I keep hearing more and more about “employee engagement”. Exactly, what is it? And why is there so much news about it?
Employee engagement is a business management concept that has become “hot” in the past five years. It is essentially the degree to which an employee is emotionally attached to their job, colleagues and organization. One reason it has been in the news is because: a) it is measureable (which business and organizational leaders like); and b) it has been shown to be significantly tied to a variety of employee characteristics, including their willingness to learn, their commitment to get a job done, and the likelihood that they will stay with their current employer.
The problem is – recent research has shown that the level of engaged employees is going down. Seventy percent of employees surveyed were found to either be “disengaged” or “marginally engaged” – meaning most workers are not feeling real committed to their workplace.
While a number of factors contribute to employee engagement (e.g. feeling they are contributing to the mission of the organization, having appropriate input into decisions), how valued and appreciated employees feel by their supervisor and colleagues is a huge contributor to the level of commitment an employee has to the organization. And, unfortunately, many employee recognition programs instituted by businesses and organizations don’t really “hit the mark” for most individual workers – because they are often group-based communications and don’t find out the individual ways that workers actually feel appreciated. That is why our work with the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory and the Appreciation at Work training process is having such a positive impact – because we help supervisors identify the unique ways their colleagues experience encouragement and help them communicate appreciation regularly and authentically.