What is employee engagement, and why is it important?
Webster’s dictionary defines engagement as, “a formal agreement to get married.” Oh wait, that’s not right! The real definition of engagement is… Well, it’s actually not very easy to pin down.
Since research on employee engagement began in the mid-1960s, researchers and practitioners have used a variety of definitions. Some, such as “discretionary effort,” are simpler than others, such as “a complex nomological network encompassing trait, state, and behavioral constructs, as well as the work and organizational conditions that might facilitate state and behavioral engagement.”
Our definition of engagement is simple and clear:
Employee engagement is a positive attitude and constructive behaviors that lead to improved organizational performance.
Over the years, studies have demonstrated that high “engagement” levels improve performance in productivity, sales, customer satisfaction, and employee retention.
Unfortunately, most employee engagement surveys don't measure engagement.
A question on Gallup’s famous Q12 survey asks, “At work, do your opinions seem to count?” It’s a great question, but it only tells us what the employee perceives; it does not tell us how she behaves. In this example, does she actually offer her opinions? We don’t know because they don’t ask.
There is no doubt that employee perception is relevant — but only insofar as it drives behavior and, ultimately the company’s performance.
It's time to measure engagement in two (and even three!) dimensions.
Our model measures employee engagement in two dimensions: perception and behavior. (The third dimension – performance – is based on company-specific KPIs.) This approach gives us a more complete view of an employee’s engagement and pinpoint which perceptions are most important. It also enables us to break down respondents into one of nine "engagement archetypes."
We need your help! (And we might send you to Buenos Aires, Argentina in the process.)
There are two ways that you can help right now:
- As an individual. Take the 5-minute survey by clicking here. We'll provide an advance copy of the report and, once the study is complete, email you a breakdown of your "engagement archetype." You will also have a chance to win free tuition for the fall 2015 Go! program – an 8-week leadership development experience in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
- As an company. Deploy the survey to your company. If you reach a statistically significant number of respondents, we will provide a free custom report and a 60-minute consultation. Contact us to learn more.