In today’s economy, chances are that you’ve worked many different jobs and in many different workplaces, some of which have been more engaging than others. Employee engagement has been linked to an organization’s productivity, innovation, and performance measures, as well as employee satisfaction and reduced turnover (Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, 2013).
What is employee engagement?
“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
For one, employee engagement is different from simply being “happy” at work, according to Gallup’s CEO Jim Clifton (Crowley, 2014). Clifton argues that fun perks and free food for employees do little in the way of keeping employees truly happy and engaged. Employee engagement is the idea that employees find value and purpose in the work they are doing, that their job matches their strengths, and that their employer cares about their development (Crowley, 2014). An engaged employee is one who cares about their work, which can result in a desire to improve the workplace or innovate and stay connected with the outcome of their work (Morgan, 2015)
Are you engaged at work?
Hannah Morgan, a writer at US News Careers, lists 12 true-false statements based on Gallup’s employee engagement assessment that can be used to assess whether you are engaged at work. (Morgan, 2015).
1. I know what is expected of me at work.
2. I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.
3. At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
4. In the past seven days, I have received recognition or praise for good work.
5. My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
6. There is someone at work who encourages my development.
7. At work, my opinions seem to count.
8. The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.
9. My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
10. I have a best friend at work.
11. In the past six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.
12. In the past year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.
How can you increase engagement?
For those who are very disengaged in their work or are in unsupportive environments, a new job or position might be the right decision for them. However for others, the statements where they have answered “no” can be a starting point to increase engagement. Here are some strategies you can try:
- Talk to your supervisor and coworkers about expectations, advocate for tools/resources that you need, or where your strengths lie and how to best utilize them.
- Try opening up with coworkers and showing an interest in them. This leads to friendships, opportunities for mentorship and learning, as well as having that person in the office who cares about you.
- If workplace culture doesn’t allow for feedback or praise or asking for opinions, you can start the trend by giving feedback, encouragement/praise, or asking others for their opinions.
- Seek new opportunities within the company – volunteer or get involved in other initiatives. Although the company mission may not have changed, your perception of its value may improve!
Are you engaged in your work? What strategies do you use? Let us know in the comments below!
Crowley, M. (September 30, 2014). Why Being Engaged At Work Isn't As Simple As Being Happy. https://www.fastcompany.com/3036399/the-future-of-work/why-being-engaged-at-work-isnt-as-simple-as-being-happy
Harvard Business Review Analytic Services (2013). The Impact of Employee Engagement on Performance. Harvard Business School Publishing. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/resources/pdfs/comm/achievers/hbr_achievers_report_sep13.pdf
Morgan, H. (April 22, 2015). 12 Ways To Be An Engaged Employee. Retrieved from http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2015/04/22/12-ways-to-be-an-engaged-employee