Employee Engagement is term that is banded about all the time now, but what does it mean?

One common definition, describes employee engagement as “the capture of discretionary effort.” (Discretionary effort refers to employees going above and beyond. This is in contrast to the ordinary effort required to simply get the job done without attracting negative attention.)

Other Definitions or descriptions you’re likely to hear include the following:

  • The capture of an employee’s head and heart
  • Employees who have their hearts and minds in the business
  • Intellectual understanding and emotional commitment
  • Employees who go the extra mile in loyalty and ambassadorship
  • Employees who say, stay, and strive
  • Employees who think and act as businesspeople

I like this one that I found:

  • Employee Engagement is the mutual commitment between an organisation and an employee, in which the organization helps the employee meet his or her potential and the employee helps the organisation meet its goals.

This mutual commitment is what truly defines employee engagement and results in discretionary effort. It’s also what makes employee engagement a win-win for both the employer and the employee.

Employee Engagement should be a cultural shift within your business. It is a change in how things are done and communicated from the top to the bottom of the organisation.

Engagement cannot be dealt with at the ‘Any other business’ section to the end of every meeting. It’s everyone’s responsibility and is an ongoing part of business.

When you embark on a systemic employee engagement programme, there is no finish line – it’s a journey without a destination.

During my recruitment career, I have often seen employers confusing employee engagement with satisfaction. This is a mistake. You can always throw money around or offer perks to boost employee satisfaction. But they are two very different things.

In simple terms, engagement boosts performance, while satisfaction does not.

The last thing you want as an employer is a satisfied but under performing employee — or worse, a whole team of satisfied employees in an under performing business!

Employee satisfaction very well may be an outcome of an excellent company culture. But unlike employee engagement, it shouldn’t be your main focus.

Engagement is not an end in and of itself. It’s not about having the best benefits package, the biggest bonus checks or the best perks in the office. It’s not even about instituting a training program or a flexible workweek. Successful engagement is about acknowledging that a business is, in essence, like a society. When everyone pulls together with common purpose, both its citizens and its economy will thrive.

Engagement is about people’s heads as well as their hearts.

If you would like more support with your Employee Engagement or any other strategy to help your business grow, click here.