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What is employee engagement? And how can you get it?

Updated: Jul 20, 2022

Cared-for employees are engaged employees.

You already know that employee engagement is crucial to company success. Engaged employees perform better, are more productive, and are less likely to quit.

But now for the pop quiz: Exactly what is the definition of employee engagement?

If a broad idea comes to mind but you struggle to give a solid definition, don't worry – this post will clearly define what employee engagement is, what it isn't, and what role it plays in your organisation.

Because clearly defining employee engagement is the first step to understanding what drives it.

So, let's take a look!

What is employee engagement?

Employee engagement is a measure of how present and energised an employee is at work, and how committed and connected they are to their job and the company they work for.

To delve into it a bit further, let's take a look at some characteristics of engaged employees. They:

  • Understand and value the company's mission, goals, and objectives.

  • Are more motivated and productive because they like what they do and feel they're making a valued contribution.

  • Have better mental health.

  • Are more likely to become powerful brand advocates.

  • Do more good deeds at work – like helping others without being asked.

  • Spend more time in a flow state – i.e. that state where you're in the ‘zone' and time seems to melt away.

Another important distinction: employee engagement is more than just employee satisfaction. Satisfied staff might show up every day and do their job without complaint, but engaged staff are the ones who'll go the extra mile.

Engaged employees care about their work. They feel a sense of purpose that goes beyond getting a paycheque at the end of the month. And, as a result, they're much more likely to stick around.

What factors contribute to employee engagement?

So, how do you create a workplace that's a buzzing hive of productive, engaged employees? Let's look at some of the key drivers of engagement:

  • Feedback. Regular feedback from managers keeps employees engaged because it a) makes them feel appreciated when they do good work and b) helps them improve and keep progressing at their job when they make mistakes. This is why 1-on-1 meetings are particularly useful.

  • Training. In a Udemy survey, 51% of employees said they'd quit their job if they weren't offered adequate training. Engaged employees are those that are able to learn and grow on the job, have a career path and opportunities for professional development.

  • Clearly defined roles. When roles and responsibilities are poorly defined, it leads to conflicts, wasted energy, unmet expectations… Let's just say, people get frustrated! Avoiding that frustration makes for more engaged employees.

  • Leadership. The right kind of leadership drives employee engagement. You want leaders who are trusted, who communicate clearly and efficiently, and who show they care about the well-being of their staff.

  • Employee benefits. Employee benefits are one of the strongest demonstrations that a company cares about its employees. These should go beyond novelties – as Forbes points out, gourmet snacks or ping-pong tables might catch the attention of job applicants, but the real priority for employees is their health and wellness. Having access to free annual health checks, free flu vaccinations, and other tangible benefits via a company health benefits plan makes people feel that their employer cares about them as a whole person – inside the workplace and out of it, even touching the lives of their loved ones. And that's the part that's crucial to engagement!

If you're looking to boost employee engagement, evaluating these five areas is a good place to start. Some things – like creating a healthy feedback culture – take some time and strategising across various levels. Others are easier to implement.

If offering employee benefits is something you'd like to explore, Anista can help. Have a chat with us today! You'd be surprised by what you can achieve and how much you can help your employees at little or no cost to the company. Here's to happy, healthy, and highly engaged employees

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