What is Employee Engagement?

Employee engagement is a workplace approach resulting in the right conditions for all members of an organisation to give of their best each day, committed to their organisation’s goals and values, motivated to contribute to organisational success, with an enhanced sense of their own well-being.

David Macleod:This is about how we create the conditions in which employees offer more of their capability and potential”.

Employee engagement is based on trust, integrity, two way commitment and communication between an organisation and its members. It is an approach that increases the chances of business success, contributing to organisational and individual performance, productivity and well-being. It can be measured. It varies from poor to great. It can be nurtured and dramatically increased; it can lost and thrown away.

Engaging for Success Report  (the Macleod Report) sets out findings of four common features of highly engaged and high performing organisations (the Four Enablers).

What’s employee engagement for you and me as employees?

Employee engagement is getting up in the morning thinking, “Great, I’m going to work. I know what I’m going to do today. I’ve got some great ideas about how to do it really well. I’m looking forward to seeing the team and helping them work well today”.

Employee engagement is about understanding one’s role in an organisation, and being sighted and energised on where it fits in the organisation’s purpose and objectives.

Employee engagement is about having a clear understanding of how an organisation is fulfilling its purpose and objectives, how it is changing to fulfil those better, and being given a voice in its journey to offer ideas and express views that are taken account of as decisions are made.

Employee engagement is about being included fully as a member of the team, focussed on clear goals, trusted and empowered, receiving regular and constructive feedback, supported in developing new skills, thanked and recognised for achievement.

Engaged organisations have strong and authentic values, with clear evidence of trust and fairness based on mutual respect, where two-way promises and commitments – between employers and employees – are understood and fulfilled. 

What’s employee engagement for you and me as employers?

Employee engagement is about positive attitudes and behaviours leading to improved business outcomes, in a way that they trigger and reinforce one another.

Employee engagement is about our employees feeling pride and loyalty working for our organisation, being a great advocate of the organisation to our clients, users and customers, going the extra mile to finish a piece of work.

Employee engagement is about drawing on our employees’ knowledge and ideas to improve our products and services, and be innovative about how we work.

Employee engagement is about drawing out a deeper commitment from our employees so fewer leave, sick absence reduces, accident rates decline, conflicts and grievances go down, productivity increases.

Employee engagement is about organisation actions that are consistent with the organisation’s values. It is about kept promises, or an explanation why they cannot be kept.

What employee engagement is not!

Employee engagement cannot be achieved by a mechanistic approach which tries to extract discretionary effort by manipulating employees’ commitment and emotions. Employees see through such attempts very quickly and can become cynical and disillusioned.