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What, Really, Is Employee Engagement?

Posted Apr 30 2009 1:07pm

How do you define Employee Engagement?

It's easy to toss the phrase du jour around in meeting rooms and cubicles; but when it comes to commitment and action, there has to be a common understanding of what we're really talking about.

The more I watch Employee Engagement discussed, the more I realize that the people in the room are coming at it from different viewpoints.

Wakeup The Conference Board researched the issue of definition and came to the same conclusion: different studies reflected different definitions of Employee Engagement. So they came up with a "blended" definition and some key themes that represented all of the studies.

The definition of Employee Engagement:"a heightened emotional connection that an employee feels for his or her organization, that influences him or her to exert greater discretionary effort to his or her work".

That makes sense and is easily understood.

What I think is truly helpful to those involved in creating Employee Engagement is the Conference Board's synthesis of 8 key drivers of engagement. These offer concrete targets for development:

  • Trust and integrity – how well managers communicate and 'walk the talk'.

  • Nature of the job –Is it mentally stimulating day-to-day?

  • Line of sight between employee performance and company performance – Does the employee understand how their work contributes to the company's performance?

  • Career Growth opportunities –Are there future opportunities for growth?

  • Pride about the company – How much self-esteem does the employee feel by being associated with their company?

  • Coworkers/team member s – significantly influence one's level of engagement

  • Employee development – Is the company making an effort to develop the employee's skills?

  • Relationship with one's manager – Does the employee value his or her relationship with his or her manager?

What Do You Think?

For those of us who have to turn theory into practice, I like simple and concise one-liners that can lead to purposeful action.

How do you define Employee Engagement?

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But there's more!

The ever-growingEmployee Engagement Networkbegun by my friendDavid Zingeris a vibrant source--and discussion--of all things EE. If you haven't found it already, have a read...you'll want to join in once you get there.

Engagement by Mom: Wally Bockshows just how smart moms really are when it comes to keeping their kids engaged.

Reminder: Joinme at 1 p.m. Eastern Time on May 12th atPerformance Management Practices that Boost Employee EngagementHR Leader Kathy Anthony, of O’Sullivan Creel and I will tie together the software and people process elements of effective performance management and engagement. You can sign up here for free. The event is hosted by HR.COM and sponsored by Halogen Software.

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