Employee engagement is a term that has a different meaning depending on who you ask. Some might say it means enthusiastic employees, whereas others are adamant that it means happy or satisfied employees.
In general, employee engagement describes people who are committed to their work and the goals and values of their company. To put it another way, engaged employees show up and are involved, not only because they’re paid to be, but because they’re invested, emotionally or otherwise.
An organization that supports and encourages employee engagement is going to do better overall. But that’s just one reason to nurture engaged employees. Here are five other, equally important, reasons why employee engagement is important.
5 reasons why employee engagement is important
1. Engaged employees boost productivity
Reports show that employees who are invested in their roles are more productive than those who aren’t. According to a Gallup poll, engaged employees are 21% more productive than their less engaged counterparts.
Writing in Forbes, Ann Latham explains:
“Engagement is, at best, a symptom of success. Employees who are succeeding and feeling good about their contributions to your company are naturally more likely to be proud to work for your company, be happy to come to work each day, and feel valued.”
Finding ways to engage your people, whether that means giving them a challenge or more responsibilities, means you’re also finding ways to boost your organization’s productivity. In short, it’s good for everyone involved.
2. Employee engagement increases customer satisfaction
People who are passionate about their work are often the best people to interact with your customers. Why? Because that passion is infectious and your customers will take notice.
The most engaged employees are, according to Quartz, “more inclined to put in the effort that translates into buzzing productivity levels, a happier sales force, and a more credible product pitch.” In other words, customers are treated to a better experience when dealing with engaged employees.
Those who believe in the value of helping customers, and also feel valued by their organization, are far more likely to deliver a better customer experience and increase satisfaction.
3. You’ll retain your best people
Engaged employees are involved and invested in their roles and are therefore less likely to leave their job. Sometimes your best people aren’t engaged—and you may risk losing them. Keeping them engaged is absolutely essential to keeping them at your organization doing their best work.
If your organization is dealing with low retention rates, it’s time to think about why they're not engaged, fast. Because when the best people at your organization leave, the rest of your people will notice. And you don’t want a domino effect.
4. Employee engagement enhances company culture
People who are engaged in what they do are, in general, easier to work with. And not because they’re happier or more cheery, either. It’s because they exemplify a culture of employee engagement.
What is a culture of employee engagement? According to Forbes, it’s a workplace that is “designed, first and foremost, around its company values.” Creating a culture of employee engagement requires “checking in with their employees to ensure that the company mission aligns with the ways that people currently work and the ways that they want to work.”
Ideally, engaged employees are living your company’s values every day at work, and being recognized across the organization for it. Celebrating your most engaged people is one step towards creating a culture of engagement.
5. Engagement is a symptom of success
As Ann Latham put it, engagement is a symptom of success. And this doesn’t necessarily mean a business success (or a successful business, for that matter). Rather, engagement is usually the result of a personal or team success.
In other words, engaged employees are engaged not because they’re productive or easy to work with, but because they feel their work matters. They feel valued. And when their successes are recognized, your people will feel like they’ve succeeded in making a meaningful impact at work.