An “engaged employee” is one who is fully involved in, and enthusiastic about their work, and thus will act in a way that furthers their organization’s interests. Even from the definition, it is apparent that employee engagement benefits the individual as well as the organization. Enthusiastic employees are content, dedicated employees. Without passion, you’re simply clocking in and clocking out. And that shouldn’t be the goal for any employee or employer.

According to Scarlett Surveys, “Employee Engagement is a measurable degree of an employee’s positive or negative emotional attachment to their job, colleagues and organization that profoundly influences their willingness to learn and perform at work”. The baby boomers had this engagment thing down. Known for their loyalty and work ethic, the boomers were and still are the leaders of employee engagement. But alas, they are quickly leaving our boardrooms, offices and factories. Soon, companies will lose their employee engagement leaders.

A concious effort to build employee engagement is vital to any company. Engaged employees invest effort, have an emotional bond to their organization, have higher retention levels and are more productive. So get to engaging.

The number one driver of employee engagement is the employees perception of their job importance. According to an Ivey Business Journal article, ”…an employee’s attitude toward the job’s importance and the company had the greatest impact on loyalty and customer service than all other employee factors combined.”

Employees want to know what’s going on, they crave effective communication. It seems pretty common sense that lack of communication will inevitably lead to disengagement, frustration and isolation. But instead is it common practice for the employees closest to the action to divulge less and less information as it goes down the line. Consider your communications from the stance that employees want to be involved, they want to participate.

These communications include being crystal clear about job expectations. When an employee is unsure what is expected of them, they will become restless, find other things to occupy their time, and consider themselves a bad worker. This leads to resentment toward leadership. When an employee is given direction and expectations, they switch from simply surviving in their work environment, to being a part of the company’s success.

Feedback, gratitude and constructive criticism open an important dialogue that promotes employee engagment. We have left common courtesies and manners in the dust when it comes to dialogue in the workplace. Yes, when an employee does their job, it is just that, their job, but that doesn’t mean that a job well done should be ignored and paid off with a check. Verbalizing an employee’s value, or even projected value, reinforces their drive, and creates motivated workers.

 The number one driver of disengagment is poor employee-manager relationships. This problem accounts for an astounding 49% of disengaged employees. This particular study also broke this area down into smaller parts.

-11% of these employees are specifically disengaged with direct management, and not senior leadership. This indicates that it’s not the company that they take issue with, but it is more specifically a toxic relationship with direct management.

-15% report lack of accountability, communication, direction and feedback from their managers. Combat this by setting goals, again, making expectations clear, and holding employees accountable.

-12% are wanting recognition, and the promotion of teamwork from their managers. These managers need to support healthy workplace relationships and cater to the more person needs of their employees.

-This last group wants more respect and more autonomy. It’s is often the case that the type of manager that lacks in these areas are also the type that are good at holding employees accountable. Throughout the employee engagement process, a good balance should be in the forefront of the manager’s mind.

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