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Employee Engagement: What is it actually?

What is employee engagement? Employee engagement is a managers secret weapon. Find out why managers should care if their team is engaged.

Betsy Jacobs
Betsy Jacobs

Apr 12, 2021

What is employee engagement?

Managing teams can often feel more like guesswork and less like leading, trust us, we get it. However, there are signals employees show that communicate if they are engaged at work (even if your employees are remote). And we all know what engagement at work means, right? If you don’t or if you’re simply curious, check out this week’s Management That Matters clip with Anna Magnusson—Organisational Psychologist for HappyTeams who teaches us what employee engagement actually is, why you should care about it, and how to spot it in your team.

Are you leading a remote team? Check out these 3 Tips To Managing A Remote Team Well.

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS: Employee engagement is more than a team member who clocks in and does the job they are getting paid to perform. As Anna mentions in the Management That Matters clip, the employee engagement definition is more about how much an employee is emotionally committed towards not only their team’s goals but their organization as a whole. In other words, an engaged employee cares about the contribution they are making in their work and desires to drive positive change throughout their organization.

Does employee engagement lead to better performance?

Naturally a manager of an engaged employee will see an increase in performance, but engagement in the workplace has more to do with what those who study the science of employee wellbeing call Organisational Citizenship Behavior. Organisational Citizenship Behavior, simply put, is when a team member goes above and beyond in their job role. 

Examples of employee engagement:

  • An employee who doesn’t disengage from work though they are in disagreement with leadership decisions
  • A team member who is encouraging to fellow employees and/or highlights the success of others
  • An engaged employee will look for ways to empower the team as a whole through collaborative strategizing or developing efficient processes
  • They speak highly of your team/organization on social channels or with other supervisors or colleagues

Do leaders need to measure team engagement?

If you’re a leader worth your salt, then you already know employee engagement matters. An employee who is engaged has the power to motivate positive change, lead team wins, and increase overall team wellbeing. In other words, other employees clock in just to be around them. Why? Because an engaged employee cares…about the job, about the challenge…about the team.

Managers, the engaged employee is your secret weapon to a happy team, and measuring engagement across your team as well as throughout your organization is a powerful practice. However, don’t wait till the end of a quarter or the end of a fiscal year to measure if your team was engaged, take the pulse of your team daily to see if your leadership/management style is actively developing engaged employees in real time.

Are you managing a team or have an employee that goes above and beyond what they’re asked to do? What impact does it have on overall team morale?
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