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Employee Engagement

What is employee engagement, and how is it different from employee satisfaction? Employee satisfaction only indicates how happy or content your employees are. It does not address their level of motivation, involvement, or emotional commitment. For some employees, being satisfied means collecting a paycheck while doing as little work as possible.

Measuring employee satisfaction and making changes to increase employee satisfaction will not necessarily lead to increased performance. In fact, the conditions that make many employees "satisfied" with their jobs are likely to frustrate high performing employees. Top performers want to be challenged and to challenge the status quo. They embrace change, seek out ways to improve, and want all employees to be held accountable for delivering results. By contrast, low performing employees often cling to the status quo, resist change, and avoid accountability whenever possible.

There are two primary factors that drive employee engagement. These factors are based on statistical analysis and widely supported by industry research.

  • Engagement with The Organization measures how engaged employees are with the organization as a whole, and by extension, how they feel about senior management. This factor has to do with confidence in organizational leadership as well as trust, fairness, values, and respect - i.e. how people like to be treated by others, both at work and outside of work.
  • Engagement with "My Manager" is a more specific measure of how employees feel about their direct supervisors. Topics include feeling valued, being treated fairly, receiving feedback and direction, and generally, having a strong working relationship between employee and manager based on mutual respect.

An organization needs more than just engaged employees in order to succeed. There are two additional areas that relate to employee performance and that are closely linked to engagement.

  • Strategic Alignment: Does the organization have a clear strategy and set of goals? Do employees understand the strategy and goals? Do employees understand how the work they do contributes to the organization's success?
  • Strategic alignment ensures that employee effort is focused in the right direction. If that effort is not focused in the right direction, it could be wasted.
  • Competency: Do managers have the skills needed to get the job done? Do they display the behaviors needed to motivate employees?

How is employee engagement measured? Employee engagement is typically measured using an employee engagement survey that has been developed specifically for this purpose. Employee engagement surveys must be statistically validated and benchmarked against other organizations if they are going to provide useful results. Without these things, it is difficult to know what you are measuring and whether the results are good or bad.

Interested in finding out how you can measure engagement for your organization easily and affordably? We can help, ask us how!

Learn about Focal Employee Engagement