of engagement affect individual levels of performance and broader business outcomes.

Employee engagement is distinct from employee happiness or satisfaction, though it can be associated with both of those. An engaged employee is someone who is completely invested in their work and cares about their job, their colleagues, and their company as a whole.

Unlike happiness, which is a transient state, and satisfaction, which is a measure of contentment, engagement is a deeper, more sustained connection to one’s work.

There are three major types of engagement

  • cognitive: employees have awareness and understanding of, as well as commitment to the organisations overall plans. They understand and are aligned to their company’s mission and values
  • physical: employees devoting both emotional and physical energy to their work, supported by the company’s efforts to maintain their health and wellbeing
  • emotional: employees having an emotional connection with their work, feeling a sense of belonging, confidence in their organisation, and gaining job satisfaction from the work they do

Unfortunately disengagement is a major problem across businesses. Quiet Quitting remains a challenge for organisation. Just 22% of UK workers feel enthused by their work and their workplace in 2022 ( Personnel Today ).

A survey by Qualtrics revealed that approximately half of the workers in the UK are engaged. The global engagement rate is 68% ( Kincentric). The survey also showed that 50% of workers agree that managers helping with career development drives employee engagement.  Engaged leaders that care about employees and their future with an organisation is a new trend ( and good business practice ) in employee engagement.

The same survey showed that companies who turn feedback into action have a higher engagement rate, which is why “you said, we did” initiatives are so important.

Recognition is one of the top drivers for employee engagement.

60% of workers are likely to stay engaged when their job gives them opportunities to learn and develop.

The business benefits

Employee engagement is central to both employee retention and performance. Employees who feel that their company values their wellbeing, recognises their contribution, provides opportunities for advancement, and enables them to do their best work are typically more dedicated to the company’s success and more motivated to help achieve its goals. On the other hand, disengagement and generally poor employee experiences contribute to high rates of employee turnover and can negatively impact an organisation’s profitability and bottom line.

Highly engaged teams sell 20% more than teams with low engagement.  PeopleMetrics

Business Units with engaged workers have 23% higher profit. Personnel Today 

The cost of ignoring Employee Engagement

The average annual employee turnover rate hovers at 21% in the UK, which means companies are losing 1 in 5 of their people. HR Ninjas & Element Suite

71% of UK workers are going to be looking for a new job this year. London Daily

Absenteeism rates are going up and are around 5.4%. HR Ninjas & Element Suite

The average 90 day turnover is 9.09% meaning that nearly 1 in 10 employees leave a job within 90 days of joining, which means that onboarding is key. Highly engaged people are less likely to leave an organisation. HR Ninjas & Element Suite

The Challenges of Understanding Employee Engagement

In multi-sited businesses, employees may feel more loyalty to their local team and customers than to head office. This can lead to varying levels of engagement across different sites. To address this:

  • Unite the Culture: Establish a cohesive company culture through consistent communication and shared values
  • Empower Local Leaders: Equip local managers to engage their teams effectively and align local actions with the overall company strategy
  • Encourage Collaboration: Foster inter-site collaboration and knowledge sharing to create a sense of belonging to the larger organisation

The Role of Leadership

Effective leadership is crucial in fostering engagement. Emotionally Intelligent Leaders who communicate clearly, provide regular feedback, and recognise employee contributions set a positive tone for the organisation. They inspire trust and motivate their teams by demonstrating commitment to both the employees’ and the organisation’s success.

The Role of Training and Development

Continuous training and development are essential for maintaining high levels of engagement. Providing employees with opportunities for growth and development shows that the organisation values their progression. This not only enhances their skills but also strengthens their loyalty and engagement.

Only 29% of new hires believe they are prepared and supported after the onboarding experience ends. Axonify

94% of employees say they would stay at a company longer if there is investment in their learning & development.

Nearly 50% of staff would switch to a new job if it offered upskilling opportunities. Axonify

Management was identified as the skill companies need the most at the moment. Globally learning opportunity is the top tool used by organisations to improve employee retention.  LinkedIn Learning

Gallup’s Q12 Engagement Model

Gallup’s model is based on extensive research and identifies 12 key elements that drive employee engagement:

  1. I know what is expected of me at work.
  2. I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.
  3. I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
  4. In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.
  5. My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
  6. There is someone at work who encourages my development.
  7. At work, my opinions seem to count.
  8. The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.
  9. My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
  10. I have a best friend at work.
  11. In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.
  12. This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.