Employee engagement is often a key measure of effectiveness for both organizations and leaders. Statistical evidence and data prove that high levels of engagement correlate to the increased overall performance of a company, which elevates the importance of this issue for leaders. If your firm is in the process of leading change right now, a focus on engagement will help drive success as it transforms to a new state.
In the current business environment, with firms directing precious resources towards innovation and digital transformation, among other priorities, employee engagement remains a constant challenge. A recent Gallup poll found that nearly 87% of employees are not engaged at work, which prompts the following questions:
- Just what is employee engagement?
- How does burnout at work contribute to engagement? And finally,
- What can organizations and leaders do to make effective improvements in this area?
In this three-part blog series, we’ll explore each of these topics in more depth.
Employee engagement is not easy to define since human motivation and behaviors are complex. It may be described, however, as an employee’s commitment and willingness to give their best at work to realize company objectives. Yet many factors, such as varying organizational cultures and languages, and differing levels of individual satisfaction and happiness, add to the complexity of the definition.
Further complicating the issue is the fact that key drivers of employee engagement can be a challenge to establish. The following list includes, but is not limited to, accepted drivers of employee engagement:
- Employee trust in management;
- Clear communication of expectations to employees;
- Challenges that stimulate employee interest and development;
- Career growth opportunities;
- Alignment of employee and company performance;
- Employee recognition and rewards programs;
- The level of employee respect for the employer and its brand;
- How well leaders listen to their employees; and
- Whether the culture emphasizes individual responsibility and employee empowerment.
Additionally, organizational stability has been correlated with employee and team productivity and engagement. Marla Gottschalk, author of a recent article in Harvard Business Review, suggests that firms “…look inward and first consider the psychological constructs that contribute to stability within the work environment.” She asserts that “Identifying the issues that are preventing an employee from feeling psychologically supported at work will go a long way toward helping your most valued employees to move forward confidently and do their best work yet.”
For leaders driving change, this is an important insight. How can you continue to evolve your organization while creating a sense of stability? At Capacity Group, we work with leaders and teams to help them do both.
One strategy to create stability is to establish interim structures that keep people informed, as well as a sense of continuity through relationships and information sharing. Another strategy, for leaders, is to let your team know what isn’t changing. During times of leading change, it’s so easy for leaders to be consumed by the work. Taking time to connect, affirming what’s staying the same, and appreciating your team can help bring a sense of stability to the environment.
For more information, or to continue the discussion on engagement, feel free to contact Marcella Bayer at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Megan Staczek at email@example.com. Please also look for the second and third blog posts in this series in which we’ll look at factors contributing to burnout at work, as well as what leaders and organizations can do to effect meaningful change in the area of employee engagement.
 Thompson, Derek. Workism is Making Americans Miserable.” The Atlantic. February 24, 2019.
 Gottschalk, Marla. “If You Want Engaged Employees, Offer them Stability.” Harvard Business Review. August 15, 2019, https://hbr.org/2019/08/if-you-want-engaged-employees-offer-them-stability