Grace Smith
January 16, 2024

Employee engagement is different from employee happiness and satisfaction.

Engaged employees are those who give more to the organization. One can recognize such an engaged employee by how invested, inspired, and passionate they are at their jobs.

Happiness and satisfaction are closely linked to engagement and are the results of it, but aren't the same.

According to a meta-analysis by Gallup, organizations with higher levels of employee engagement experienced a 21% rise in productivity. This underscores the importance of employee engagement and why organizations should prioritize it.

So let's have a closer look at what employee engagement is, and how organizations can enhance engagement at the workplace.

What is Employee Engagement?

Employees who are highly engaged make full use of their energy, which means they willingly go beyond what is required of them in their position. These are the kind of employees who genuinely want to advance the business, which means they deliver excellent work and are motivated to constantly improve.

A highly engaged employee would be the one who offers to show brand-new employees around the workplace, the one who would stay late to complete a task, and lend a helping hand at work events even during off hours.

Kevin Kruse, CEO of LEADx mentions a similar phrase in a Forbes article,

'Engaged employees use discretionary effort.'

Definition of Employee Engagement

Employee Engagement can be defined as the level of commitment and dedication an organization's employees have towards their jobs.

And according to Gallup, employee engagement is defined as the involvement and enthusiasm of employees in their work and workplace.

Why is Employee Engagement Important?

Retaining the best employees is one of the biggest challenges faced by many companies in the rapidly evolving business climate of today.

A recent study of over 600 American firms with 50 to 500 workers found that 63.3% of businesses believe that keeping employees is more difficult than finding new ones.

Moreover, prioritizing employee engagement,

  • Improves workplace culture
  • Lowers staff turnover
  • Boosts productivity
  • Fosters better working relationships with clients
  • Has a positive influence on business profits

Therefore, it is necessary for organizations to prioritize employee engagement, as it is key to creating positive work cultures and contributing to organizational success.

What are the Different Levels of Employee Engagement?

According to Gallup's framework, there are three distinct levels of employee engagement.

Understanding these levels allows for better addressal of engagement needs across the organization.

  1. Actively engaged: These employees are highly motivated, productive, and committed to their roles. You can identify engaged employees with traits like showing initiative, determination, and having a strong work ethic.
  2. Not engaged: This level represents employees who have a neutral or indifferent attitude towards their job and the company. They lack initiative, don't offer suggestions for improvement, and are resistant to change, often maintaining the status quo.
  3. Actively disengaged: Employees in this category are mostly considered to be disengaged at work. They may express their dissatisfaction openly, undermine their teams and managers, and even actively seek employment elsewhere.

What are the Benefits of Employee Engagement?

Engaged employees benefit the organization in several ways, few being:

  1. Reduced absenteeism: Highly engaged workplaces experience 41% lower absenteeism. Engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their job voluntarily.
  2. A boost in innovativeness and creativity: Engaged employees are more likely to share ideas and think creatively.
  3. Improved workplace safety: Engaged employees are shown to be more active and vigilant, leading to 70% fewer safety accidents.
  4. Greater organizational alignment: Engaged employees are strongly aligned with the goals of the organization. They better understand the organization's mission, values, and goals.
  5. Improved customer service: Engaged employees, especially in customer-facing roles are linked to better customer service outcomes. Highly engaged business units report a 10% increase in customer ratings, and an 18% increase in sales.
  6. Enhanced brand advocacy: Engaged employees feel empowered and proud to work for their employers, thereby becoming brand ambassadors and enhancing the employer brand.
  7. Better collaboration and teamwork: Engaged employees are good collaborators and excellent team players.
  8. Higher job satisfaction: Since most professionals work on an average of 40 hours per week, it can be concluded that job satisfaction is closely tied to employee engagement.
  9. Maintaining good relationships: When employees are engaged, they develop healthier and stronger relationships with others.
  10. Positive organizational culture: 47% of employees seeking new jobs cite poor company culture as the main reason for leaving. Engaged employees contribute to a positive work culture, ensuring a more productive and harmonious environment.

There's a detailed blog on all the benefits of engagement. So if you're interested, you can check it out here: Top 10 benefits of employee engagement: How it transforms organizations.

What are the 6 Main Drivers of Employee Engagement

Here are 6 main drivers that play a huge role in engagement. These drivers may seem subjective in nature, nevertheless, they positively affect and contribute towards engagement.

  1. Recognition: Recognizing and appreciating an employee's efforts and performance, improves the relationship with the employer. This can boost morale, and motivate other employees to perform better.
  2. Professional development opportunities: Offering employees to learn new skills demonstrates an organization's commitment to its employees' professional growth.
  3. Autonomy: Giving employees full control of their work helps them feel a strong sense of ownership at work. When employees are given full control of their work, they tend to perform better, and take a more positive approach towards their work.
  4. Work with a sense of purpose: When employees feel that their work is connected to a larger purpose or mission - simply put, if it is aligned with the goals of the organization, it can profoundly impact their engagement levels. People want to be recognized for who they are, and what they bring to the table.
  5. Work-life balance: Exhausted employee cannot perform to the best of their abilities and they'd appear to be more disengaged. Offering employees ample break times, commute assistance, and remote-work options can improve the quality of life at work. This leads to employees being more happier and engaged at work.
  6. A leader-like manager: Employees like to have someone they can look up to - like a mentor. A manager who can both lead and guide a team is someone who drives engagement. The manager alone accounts for 70% of the variance in team engagement.

Employee Engagement Roles: Who is Responsible for Employee Engagement?

Everyone in an organization has a role to play in promoting and driving engagement. While management and HR set the tone for engagement, employees too have a role to play. Their engagement contributes to the current work culture, which in turn affects the engagement of other employees in the organization.

Here's a short breakdown of the different stakeholders responsible for driving engagement.

  1. Senior Executives
  2. Managers
  3. HR
  4. Individual employees
Various Employee Engagement Roles
Various Employee Engagement Roles

Senior executives

Senior leaders set the organizational culture's tone. They communicate the company's goals and vision, ensuring alignment across all levels. They are responsible for allocating necessary resources, and championing programs focused on recognition and rewards. This reinforces a culture of appreciation that values employee contributions and achievements.

Managers

Managers have a direct influence on their teams' daily experiences. They set clear, measurable, and achievable goals, creating a roadmap for success. By promoting a healthy work-life balance and providing constructive feedback and recognition, managers play a key role in maintaining employee morale and motivation.

HR

HR refine and maintain the company culture. They drive engagement initiatives and act on employee feedback to continually improve the workplace. HR is also responsible for hiring the right people and providing ongoing training and development opportunities. This ensures that employees are skilled, satisfied, and aligned with the company's values and objectives.

Employee

At the individual level, employees have a significant responsibility in shaping their engagement. Taking ownership of their work, approaching tasks with a positive mindset, and being adaptable and open to change are key. Employees can only contribute to the overall environment by providing honest, transparent feedback and actively participating in problem-solving. They shouldn't just fulfill job requirements but also be proactive and invest their all towards the organization's goals.

Employee Engagement Statistics That an Employer Should Know

It's simple to make claims about employee engagement and how beneficial it is to your business, but do the statistics back up these claims?

1. Engagement of Employees Improves Results 

A Gallup study shows that companies that have more engaged workers perform better than those that don't. The following findings were discovered by contrasting business divisions that show an increased degree of involvement with those that don't. According to its survey on staff engagement, with motivated workers:   

  • The work output will rise by 14%
  • 10% rise in customer reviews
  • 18% more revenue growth 
  • An increase in income by 23% 
  • Organizational involvement is boosted by 13%

2. Business divisions that are engaged are more successful.

The behavior of highly engaged company divisions result in 21% higher profitability, according to a Gallup survey. As per the same study, employees that are engaged are less likely to quit their jobs. 

According to the article, extremely engaged business departments achieve "59% fewer resignations" in organizations with high turnover rates and "24% fewer resignations" in organizations with low turnover rates.

3. Burnout and engagement must coexist.

According to a study by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, one in five employees was extremely engaged but still in danger of burnout.

Although disengagement is frequently attributed to burnout, it makes sense that highly involved workers may also experience burnout due to overworking.

4. How can feedback fix this?

The secret to higher employee engagement is regular employee feedback.

69% of workers believe that if they feel like their efforts are appreciated, they will be inspired to work harder and be more engaged.

Similarly to this, over 85% of workers say that receiving regular business updates from management increases their motivation to work.

What is an Employee Engagement Model and Why is it Important?

Employee engagement models are essentially frameworks that are used by businesses to identify and assess the various factors affecting engagement.

These models are crucial as they help identify key drivers of engagement like job satisfaction, workplace environment, and management style.

Assessing these factors helps businesses tailor their strategies, and in turn boost morale, increase productivity, and reduce turnover.

Essentially, it's about creating a positive, supportive workplace where employees feel valued and motivated, leading to better overall performance and a healthier company culture.

Here are 4 popular employee engagement models that you can use a framework to guide your employee engagement action plans.

Employee engagement models
4 Popular Employee Engagement Models

1. Maslow Hierarchy of Needs

This model takes the famous Maslow's hierarchy, a staple in psychology, and applies it to the workplace. It suggests that employees' needs range from basic needs (like salary and shelter) to higher levels like self-actualization, where they realize their full potential. It implies that employee engagement can be boosted by fulfilling these hierarchical needs.

2. AON-Hewitt Model

The AON-Hewitt Model is about connecting engagement with tangible business outcomes. It combines elements like employee benefits, effective communication, and leadership to drive better retention rates and heightened customer satisfaction. This model underscores the direct impact of employee engagement on a company's success.

3. Gallup Model

The Gallup Model uses a set of specific questions to measure how engaged employees feel at work. These questions cover aspects like job clarity, personal care, and development opportunities. A key emphasis here is on the role of managers and leaders in nurturing employee engagement, suggesting that their actions directly influence workplace satisfaction.

4. Zinger Model

The Zinger Model puts a spotlight on personal connections and continuous engagement. It's built around the idea that relationships at work are fundamental to employee engagement. The model is structured as a pyramid, starting with basic necessities and building up to achieving optimal results through engagement. It promotes a workplace where personal connections and recognition play a key role.

5 Simple Yet Effective Ways to Improve Employee Engagement

No matter what the size or financial condition of the company is, maintaining employee engagement is always crucial. Employees are essential for the success of a company. Many businesses mistakenly believe that the products they provide are their greatest asset when, in fact, their employees are the ones that keep their engines going.

Appreciating employees regularly results in a committed, enthusiastic, and skilled workforce that will pay great dividends for businesses. No matter how talented a person may be, employers that do not support and encourage their personnel will not get the most from them. 

Here are 5 ways to enhance your employees' engagement. By combining them with best practices, you can maximize your engagement efforts and create a vibrant and productive workplace where employees feel truly valued and connected to their work.

1. Take good care of your employees

Employees will quickly understand that the company cares about more than  making money or expanding its market position only when management honestly demonstrates their concern for the employees.

Employees should get the feeling that the organization they work for cares about their welfare. This creates a team of individuals who also actively care about each other's well-being, which leads to increased levels of productivity, workplace satisfaction, and eventual economic gain for the business.

2. Stay in touch

Ensure that employees remain pleased with everything in their workplace by connecting through regular informal conversations and performance evaluations or appraisals. You can also ask them about the workplace atmosphere, opinions of their coworkers, and even their workload and routine tasks.

Employees may feel more at ease approaching their supervisors honestly and without bias when organizations demonstrate that they appreciate criticism and implement  suggestions.

3. Offer mentorship 

Rather than just barking instructions or micromanaging their staff, efficient administrators  usually actively mentor and guide their subordinates in the organizations. This kind of encouragement helps maintain, inspire, and develop a brilliant workforce. They have the will to stay with the organization longer, are more positive about work, and are more motivated too.

Employees will consider themselves as a valuable asset and want to perform or try harder going forward,  if managers consistently work to encourage their teams. 

4. Let them contribute original ideas

Employees should be encouraged to contribute their own thoughts and ideas. Employees want to feel that their ideas are valued equally to those of management and that they have a real impact on the success of the business. According to an old proverb, "No idea is ever a stupid idea".

Therefore, if you feel that an idea brought up by the team does not fit, do not immediately dismiss the idea. Rather, speak directly and honestly to the person and then provide an explanation of why you believe the concept may not work well for the current scenario the company is facing. Employees will probably avoid pitching in with their ideas in the future when they are terrified of being overlooked repeatedly, especially when their ideas are turned down without a reason.

5. Acknowledge your employees

You should develop the practice of consistently praising or celebrating those workers who have performed admirably, whether it was on the job or in their own personal lives. Giving congratulations to staff members in front of fellow employees also  boosts their self-confidence.

We've included a detailed resource on the best practices for enhancing employee engagement, so once you've read this blog, you can check it out later.

10 Ways to Measure Employee Engagement

Each of these tools and techniques offer organizations with a way to measure and assess engagement levels, and guide their action plans.

  1. Employee engagement surveys: Utilize comprehensive surveys to gather feedback on various aspects like job satisfaction and workplace culture. While informative, these surveys might not always capture the complete picture due to potential biases.
  2. Pulse surveys: Implement frequent, short surveys to regularly check in on employee sentiments. Their simplicity usually garners higher response rates, offering a quick pulse on engagement levels.
  3. Focus Groups: Conduct small group discussions to gain deeper, qualitative insights into employee experiences and perceptions. This method helps identify areas needing improvement in engagement.
  4. Individual meetings: Personal interviews with employees can reveal unique insights into engagement levels and identify developmental opportunities. These one-on-one interactions foster a personal connection to the company.
  5. 360-degree feedback: Collect feedback from various sources around an employee, such as managers, peers, and subordinates, for a well-rounded view of their engagement.
  6. Social media analysis: Monitor employee behavior and sentiments on company social media platforms for additional insights into engagement.
  7. Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS): Employ eNPS surveys to gauge employee loyalty and satisfaction. Measuring the employee net promoter score aids organizations with measuring each their employees' likelihood to recommend the company to others.
  8. Performance Metrics: Analyze traditional performance indicators like productivity and attendance to infer engagement levels.
  9. Exit Interviews: Gain valuable feedback from departing employees to understand their engagement levels and reasons for leaving.
  10. Recognition Programs: Track participation in employee recognition initiatives to assess engagement.

We dive deep into the various employee engagement measuring techniques in another resource. So feel free to check it out when you get some time on your hands.

How to Create an Employee Engagement Action Plan in 5 steps

An Employee Engagement Action Plan is a strategic approach that organizations use to enhance the overall engagement of their workforce. It directly impacts business success.

Essentially, this plan involves identifying areas of improvement through employee feedback and implementing targeted actions to address these issues.

Creating an employee engagement action plan is a vital step towards fostering a more committed and productive workforce.

Here are five most essential steps to consider:

1. Define clear objectives

Start by establishing specific goals for your engagement plan. This could involve addressing particular areas of concern identified through feedback or aiming to enhance certain aspects of the workplace environment.

2. Conduct comprehensive surveys

Utilize surveys to gather detailed insights into employee sentiments. This data will be foundational in understanding areas that need improvement and tailoring your action plan accordingly.

3. Analyze and interpret data

After collecting survey responses, delve into the data to spot patterns and underlying issues. This analysis is crucial in shaping an effective engagement strategy that addresses the real concerns of your employees.

4. Develop targeted initiatives

Based on your analysis, create specific initiatives aimed at improving engagement. These could range from professional development opportunities to changes in work-life balance policies.

5. Set and monitor milestones

Establish clear milestones to track the progress of your initiatives. Regular monitoring and adjustments ensure that your action plan remains relevant and effective.

An employee engagement action plan doesn't just improve morale and productivity; it helps align the goals of your employees with those of the organization.

5 Best Employee Engagement Platforms to Enhance Engagement and Retention

Here are 5 of the best employee engagement platforms that you can use to bolster engagement at the workplace, and contribute to a more dynamic and thriving workforce.​

1. ThriveSparrow

This platform is designed for HR professionals, focusing on revitalizing workplace culture and employee satisfaction. It offers two modules, Kudos and Engage, which foster a culture of appreciation and provide insights into employee needs and sentiments. Key features include engagement surveys, anonymous feedback, and dynamic heatmaps.

2. Workvivo

An employee experience platform that enhances communication and engagement. Its features include public shout-outs, collaborative spaces, personalization, and surveys to gauge organizational engagement.

3. Lattice

A people management platform that integrates performance and engagement metrics. It offers pulse surveys, automated surveys, eNPS surveys, and an Engagement-Analytics module for in-depth insights.

4. Motivosity

This tool focuses on the employee experience journey and offers the Thanks Matter Card for employee rewards. Its features include eNPS tools, custom surveys, integrations with daily applications, and a unique MV6 culture measurement tool.

5.Work Tango

A comprehensive platform for transforming company culture and engaging workforces. It provides customizable surveys, predictive insights, social recognition features, and automated celebration reminders.

Level Up Your Employee Engagement Efforts with ThriveSparrow

If you are looking for a business solution that could reduce a great load from your shoulders and guide you in the right direction when it comes to employee engagement, then ThriveSparrow is the best place for you!

ThriveSparrow is an employee success platform that helps HRs enhance and refine their employees' engagement.

The platform offers real-time peer recognition through its Kudos module by integrating with Slack.

Its Engage module offers a variety of employee surveys like engagement, pulse, and eNPS surveys. Through these surveys, ThriveSparrow aids HRs in collecting employee feedback and making it anonymous, thus encouraging employees to provide honest and transparent feedback.

The platform also helps top-level executives visualize engagement levels across departments with heatmaps.

A screenshot of ThriveSparrow's Heatmaps
ThriveSparrow's Heatmaps

Team analytics and Manager reports helps managers gain insights into their teams performance and engagement levels. Additionally, these insights into their employees' sentiment helps them act on the feedback and close the loop.

ThriveSparrow's Manager Reports

Try ThriveSparrow for free today and boost engagement at the workplace.