With highly engaged employees playing a crucial role in achieving business goals, understanding and fostering engagement is a top priority for many organizations. However, gauging and addressing the different levels of employee engagement poses unique challenges.

Additionally, employees at each of these levels react differently to certain commitment elements.

In this blog, we'll discuss what these levels are, and how you can fix declining engagement.

What is Employee Engagement?

Employee engagement is the emotional commitment employees have towards your company and its goals. It's about more than job satisfaction; it's their willingness to give their best each day.

Research indicates that employees can only be moderately satisfied with their jobs, therefore employee engagement is more than just job satisfaction levels.

In actuality, it is possible to have content employees who are not at all involved in their work—those who have been glad to report to work every day for years. There are many employees who don't work, even at companies that provide every enjoyable perk possible (such as relaxed dress codes, happy hour, or catered meals). So in the section, let's breakdown the 3 different levels of employee engagement and understand what each mean.

What are the 3 Levels of Employee Engagement?

Here's an easy to understand image that gives a clear picture of the 3 levels of employee engagement.

3 levels of employee engagement
3 Levels of Employee Engagement

Gallup’s framework categorizes employee engagement into three levels:

1. Actively engaged

2. Not engaged

3. Actively disengaged

Understanding the 3 levels of engagement can help address different engagement needs.

1. Actively Engaged

Actively engaged employees are those who demonstrate high levels of motivation, productivity, and commitment to their roles within the organization. These individuals go above and beyond by contributing their skills and effort, showing qualities such as initiative, passion, creativity, optimism, loyalty, determination, and a strong work ethic.

To recognize actively engaged employees, you can look for the following behaviors:

  • They propose and implement improvements to both processes and products, showcasing their creative and innovative thinking.
  • Engaged employees proactively contribute to the company's growth by taking necessary actions without waiting for instructions or expecting others to act first.
  • They support and embody the company's culture and goals through their proactive actions and positive attitudes.
  • They demonstrate pride in their affiliation with the company, evident in how they represent the organization at conferences, events, and interviews. They're also called advocates of the company or brand advocates. Read more on employee advocacy and how it can benefit your organization.

2. Not Engaged 

Employees in this category show a neutral or indifferent attitude toward their jobs and the company. They typically do only what is required and rarely, if ever, exceed expectations.

These employees do not actively harm the company, but neither do they contribute to its success. Their lack of initiative often translates to just getting by with the minimum effort necessary.

Here are a few characteristics of employees that aren't engaged.

  • They perform just enough work to meet basic expectations without seeking ways to improve or excel.
  • They show little interest in taking on new challenges or responsibilities beyond their current roles.
  • They have a lukewarm commitment to the company's goals and are not particularly motivated to contribute to its culture or success.
  • They are not interested in personal or professional development and may resist changes that require them to adapt or learn new skills.

3. Actively Disengaged 

Being actively disengaged describes employees who exhibit a negative and counterproductive attitude towards their work and the organization. These individuals often display:

  • Clear disinterest or disdain for their job and the company, possibly seeking employment elsewhere.
  • Actions that subtly or overtly sabotage their colleagues, managers, and overall team efforts. For example, they might fail to recognize someone else's contribution or blame their poor performance on lack of support.
  • Frequent vocal complaints about the organization's shortcomings, sometimes spreading their negative views beyond the workplace, potentially influencing others' perceptions.

How to Fix Declining Engagement Levels

A recent study says that employees who've had a good work experience are sixteen times more engaged and also eight times more likely to want to stay with the organization. [McKinsey Employee Experience Survey 2020]

Therefore, here are a few ways to build and maintain that level of experience for an engaged workforce.

1. Build Trust

Trust is a critical component of employee engagement, alongside purpose, clarity, and recognition. When employees trust their managers, they feel empowered and committed to their work. This trust also facilitates open, two-way communication, enabling staff to share feedback and ideas freely.

2. Enhance Communication

Clear and effective communication is essential for engagement. Develop strong internal communication channels that encourage two-way interactions. Employees should feel comfortable sharing their thoughts without fear of repercussions, and managers need to be clear and transparent in their communications.

3. Create a Positive Work Environment

A motivating and healthy work environment is crucial for boosting employee satisfaction and productivity.

Ensure your workplace provides all necessary resources and support for employees to perform their duties efficiently.

Beyond the basics, focus on creating an atmosphere where employees feel valued and recognized beyond just financial compensation. Emphasize the importance of a healthy work-life balance to show that you care about your employees' overall well-being.

4. Foster a Sense of Purpose

Inspiring a sense of purpose in your employees is vital. Avoid treating them as interchangeable units; instead, help them see the value and impact of their work. When employees understand how their roles contribute to the organization’s goals, they are more likely to feel connected and engaged.

Here's a topic that might interest you: 10 proven employee engagement strategies for a thriving workplace

Using ThriveSparrow to Elevate Engagement Levels

ThriveSparrow stands out as a comprehensive tool designed to elevate every aspect of employee engagement within your organization. Its suite of features addresses various facets of engagement, from recognition to communication and analytics. ThriveSparrow offers a suite of features designed to elevate employee engagement.

Engagement surveys: Engagement surveys provide critical insights into employee sentiment, helping identify areas for improvement and aligning actions with staff needs.

Kudos Module for recognition: This module creates a culture of appreciation, where employees feel valued through recognition and rewards, boosting morale and motivation.

Analytics: The customizable dashboard gives leaders clear data on engagement trends, enabling informed decisions to enhance the employee experience.

Manager Reports: Detailed reports equip managers with insights into team dynamics and individual contributions, fostering effective team management and targeted support.

Dynamic Heatmaps: Visual tools display engagement levels across departments, aiding in quickly pinpointing and addressing specific engagement issues.

A screenshot of ThriveSparrow's Dynamic Heatmaps
ThriveSparrow's Dynamic Heatmaps

Try ThriveSparrow for free and uplift your employees' engagement by making them feel heard, valued, and connected.

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The Journey to Peak Employee Engagement

Embarking on the journey to peak employee engagement involves aligning your workforce with clear goals and objectives.

It's about cultivating a culture that values employee contributions, fosters a sense of belonging, and encourages open expression.

Remember, even a small increase in engagement can significantly impact your operational income and overall company culture. Reflect on your current engagement strategies, consider how they can be improved, and take proactive steps to build a more inclusive and engaged workplace.


1. What are the Three Levels of Employee Engagement?

The three levels of engagement in employees are - actively engaged, not engaged, and actively disengaged.

  • Actively engaged: Employees are highly motivated, committed, and contribute positively to the company.
  • Not engaged: Employees do the minimum required and are indifferent towards company goals.
  • Actively disengaged: Employees are unhappy, may undermine their coworkers, and act counterproductively.

2. What is a Good Level of Employee Engagement?

A good employee engagement level is typically considered to be above 70%, indicating a strong emotional commitment by the majority of employees towards the company's success.