This article was updated to reflect new information on May 23, 2023.
In everyday life, engagement refers to a positive commitment between two parties. People are engaged with their passions, their hobbies, and, most significantly, with their friends, family, and partners. In the most productive instances, that engagement is two-sided. Employee engagement is no different.
The good news is that employees want to feel engaged at their workplace. But for employees to be engaged, they need to simultaneously believe in your company goals and see how their individual function helps reach those same objectives. An employee performs best when they feel valued in the workplace, and understand the value they provide the company.
In the shifting world of work, engaging your employees has become increasingly essential. A recent Workday report found that 27% of employees had engagement scores that suggested they were at risk of attrition. For companies to attract new talent and retain high-performing employees, understanding the importance of employee engagement is critical.
What Is Employee Engagement?
Employee engagement refers to the degree to which an employee feels connected to their work, their colleagues, and the wider business. Engagement isn't driven by one aspect of an employee’s working life. It’s the full picture, from hiring practices, to the solutions they use, to the snack situation in the kitchen.
An engaged employee brings their full self to work, often performing beyond their required duties. That means they identify areas where they can develop new skills, take pride in their working environment, and evangelize the business. When they make discretionary effort, they do so out of a genuine desire to contribute more to the company.
By contrast, a disengaged employee will rarely surpass the minimum required of them—and frequently dip below that. Beyond their own workload, they won’t seek out ways to contribute to the wider business and culture. Because they don’t see a future for themselves at the organization, they’re happy to maintain the status quo.