The Definition of Employee Engagement

by Sharlyn Lauby on June 11, 2013

We all know what employee engagement means, right? The term is tossed around like salad dressing. There are numerous articles and infographics on the subject. But if someone asked you to describe employee engagement in a single sentence, what would you say?

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Mr. Bartender and I were having this discussion recently. So I was really challenged to figure out how to define employee engagement in a single sentence. We talk about it in terms of outcomes like high productivity and better profits. We also like to mention it in relation to enhanced manager – employee communications. Those are all important but it really doesn’t articulate what employee engagement is. Then, thanks to Rory Trotter over at Something Different HR, I think I found it.

Employee engagement lies at intersection of maximum contribution for the business and maximum satisfaction for employees. It’s a sustainable level of high performance that benefits both the company and the employee.

Okay, it’s two sentences. But it works. Kudos to BlessingWhite and this video titled, “The ‘X’ Model of Employee Engagement”. They do a very nice job of explaining engagement in a succinct manner.

Sometimes I wonder if the reason companies are having so much difficulty with employee engagement is because they are operating with a vague definition. They know it’s important but can’t get their arms around it. The first step to solving any challenge is being able to define it.

What do you think of this definition? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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