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I often hear reports in the news about “employee engagement” and that it is going down (usually) among workers in the U.S. and across the world. What is “employee engagement” and why is it important?


30Sep 2013

Yes, “employee engagement” has been in the news a lot in the past several months. It is a term used by Human Resource professionals that represents the degree that employees are enthusiastic about their work, their willingness to learn, and their commitment to the mission of the organization. Essentially, it is a term that tries to capture how much workers are “into” their job, will persevere and work hard, and do what is necessary to help the organization succeed.

Employee engagement — both the “degree” (fully engaged, marginally engaged, disengaged) and the percentage of employees (e.g. 25% fully engaged, 40% marginally engaged, 35% disengaged) – is a very accurate predictor of employee behavior and outcomes. The overall view is rather obvious. A company with a large, highly engaged group of employees will have higher production, better customer satisfaction ratings, less turnover – and generally function better as an organization.

The challenge leaders (and organizational consultants) face is to answer the questions: “What increases employee engagement?” and “How do you make that happen?” As I discuss in my video, “Why Employee Engagement Isn’t Really What You Want” – companies and organizations can “chase” employee engagement, when what you really want are the building blocks that result in employees being more engaged.  And we clearly know (both from research and from observation) that a key way to get employees to be more committed to and excited about their job is for them to feel truly valued by those with whom they work.

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