“Engaged employees make the customer experience. Disengaged employees break it.” -Timothy R. Clark
When the term, ‘employee engagement’ is discussed, it is often confused with employee satisfaction or employee happiness. While employee happiness and satisfaction contribute to an employee’s level of engagement, employee engagement is separate from each of these. According to Forbes, “Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals.”[i] An engaged employee cares both about the organization and the work they are doing.[ii] To an engaged employee, a job is not just a job. They feel a passion to produce high-quality work and are driven to contribute to the well-being of the organization.
While it is often undervalued, employee engagement is a crucial part of successfully running a business. Your employees are your direct vessel to your customers/clients. Therefore, if your employees are not engaged, your clients will have a low level of engagement as well.
To truly understand employee engagement, let’s take a look at the different types of employees relating to engagement. Employees can be categorized into one of three groups based on their level of engagement:[iii]
Engaged Employees – This group of employees are extremely engaged. These employees work with passion and are fully invested in the vision of the organization. They are active in providing new ideas and collaborating with others for the betterment of the company.
Non-Engaged Employees – This group of employees goes through the motions and completes the day-to-day tasks of their jobs. However, they lack passion and energy. They meet their deliverables and attend all meetings, but they feel no sense of purpose. They often do not buy-in to the bigger picture and goal of the organization.
Actively Disengaged Employees – This type of employee is toxic to an organization. This category of employees are often unhappy, unmotivated, and entirely disengaged. They spread negativity throughout the organization and are not at all emotionally invested in their job.
Based on a recent Gallup study, only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work.[iv] This is a staggeringly low percentage when considering the importance of employee engagement. Additionally, organizations with engaged employees outperform those without by 202%.[v] Having a high level of employee engagement leads to increased productivity, better communication, boosts creativity, and higher employee retention rates.[vi] As we begin implementing strategies for 2019, we should also be focusing on how to better engage our employees.
Invest in Learning and Development
As once said by Thomas Jefferson, “an investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”[vii] Based on statistics, the best way to improve employee engagement is through investing in learning and development. Employees are arguably an organizations greatest asset. The performance of employees directly impacts the performance of an entire organization.[viii] Therefore, it is of utmost importance that we invest in the development of our employees.
According to research by Udemy, “42% of employees say learning and development is the most important benefit when deciding where to work.”[ix] Also, a separate study stated, “If a job lacks growth opportunities and avenues for leadership development, 67% of millennials would leave that position.”[x] These are just a few statistics that exemplify how important professional development is to employees. When employees feel as though their organization’s leaders are investing in them, they will invest more of themselves into the organization. By creating a culture of growth and opportunity, you will increase the level of engagement within your organization.
As you evaluate your organization’s strategy for 2019, but sure to include ways to improve employee engagement. Both you and your employees will reap the benefits.