Employee engagement is an investment in people. Organizations believe that this is an important factor for achieving improved employee performance. It is essential for the success of any organization. Employee engagement refers to the emotional and logical state of mind of an employee that motivates him/her to be passionate in their job. It brings forth commitment, emotional attachment and higher levels of satisfaction at the workplace.
Experts stress that it involves attitudes and positive mindset of employees in working towards improved outcomes. For example, Robinson et al., (2004) define engagement as “a positive employee attitude towards the organization and its values, involving awareness of business context, and work to improve job and organizational effectiveness”. Similarly, Shuck & Wollard, (2010) define it as “an individual employee’s cognitive, emotional, and behavioral state directed toward desired organizational outcomes”.
Hence, employee engagement involves the emotional, behavioral, and intellectual contributions of an employee towards work such that it helps both the employee and the organization enjoy increased productivity. It is more of a commitment of the employee towards the company. Therefore, it differs from one person to another.
Importance of Employee Engagement
Employee Engagement as a concept and strategy has gained momentum in recent years. Organizations accept that engaged employees lead to increased productivity, customer satisfaction and loyalty. Self-motivation drives engaged employees, resulting in desirable outcomes for the organization. Employees contribute with passion, are more enthusiastic and energetic when they feel valued by the organization. In fact, Garber points out that companies spend about three quarters of a billion dollars for achieving ‘engaged employees’.
Various studies show that having engaged employees help in employee retention, increased productivity, and loyalty. Brown (2015) states that engaged employees stay longer in the organization, decrease turnover costs and recruiting costs. Besides, employee engagement increases innovation, productivity, bottom-line performance, as well as reduce costs relating to hiring and retention (HBR, 2013). Without doubt, organizations that have engaged employees demonstrate greater financial success.
The Gallup’s meta-analysis (Nate Dvorak) of employee engagement reveals organizations with employee engagement initiatives have 21% higher productivity as compared to others. Further, the other positive outcomes of employee engagement include lower absenteeism (37%), fewer patient safety incidents (41%) and fewer quality defects (41%).
Engaged employees contribute towards boosting companies income by 19%, as opposed to disengaged employees that evidenced a 33% fall in operating income (Irvine, 2009).
In particular, it increases customer satisfaction, company reputation, and overall stockholder value. Also, it leads to high level of commitment, improved performance and employee motivation.
Engaged employees feel proud to identify with their organization, are more creative at work and develop the ‘we-feeling’. In fact, they are willing to go the extra mile for bringing success to their organization.
Indeed, this is a hot topic within organizations because companies really want to attract and retain talented employees.
Jackie Wiles opines that by 2020, 20% of organizations will make employee engagement initiatives as a shared performance objective for HR and IT groups. Moreover, the author states that 70% of organizations believe that employee engagement is imperative for improved business results.
Hence, what can the organizations do to get their employees engaged? We will see it soon!
Garber, S. 2015. The two sides of employee engagement. Harvard Business Review, Retrieved from: https://hbr.org/2015/12/the-two-sides-of-employee-engagement
Harvard Business Review (2013) The Impact of Employee Engagement on Performance. Retrieved from: https://hbr.org/resources/pdfs/comm/achievers/hbr_achievers_report_sep13.pdf
Irvine, D. (2009, May 8). “Employee engagement: What it is and why you need it.” Retrieved from: www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/may2009/db2009058_952910.htm
Robinson, D., Perryman, S. and Hayday, S. (2004), The Drivers of Employee Engagement. Brighton, Institute for Employment Studies
Shuck, B. and Wollard, K. (2010), Employee engagement and HRD: A seminal review of the foundations, Human Resource development Review, Vol. 9, No. 1, pp. 89-110