Just what is employee engagement? There are many defintions depending on who you talk to. One of the simpliest and best in terms of summing up what engagement is trying to achieve is this one:
“The extent to which employees commit to something or someone in your organisation, how hard they work and how long they stay.”
In reality we should really be asking the question: “Is it possible for employees to be disengaged?” The current thinking is that it is not.
To be disengaged means “to become separated from something, or to make two things become separate from each other”. You can disengage from your friends and maybe certain members of your family. But can you really do this from your employer?
If your manager asks you to do something and you truely disengage from them, what do you think will happen? You may end up being permanently disengaged! The truth is if you turn up at work, you are engaged. It is the type of engagement that is important.
Research has shown that there are two main types of engagement – transactional and emotional. Employees who are engaged at a transactional level are constantly looking to see whether they are getting a good deal. If I do this for the organisation, what will I get back in return?
It is important to have good levels of transactional enagement as it can drive discretionary effort and overall performance (how hard they will work). But loyalty and retention is driven more by emotional engagement.
An employee’s intent to stay is based on how closely they associate with the products, services and culture of the organisation, along with the perceived value of the work they do and the appreciation they receive for their contribution.
To truly engage your employees you need to get the balance right and encourage your management team to look at both aspects of engagement.
At The Core Group, we have a unique tool for helping you measure and monitor both levels of enagement and a series of training programmes and consulting interventions designed to increase motivation, productivity, performance and retention.