How is employee engagement defined? What do different definitions have in common? We asked professionals what employee engagement means for them.
Defining employee engagement is not straightforward. It’s a collective and personal experience, and the definition may well change along the way.
Aligning the company with the employees is a key component of employee engagement. “Many of the world's most engaged organizations maintain a purpose-driven culture,” Brandon Rigoni and Bailey Nelson write. “Their leaders know why the company exists and ensure that employees understand and identify with that purpose.”
We asked some professionals what employee engagement means to them. Here’s what they had to say.
Engaged employees are dedicated to their work and the organization. They show initiative and work towards being successful in their task.
“Employee engagement can come in many forms but I think the most telling is when an individual shows ‘extreme ownership’ of their role,” says Ben Friedman, co-founder and Head of Operations at All Set.
“This doesn't mean they don't work with anyone or hate other's ideas. Extreme ownership is coming to work every day trying to make sure you do whatever is in your power to succeed. To own something so much you refuse to fail and fight through all the obstacles that can get in your way.”
Inclusion and sharing ideas
Engagement is never a one-way street, but a collaborative effort between the management and employees, and between colleagues.
“Smart folks love to brainstorm and come up with brilliant strategies,” says Qminder’s Growth Manager Hyun Lee. “The more difficult part is getting the work done. Talking is easy, and ideas are worthless. As a manager and employee, I believe employee engagement means actively getting people involved in the thinking and strategy process as well as executing it.”
Empowerment and culture
Employee engagement is very much rooted in the company culture and the support structures it provides. A motivational environment that relies on feedback and open communication is key.
“If I can put it in a few words, employee engagement is a reflection of the company itself. When employees truly feel like pushing the extra mile, volunteering in new projects, assisting new members succeed, or even in giving open feedback about management, that’s the best sign one can have that the company is cultivating a healthy approach in the way employees work and communicate,” Nick Chandi, the CEO of SlickPie and a member of the Forbes Technology Council.
According to Chandi, engagement must come naturally and from within, and the best way to motivate that is by providing the teams with reassuring and empowering policies and environments that allow this to happen.
Employee engagement is a two-way street
Employee engagement is always a two-way street that involves the organization as a whole and its employees.
In this knowledge-based economy, engaging employees requires having the tools and information available to succeed. Investing in your employees is a strategy that pays off and one that is fruitful to both the organization and its individuals.