The Evolution of Employee Engagement

The Evolution of Employee Engagement

A sound employee engagement strategy can be extremely beneficial for any organization.

There’s no question that there is a direct relationship between employee satisfaction and inclusive cultures that spur workplace engagement. To understand how you can boost employee engagement at your organization, you need to know what it is, what the benefits are, and the consequences of disengaged employees.

There are quite a few benefits of employee engagement, according to a Gallup study, including: 

  • 17% higher productivity 
  • 21% higher profitability 
  • Lower turnover 

This should come as no surprise. Employee engagement results in motivated employees who are committed to their jobs. 

Let’s dive into what employee engagement entails, how to implement it in your organization, and how it evolved. 

What is Employee Engagement?

First, let’s explain what exactly we’re talking about and how to definite employee engagement. 

Employee engagement is the description of high motivation and commitment levels of people as it relates to their jobs. People who work for an organization and take pride in their professions, and are passionate about their jobs are considered engaged employees. 

The concept of employee engagement is all about higher productivity levels from staff because employees have a stronger sense of commitment towards their jobs. They work harder because they take more pride in what they do and have a stronger sense of connection towards the organization they work for. 

When people are passionate about their jobs and have a strong connection to their place of business, they are less likely to leave their jobs. Why look for a new opportunity if you are passionate about the one you have? 

Engaged employees go above and beyond for their respective organizations because they are happy to do so. 

Management Drives Workplace Culture And Productivity

Your company’s leadership teams dictate employee engagement through company culture. 

They control company culture by making hiring decisions and by implementing communication practices such as one-on-ones and department meetings. 

There is a strong relationship between employee satisfaction and inclusive cultures.

Promoting a collaborative environment, allowing your employees to have their voices heard, and acknowledging employees for their great work are all drivers of engagement. 

Making an effort to build this type of company culture results in business outcomes improve organizational performance.

Your employees will go above and beyond their responsibilities at work and even become advocates for your brand whether it be word of mouth or on social media. 

There is a direct link between engagement and employee advocacy as they fuel each other along. 

An engaged employee is more likely to be an advocate for your brand, while an employee advocate is more likely to be more engaged at work and have a stronger connection to the organization. 

An employee advocate will extend your social reach and be a brand ambassador on social media. 

Understanding the history of employee engagement and how it has adapted employees into becoming an integral part of marketing is a great way for your company to get a firm grasp on what it means to truly foster an employee engagement program.

The History of Employee Engagement

Long before the term “employee engagement” made its way into journals around the early 1990s, it was all about Human Resources’ emphasis on employee satisfaction. This disconnected view alienated the employee’s support for the brand, severing the connection that a potentially engaged employee could have with the company. The relationship was muted, and while an employee could still leave at the end of the day with pride for his or her job, that support was never translated into an actionable means within the company setting.

Then, William A. Kahn wrote an article in a 1990 Academy of Management Journal describing employee engagement and disengagement and how individual and contextual sources of meaningfulness, safety, and availability had a significant impact on engagement. It was the first step towards connecting the commitment and support of the employee to the company, and the evolution of employee engagement was now underway.

Fast forward to the 2000s when brands started to more closely analyze the relationships they have as a brand with their employees and how that affects the efforts of the brand in their marketing tactics. Forced by an increase in competitiveness from other brands, companies were pushed to analyze what makes their company successful in the long run. With the increase in turnover rates as people started to follow their happiness rather than simply a steady job with money (regardless of whether or not they enjoyed that job), companies needed to understand what fostered a better, happier relationship with their staff.

Soon thereafter, two Prime Ministers from the UK showed their support and by encouraging employee engagement work through the development of the Engage for Success movement.

At the end of 2012, the Engage for Success group released a report nailing the business case evidence on employee engagement with the business benefits of performance, safety, profits, retention, wellbeing, etc.

The evolution of employee engagement, from creating happy employees to including engaged employees in marketing efforts, was a logical one. As tools were developed to measure employee engagement, we soon realized the connection between an engaged employee and one who was already participating in marketing efforts, albeit unconsciously. The engaged employee tends to have pride in their company and supports their business, and many of these folks then already promote their occupation and brand. It was simply a matter of harnessing these engaged employees as internal marketers.

Commitment To Employee Engagement 

Today, 39% of the U.S. workforce is considered engaged employees, according to Gallup

This means there’s quite an opportunity to improve employee engagement at the average workplace. 

A great way to measure employee engagement includes engagement surveys asking employees for their anonymous feedback about the company and how they feel about it. 

Now, there are also tools such as GaggleAMP that can help you identify the best-engaged employees to utilize for your marketing efforts.

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