The Importance of Being Engaged in Life

Have you ever thought about how we all live different lives – private, corporate, study, retirement – but in reality, we all share the same planet and the same life? Our actions and emotions affect each other, whether we realise it or not.

Think about the people you encounter in your daily life. The girl who serves you coffee in the morning or the taxi driver who greets you. How do they make you feel? Now, think about yourself. What kind of energy do you bring home from work? Do you feel fulfilled and purposeful, or are you constantly tired and uninspired?

This feeling of engagement extends beyond just work. It’s about how willingly you participate in life and relationships. It’s the enthusiasm with which your heart beats, influencing not only your work but also your personal life and the lives of those around you.

Employee Engagement and Life Engagement

Employee engagement isn’t just a concern for businesses and managers. It’s about finding meaning and value in your work, feeling appreciated, passionate, and recognized for who you are. When you’re engaged at work, you become a happier person, both physically and mentally. These are the kind of people the world needs – individuals who strive to add value to everything they do and positively impact others.

When you’re engaged, the effect is far-reaching. From the person who serves you coffee to the scientist studying whales in the Arctic, their engagement spreads positivity and enthusiasm. This kind of engagement, whether in the workplace or in life, has the power to save the world.

So, let’s forget what we know and change our perspective. Finding purpose and value in our work and lives not only makes us happier but also has a ripple effect, making the world a better place for everyone.

Understanding Employee Engagement

Employee engagement can mean different things to different people. It’s about how employees connect with their work and their organisation. Let’s take a look at some different definitions of employee engagement:

  • William Kahn, in 1990, described it as the “harnessing of organisation members’ selves to their work roles,” where people fully invest and express themselves physically, cognitively, and emotionally during their work.
  • Wikipedia defines it as a property of the relationship between an organisation and its employees. An engaged employee is fully absorbed by and enthusiastic about their work, taking positive actions to further the organisation’s reputation and interests.
  • Simon Sinek, the author of “Start with Why,” explains employee engagement as when people are emotionally invested in their work, they want to contribute, not just for financial gain.
  • Quantum Workplace sees it as the strength of the mental and emotional connection employees feel toward their workplaces.
  • Gallup defines engaged employees as those who are involved in, enthusiastic about, and committed to their work and workplace.
  • Willis Towers Watson describes it as employees’ willingness and ability to contribute to company success.
  • Aon Hewitt defines it as the level of an employee’s psychological investment in their organisation.
  • According to Kevin Kruse from Forbes.com, employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organisation and its goals.

So, employee engagement is about how employees connect with their work, their organisation, and their roles. It’s not just about doing the job; it’s about being emotionally invested and committed to contributing to the organisation’s success.

Gallup’s Latest State of the Global Workplace 2023 Report

According to Gallup’s latest report, only 23% of employees worldwide are engaged at work. This low level of engagement isn’t just bad for employees; it’s also terrible for businesses and the global economy. In fact, Gallup’s research shows that the lack of employee engagement costs the global economy $7.8 trillion, which is 11% of the GDP.

Gallup describes the global situation as “stable but not great,” which is quite optimistic, but in our opinion, it’s a mildly positive comment. This shows that there’s room for improvement in employee engagement globally.

Top 5 Causes of Low Employee Engagement

Increasing employee engagement is a primary goal for organisations worldwide. However, achieving high employee engagement can be challenging without the right strategy in place. Here are the top 5 causes of low employee engagement:

  1. Poor Leadership

Low employee engagement, high turnover, and low productivity are often linked to poor leadership. This is a long-standing issue that affects employee engagement.

  1. Lack of Purpose, Meaning, or Connection

Employees who feel connected to their organisation tend to work harder and stay longer. Alignment in meaning and purpose is a tremendous source of engagement. Disengaged employees are the ones that don’t feel like their contribution drives business growth and success.

  1. Lack of Feedback

When employees receive little or no feedback, their engagement decreases. Feedback is crucial for motivating employees to achieve their goals.

  1. Lack of Interest in Employee Well-being

Employees are leaving for workplaces that show genuine concern for their well-being. High well-being enhances engagement and performance, while neglecting well-being can decrease engagement.

  1. Unsatisfactory Pay and Benefits

Fair compensation is important to employees, even though it’s not the sole driver of engagement. It is a fundamental factor that needs to be met for employees to progress and become more engaged.

Other common causes of low engagement

  • Inability to grow careers
  • Lack of communication, trust, and
  • transparency
  • Misalignment with company’s goals
  • Lack of rewards and recognition
  • Lack of necessary resource
  • Stagnation
  • Minimal Training and Development
  • Limited Teamwork and Collaboration
  • Apathy
  • Lack of Flexibility
  • Stressful work environment
  • The organisation fails to adapt to change

 

Traits of Engaged and Disengaged Employees –

Understanding the difference between engaged and disengaged employees is crucial for creating a productive and positive work environment. Let’s have a look to different employees with different perspective:

Engaged Employee Traits:

  • Despite challenges, engaged employees don’t use problems as an excuse for inaction or let them affect their performance.
  • They focus on their strengths and actively seek ways to operate at their best, rather than spending time on tasks that don’t come naturally to them.
  • Engaged employees take responsibility for their performance and don’t blame others when things don’t go as planned.
  • Engaged employees collaborate with others to achieve common goals and solve problems effectively.

Disengaged Employee Traits:

  • They may use challenges as an excuse for inaction, letting problems affect their performance.
  • They may struggle to focus on their strengths and may not take proactive steps to improve their engagement.
  • They may tend to blame others for their performance instead of taking accountability for their actions.
  • They may show signs of disinterest in their work and lack motivation to perform well.
  • Disengaged employees may exhibit negative attitudes towards colleagues and work-related tasks.

These traits highlight the differences between engaged and disengaged employees and the impact of their mindset on their performance at work.

Benefits of Engaged Employees at Work

Engaged employees make it a point to show up to work and do more work – highly engaged business units realise an 81% difference in absenteeism and a 14% difference in productivity.

Highly engaged business units achieve a 10% difference in customer ratings and an 18% difference in sales. The behaviours of highly engaged business units result in a 23% difference in profitability.

When employees are engaged at work, they are more likely to be consistently productive, leading to a higher performing workforce.

Here are the key benefits of engaged employees:

  1. Consistent Productivity: Engaged employees tend to be consistently productive, contributing to a high-performing workforce.
  2. Reduced Burnout and Mental Health Issues: Highly engaged employees show signs of progress and are less prone to burnout, mental health issues, and disinterest.
  3. Increased Innovation: Engaged employees are innovative and proactive, often having ideas to improve their work and the workplace.
  4. Enhanced Collaboration and Enthusiasm: The collaborative and enthusiastic nature of engaged employees allows them to effectively achieve workplace goals, thereby increasing overall workplace productivity.

A highly engaged employee shows the signs of progress because they are getting increasingly involved in their work. This in turn reduces cases of burn-out, mental health issues, disinterest, etc.

Companies with Engaged workforce creates:

  • 10% Higher Customer Engagement
  • 17% Higher Productivity
  • 20% Higher Sales
  • 21% Higher Profitability
  • 23% Higher Customer Loyalty/Engagement.
  • 58% Less Safety Incidents
  • 81% Less Absenteeism
  • 43% Less Turnover for low turnover organisations
  • 18% Less Turnover for high turnover organisations
  • 41% Less Quality Defects

Who’s Responsible for Employee Engagement?

According to research, 70% of a team’s engagement is related to management. This indicates that managers have a significant responsibility for employee engagement. However, it’s important to note that employee engagement is not solely the responsibility of HR and management. It’s a joint effort.

Here’s a breakdown of key responsibilities:

  1. Managers’ Role: Managers control the organisational environment and culture, setting a framework for employees to succeed and thrive.
  1. Work Environment: Individuals’ engagement is made much easier when they have an environment, the necessary knowledge and tools available as engaging as possible. This is everyone’s responsibility. Employee engagement is closely linked with team building, and engagement will automatically increase when employees are connected with their teammates. Therefore, you should review your selection and placement processes and discover the method that will reach the most suitable candidate for the job, workplace and team.
  2. Recruiting methods: Employee engagement is influenced by recruiting methods and team building. To boost engagement, have a look at your selection and placement processes to connect employees with the right team.
  3. Organisational Culture: Organisational culture affects both employees and managers. If the culture doesn’t foster employee engagement, a cultural change may be necessary. Sometimes a culture barrier comes in the way of employee engagement. No matter how hard professional managers try, the company’s established culture makes it difficult to create employee engagement. Just because everyone seems happy, or the company’s turnover rates are low does not indicate high employee engagement.

In summary, while managers hold a significant responsibility for employee engagement, it’s a collective effort involving managers, employees, recruiting methods, and organisational culture. Creating a supportive environment and fostering connections among employees are crucial for enhancing employee engagement.

FAQs: Frequently Asked Question

      1. What does “Employee Engagement” mean?

      Employee Engagement means that employees are emotionally committed to their work and the goals of their organisation. It involves investing mentally, emotionally, and physically.

      2. What are the main reasons for employees feeling unengaged at work?

      Some of the main reasons for low employee engagement are poor leadership. Feeling disconnected from the work, not getting enough feedback, not being taken care of by the company, and not being satisfied with pay and benefits.

      3. What are the differences between engaged and disengaged employees?

      Engaged employees take responsibility, focus on their strengths, and actively contribute to work. They tend to prioritise personal and professional growth, actively seeking opportunities for development and advancement. They are eager to learn new skills and acquire knowledge that enhances their performance and contributes to the success of the organisation. This proactive approach not only benefits the individual but also fosters a culture of continuous improvement within the workplace.

      In contrast, disengaged employees may not take part in activities as much. They often exhibit a lack of enthusiasm and motivation towards their work. They may display a passive attitude, merely going through the motions without investing much effort or passion. Instead of taking initiative, they may wait for instructions or guidance, contributing to a stagnant work environment.

      4. What are the positive impacts that reflect when employees are engaged at work?

      When employees are engaged, they work more consistently, feel less stressed, come up with new ideas, and work together better with more excitement.

      5. Who is responsible for making sure employees are engaged at work?

      Managers play a significant role. However, it is a collaborative effort involving not only managers, but also employees, the work environment, recruiting methods, and organisational culture.

      6. What are the top five causes of low employee engagement in the workplace?

      The top five causes of low employee engagement typically include poor leadership, lack of recognition, limited opportunities for growth and development, inadequate work-life balance, and a toxic work environment. Addressing these issues is crucial for improving employee engagement and overall organisational success.

      7. How can fostering employee engagement contribute to a positive workplace culture?

      By prioritising employee engagement, organisations create an environment where employees feel valued, respected, and motivated to excel. This positive culture fosters collaboration, innovation, and a sense of belonging, leading to higher levels of job satisfaction and overall happiness among employees.