Employee engagement is an employee’s emotional commitment and professional investment in their job as well as the organization’s business outcomes. While related to employee satisfaction, employee engagement primarily concerns itself with an employee’s productivity and focus in their work environment rather than only their happiness at work. Employee engagement underpins the fundamental success of the entire company, because an engaged workforce is more likely to do their best work.
Highly engaged employees are more likely to go above and beyond the basic requirements of their jobs. An engaged workforce is more likely to get projects done ahead of schedule, or will find new ways to make the organization more agile and efficient in order to improve business outcomes. Workers with high employee engagement are less likely to get distracted at work and more likely to innovate new ways of getting things done. Because they see the bigger picture and believe in their company’s mission, engaged employees are more willing to help their colleagues and company thrive in a great work environment.
Improving employee engagement benefits an organization in several ways. According to Gallup, high employee engagement reduces turnover by as much as 59%, improves decision-making and customer satisfaction, and increases profits by about 21%. These benefits are why a recent Harvard Business Review survey found that a majority of business owners felt higher levels of employee engagement were important to their success.
Employee engagement is closely correlated to employee experience, which is the wide range of perceptions and observations workers develop as they interact with an organization. Employee experience encompasses every interaction with their company, including relationships with coworkers and managers, experiences with technology and workspaces, and major milestones like yearly reviews.
Because the overall employee experience has a direct impact on how committed each employee is to the company’s mission and goals, a strong employee experience will tend to drive higher employee engagement. This in mind, employers who want to improve employee engagement should pay close attention to the digital and cultural environments that make up day-to-day employee experiences. By designing strategies to optimize the employee experience with better management and technology, a company will tend to see its employees be more engaged with their work.
To help employees be more engaged, human resources must engage with them to reinforce their value to the organization and give them a personal stake in its success. Some questions to measure employee engagement include: Do employees feel that their work is seen and important? Do employees know that they have opportunities to grow, and how to best pursue these goals? Do staff have the tools and technology to do their best work?
Best practices for to produce higher levels of employee engagement include:
Employees are more likely to be engaged when they believe their IT department is focused on helping them be productive. Technology is only one of the drivers of employee engagement, but deploying the right tools can help employees focus and do their best work. This makes it important to gain employee buy-in when evaluating new technology, because the more employees feel that their organization is listening to their needs and providing the right tools, the more likely they are to improve their engagement at work.
Ideally, technology to improve employee engagement should be simple, easy to use, and give employees everything they need in one digital workspace. By integrating all apps and tools in one workspace, this technology helps prevent distraction or wasting time searching for important information in disparate places. It is also helpful to deploy technology that gives employees the ability to work from anywhere, as this gives employees more choice over how they get their work done—helping them become a more engaged workforce.
To learn more about technology designed to drive employee engagement, see this glossary page on digital workspaces.