Defining Employee Engagement
Wikipedia defines an "engaged employee" as one who is fully absorbed by and enthusiastic about his/her work and so takes positive action to further the organization's reputation and interests.
An organization with "high" employee engagement might therefore be expected to outperform those with "low" employee engagement, all else being equal. However, there isn't always a shared meaning of what engagement means, nor is there a universally understood method for developing it.
In The Best of Gallup Management Journal 2001-2007, Jerry Krueger and Emily Killham describe three types of employees:
- Engaged employees work with passion, and they feel a profound connection to their company. They drive innovation and move the organization forward.
- Not-Engaged employees are essentially “checked out.” They’re sleepwalking through their workday, putting time – but not energy or passion – into their work.
- Actively Disengaged employees aren’t just unhappy at work; they’re busy acting out their unhappiness. Every day, these workers undermine what their engaged coworkers accomplish.
David Mizne of 15five.com defines employee engagement as “proactively and passionately adding value while aligning with the company mission.” In his opinion, this can be hard to quantify. “An engaged employee wears it on their face, demonstrates it in their work and in their workplace communication.”
Mizne feels that the exact definition of employee engagement remains elusive, and becomes even more problematic when one considers Gallup’s seemingly ambiguous subcategories (above) of “not engaged” and “actively disengaged.” He prefers to define employee engagement as “proactively and passionately adding value while aligning with the company mission.”
Companies and leaders worldwide certainly recognize the advantages of engaging employees, and many have instituted surveys to measure engagement. Yet, employee engagement has barely budged in well over a decade.
About Dr. Maynard Brusman…
Consulting Psychologist & Executive Coach
Emotional Intelligence and Mindful Leadership Consultant
Are you a purpose-driven executive leader who wants to be more effective at work and get better results? Emotionally intelligent and mindful leaders build trust, and inspire people to become fully engaged with the vision and mission of their company. They build coaching cultures of positive engagement.
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