Employee engagement has gained considerable popularity over the last two decades and with only 1 in 3 employees being “engaged”, studies suggest that employers have a lot of work to do. But what does the term “employee engagement” actually mean?

There is no single and generally accepted definition of the term “employee engagement”. Some academics and practitioners state that “employee engagement” is synonymous with terms like “job satisfaction” and “employee commitment”.

An employee may be “satisfied”, turn up to their 9-5 job and perform ok in that role, but is this really what we would expect from an employee who was “engaged”? What about someone we could describe as “committed”? Firstly, what are they committed to? They may do everything the “satisfied” employee does and even go a little further to push for that promotion or bonus. Would we describe this employee as an engaged employee? If so, then we are setting the bar far too low!

Gallup broadens the scope slightly by defining engaged employees as “those who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace.”

Others argue that the term “employee engagement” is still much broader in scope and at Delphinium, we concur. Kevin Kruse’s definition is one that resonates with us: “Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals.”

As Kruse’s definition is so broad, one could argue that it doesn’t explain what “employee engagement” is. Therefore, we have set out some of the widely accepted characteristics of employees who are said to be “engaged”:

  • They have a positive attitude towards their organisation’s values;
  • They have an emotional attachment towards the organisation;
  • They understand their role within the organisation and how their role contributes to the organisations’ objectives;
  • They carry out their roles and responsibilities with great enthusiasm;
  • They feel they have a voice to offer opinions and ideas to contribute to the organisation’s journey;
  • They feel trusted and empowered;
  • Go the “extra mile”, going above and beyond the requirements of their contractual agreement;
  • As well as a desire to do well within the organisation, they have a desire to help others succeed and to support the organisation to achieve its objectives.

What is clear is that employee engagement requires a two-way relationship between the employee and the organisation, to create and nurture engagement.

To discuss how you can improve employee engagement in your organisation, contact us to arrange your free no obligation consultation.

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Gemma Rolstone

Gemma Rolstone

Helping good managers to become great leaders