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News, tips, and advice for small business owners

Understanding Employee Engagement

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Stephanie Davis

Employee engagement can be tricky to measure. Some people think that money is the biggest factor involved, while others turn to workplace benefits and culture.

Blocks with different emotions on them.

To kick things off, in our first post on employee engagement, we are going to further explore what employee engagement is, and isn’t, along with the causes of disengagement, so you can begin evaluating the employees at your small business.

Understanding Employee Engagement

When an employee is engaged, they tend to think along the lines of:

  • “I’m excited to go to work today”
  • “I’m looking forward to seeing my team and working together with them”
  • “I know what my role in this organization is and I want to contribute to the success of the organization”

When an employee isn’t engaged, as you can guess, their thinking doesn’t align with these positive statements. They may be bored, confused about how their role brings in any value, and just uninspired by what they are working on. In a 2015 survey by Gallup, it was discovered that only 32% of workers were engaged in their work. For the Gallup survey, they categorized engaged workers based on responses to important workplace conditions, such as those who had the opportunity to do what they want each day or has someone in the office who takes their development and opinions into account.

Another thing to keep in mind, even though employees may be satisfied with their jobs or overall happy, this does not automatically mean they are engaged. Often times, companies will create surveys about employee satisfaction and happiness, and while employees may be content with their job and showing up to work every day, that doesn’t mean they are putting in their best work. 

What causes disengagement?

Based on the Gallup survey, the majority of people surveyed are disengaged workers. How did this happen? An article from Forbes says the number one reason for employee disengagement is the relationship between employee and manager. If this relationship isn’t positive, chances are employees are more likely to be disengaged. An article from LinkedIn touches on a similar point, stating that an employee finds a manager to be the worst or most stressful part of a job. Besides kicking off with that, the article lists three other reasons why employees are disengaged; they don’t fit the company culture, they aren’t taking charge of their own career, and they feel undervalued. Think about it – these reasons make sense. Think of how many entrepreneurs go into business strictly for the fact that they can be their own boss. Additionally, if you held any type of job before striking out on your own, you may relate to these examples, and even if you haven’t, likely heard a story from somebody dealing with these struggles.

Next Steps

Now that you understand what engagement is, and what causes disengagement, you’re ready to find out the answer to the money question on everyone’s mind – does salary make a difference in employee engagement?

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