How Do You Define Employee Engagement?

January 17, 2014

When Gallup names troubling low rates of employee engagement as its top world news finding of 2013 the issue steps out of academic journals and HR conferences to take center stage – where it must be.

Gallup last year found only 13 percent of employees worldwide are “engaged” at their jobs. Nearly two-thirds — 63 percent — are “not engaged” and lack motivation. Almost 1 in 4 are “actively disengaged” – or unhappy, unproductive and likely to spread their negativity.

Employee Engagement Definition
How do you define employee engagement?

The numbers in Northern America are better but have plenty of room to improve. Gallup found 29 percent of employees in the U.S. and Canada were engaged, 54 percent were not engaged and 18 percent were actively disengaged. Other organizations, including Dale Carnegie, have come up with similar numbers.

Employee engagement is not an abstraction. It is a vital factor in organizational success that can be defined, measured and quantified. It is not simply that engaged employees “like” their jobs or find them satisfying.

What is Employee Engagement

If employee engagement is not happiness or job satisfaction, what is it?

Though experts use varying definitions, one simple translation is enthusiasm for the company and its mission.

Kevin Kruse, author of Engagement 2.0, has defined employee engagement as “the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals.”

The Dale Carnegie organization defines it as, “The emotional and intellectual commitment of employees to deliver a high performance.”

Scarlett Surveys defines employee engagement this way: “An individual’s degree of positive or negative emotional attachment to their organization, their job and their colleagues.”

APQC, the American Productivity and Quality Center, defines employee engagement as commitment, work ethic and loyalty.

Neither Gallup nor The Temkin Group, a customer service consulting firm, boil down a definition but instead identify factors that determine degrees of employee engagement.

Why Does Employee Engagement Matter?

Formal definition or not, the common thread is emotion. How employees feel about their jobs and employers has real-world, bottom line implications.

Gallup estimates lost productivity linked to low engagement costs organizations $300 billion each year within the U.S. workforce alone.
Study after study finds companies with high employee engagement post higher profits, make more sales, see lower turnover and boast happier customers and clients.

Our team built Callibrain to help companies build employee engagement, improve internal communication and boost productivity. In the coming months the Callibrain blog will explore factors that influence how employees feel about their jobs and studies that examine the positive effects of engagement and the consequences of actively disengaged workers.

We’ll also spotlight companies leading the way and share stories from those using Callibrain to make their organizations stronger. We’d like to hear from you, too, so let us know of companies you think are on the right track

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