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Employee engagement – what is it?

What employee engagement is, and ways it might be measured

There are several definitions of employee engagement. However, it can be said that in broad terms, employee engagement brings together job satisfaction, motivation, work effort, organisational commitment, shared purpose, energy and ‘flow’.

In this way, employee engagement describes an internal state of being – physical, mental and emotional – and can also include behaviour, such as commitment and ‘going the extra mile’.

Gathering and measuring engagement

You may have come across employee attitude surveys or focus groups, employee boards and other ways in which engagement is recorded and measured. The advantage of a survey is that it provides a representative sample from across the whole organisation and scores can be tracked over time to see if actions are improving engagement. However, whether or not it is anonymous will have some influence on the way in which people respond.

Focus groups may have a similar challenge; however, by being open forums for discussion they allow organisations to get more qualitative data, and if necessary ask further questions to explore responses in more depth.

When measuring employee engagement by whichever means you choose, it is important that employees feel they can respond honestly without fear of repercussion, and that they feel any issues they raise will be responded to. This isn’t telling them that any reasons for dissatisfaction will necessarily be fixed, but that they will be heard and responded to.
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