More Views on What It Takes to Truly Engage Employees

I, among many others, write fairly often about employee engagement.

Indeed, the importance of strategic, social employee recognition to creating a company culture in which employees would want to engage has been a primary topic for Globoforce for more than 10 years now.

During that time, more and more people – HR pros and consultants alike – have jumped on the engagement bandwagon, and with good reason. Employee engagement is far different from employee satisfaction and measures much more of real value to an organization, such as how well the employee understands the goals of the organization and how committed he or she is to giving discretionary effort to achieve those goals.

Now, isn’t that much more valuable than knowing how satisfied the employee is with the coffee in the café or with the general working conditions?

Yes — engagement IS critical

If employee engagement has become almost de rigueur, why do I and so many others keep researching it and writing about it? Because it’s critical and must be kept at top of mind for those who can fundamentally impact the factors of engagement.

To that point, HR consultancy ETS recently issued a new report on engagement and what it is that makes employees want to give the discretionary effort that’s the hallmark of employee engagement – to “go the extra mile.”

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Titled Getting employees to go the extra mile, the report highlights the following as the three most significant motivators that lead to employees being more prepared to go above and beyond their job description:

  • Employee’s role – understanding what is expected in a given role and how this supports business goals;
  • Leadership – employees believing in leaders;
  • Communication – employees feeling free to communicate upwards within the company.”

When you achieve “true” engagement

In a similar vein, SCInc, a learning and development consulting company, wrote about the importance of alignment in employee engagement, a topic I’ve discussed before. SCInc’s point is that true engagement is only achieved when employees can answer “yes” to both of these questions:

  1. “I like my work and I do it well” (maximum satisfaction);
  2. “I help achieve the goals of my company” (maximum contribute).

Engagement happens when the job tasks assigned to an employee are aligned to the department, team or organizational goals, and at the same time tap into an employee’s natural talent, proficiency and passion.”

What both studies point to is the simplicity and the complexity of true employee engagement – employees know what you need them to do, why you need them to do, and they want to get it done.

What’s your preferred definition of employee engagement?

You can find more from Derek Irvine on his Recognize This! blog.

Derek Irvine is senior vice president of client strategy and consulting at Workhuman, where he leads the company’s consulting and analytics divisions. His writing is regularly featured across major HR publications, including HR Magazine, Human Resource Executive, HR Zone, and Workspan.