What exactly is employee engagement?

What exactly is employee engagement?
Last Updated: June 25, 2023

Employee engagement is a human resources (HR) concept that describes a workers enthusiasm and dedication to their job. Employees who are engaged are concerned about their work and the companys performance, and they believe that their efforts make a difference. An engaged employee is motivated by more than a paycheck and may consider their well-being to be linked to their performance and thus instrumental to the success of their company. The way a company treats its employees has a direct impact on their level of engagement.

Levels of employee engagement



Highly engaged employees


Employees who are highly engaged have very positive attitudes toward their workplace. Employees who feel connected to their teams, enjoy their jobs, and have positive feelings about your organization are more likely to stay and contribute to its success. These \"brand advocates\" promote their company to their family and friends. They motivate their coworkers to perform to the best of their abilities.


Moderately engaged employees

Employees who are moderately engaged view their organization favourably. They like their company, but they see room for improvement. These employees are less likely to request additional responsibilities and are more likely to underperform. Something about the organization or their job prevents them from fully engaging.


Barely engaged employees

Barely engaged employees feel indifferent toward their place of employment. They are usually unmotivated in their jobs and will only do what is necessary to get by—sometimes even less. Barely engaged employees may be researching other jobs and are at a high turnover risk.


Disengaged employees

Employees who are disengaged have a negative perception of their workplace. They are disengaged from the organizations mission, goals, and future. They are unconcerned about their position and responsibilities. It is critical to understand how to deal with disengaged employees so that their negative perceptions do not affect the productivity of those around them.


Is employee engagement the same as employee happiness or satisfaction?

The problem with happiness is that it is a volatile emotion. A happy employee is not always an engaged employee. Numerous factors influence it, and what happens at work may only contribute to someones overall happiness to a small extent. Happiness is also something we cannot bottle or replicate, and it isnt easy to quantify.


Employee happiness is linked to employee satisfaction. Employee satisfaction refers to how happy or content a person is with their job and work environment. An employee, for example, can be happy and have a high level of job satisfaction. Perhaps they enjoy the office atmosphere, enjoy interacting with coworkers, and take advantage of the companys benefits. In this case, they may be content, but they are not contributing to the team and are only doing the bare minimum to get paid. Employee engagement is unique.


Importance of employee engagement

Employee engagement appeals to HR because of its immediate benefits in employee retention, recruitment, job satisfaction, and happiness. However, the benefits of employee engagement extend far beyond HR. Below are some of the benefits:


Boost productivity

Employers are experimenting with everything from wearable activity devices to a jungle of office plants to boost employee productivity. However, they are overlooking a solution that is right in front of them: employee engagement.

According to research, engaged employees are 17 percent more productive than their peers are. Engaged employees are more likely to work diligently and put forth discretionary effort in their jobs, boosting productivity and innovation.

Businesses today require innovation to remain agile and successful—but to increase innovation, your managers must act as coaches. Nonetheless, one in every five employees is sceptical that their manager will provide regular, constructive feedback. Prioritizing consistent, real-time feedback will encourage your employees to come up with new and better ideas, solutions, and products, all of which will lead to increased productivity.


Increases customer satisfaction

People who are enthusiastic about their work are frequently the best people to interact with your customers. Why? Because the enthusiasm is contagious, and customers will notice.


The most engaged employees are \"more likely to put in the effort that translates into buzzing productivity levels, a happier sales force, and a more credible product pitch.\" In other words, when customers interact with engaged employees, they have a better experience.

Those who believe in the importance of assisting customers and feel valued by their organization are far more likely to provide a better customer experience and increase satisfaction.


Increased employee satisfaction

Employee satisfaction is not the same as employee engagement. Employee satisfaction assesses the bare minimum, whereas engagement encourages everyone to strive for more. However, this distinction does not mean that employee satisfaction should not be a goal.


Sales growth

Improved customer service + increased productivity + improved quality? Enhanced sales, you guessed it. Highly engaged organizations outperform their disengaged counterparts by an average of 20%. According to recent research, the same manager behaviours that drive engagement also drive business results; you can read about the study and sample behaviours here.


Reduced absenteeism

Employees who are engaged are invested in their work and care about the success of their team. It makes sense that they would show up to work. Employees who are engaged are firmly committed to their organizations mission.

Taking a day off now and then can indicate that employees are engaged. They are comfortable in their position, and they are confident that one missed day will not jeopardize the work to be done. However, when patterns of absenteeism begin to emerge, you should be concerned about engagement levels.


Improved employee loyalty

The definition of employee loyalty is changing as younger generations enter the workforce. What was once defined as a long-term commitment to a companys goals now appears to be a tit-for-tat interaction. Not only that, but employees would accept another job offer if the opportunity arose.


Just because an employee is not looking for a new job does not mean they will not leave if a better opportunity arises. Employees do not leave when they care about the organizations success and are appropriately challenged by their work. Employees who are engaged, on the other hand, tend to stay.


Increased retention

When employees cannot utilize their strengths, do not feel challenged, or enjoy their work (all hallmarks of low engagement), they are more likely to leave their current employer. Engaged employees, on the other hand, do not have a reason to look elsewhere for work. 


Increased profit

Which company does not want a little extra cash in their pocket? According to the most recent research, highly engaged organizations are 21 percent more profitable than their peers are. When your company is profitable, make sure to reinvest in employee engagement technology and activities. This will maintain your profitability growth and keep you on an upward trajectory.


Enhances company culture

People who are engrossed in their work are generally easier to work with. Not because they are happier or more cheerful, either. It is because they exemplify a culture of employee engagement.

What exactly is a culture of employee engagement? According to Forbes, it is a workplace that is \"designed, first and foremost, around its company values.\" Creating an employee engagement culture necessitates \"checking in with their employees to ensure that the company mission aligns with the ways that people currently work and the ways that they want to work.\"


Types of employee engagement

Employee engagement is personified by employees passion and energy to give their all to the organization. Employees willingness and ability to put in consistent effort to help their organizations succeed. It is a psychological agreement, not a physical one. Below are the three types of engagement.


 Cognitive Engagement

This refers to how much attention employees pay to their work tasks. Small interruptions at work rarely distract an actively engaged employee.


Emotional Engagement

This is the in-the-moment experience that employees have while working. This includes their perception of their level of involvement in the job.


Physical Engagement

The extent to which an employee works on their development. One method of identifying physical engagement is through voluntary nomination for a training program.



Charlene Dzonga is a Business Analytics Graduate Trainee at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm.

Phone +263 4 481946-48/481950/2900276/2900966

Cell number +263 713779768

Email: charlene@ipcconsultants.com or visit our website at www.ipcconsultants.com

Charlene Dzonga
This article was written by Charlene a Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd

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