What is employee engagement?

Employees are “engaged” when they:
1.    know what is expected of them at work.
2.    have the materials and equipment they need to do their work right.
3.    have the opportunity to do what they do best every day.
4.    receive recognition or praise for doing good work (every seven days).
5.    have a supervisor or someone at work who seems to care about them as a person.
6.    have someone at work who encourages their development.
7.    believe their opinions count at work.
8.    believe the mission or purpose of their company makes them feel their job is important.
9.    think that their fellow associates or employees are committed to doing quality work.
10.    have a best friend at work.
11.    have someone who , in the last six months, talks to them about their progress.
12.    have opportunities at work to learn and grow.

From Marj Barlow, Consultant:
The key to building a Strengths-Based Culture lies in the positive development of those people who work at Interface.  When each employee can know what they do well, and has a chance to do it every day, with a manager who sees and acknowledges the good work, then the whole organization takes a turn upward on the spiral of growth into becoming a fully engaged work force.  It really is true that employee engagement fosters customer engagement, which brings increases in sales and ultimately, increases in stock price.

Employee engagement includes but is not limited to motivation, enthusiasm, positive attitude, presence, optimism, self assurance, personal development and competence.

From the book, “The Elements of Great Managing”
by Wagner and Harter:

Identifying the mechanisms through which employee engagement is increased and translated into profits required a tremendous amount of research.  More than a decade ago, The Gallup Organization took a broad view of how companies were managing their people and determined that most organizations were shooting in the dark.  Typical business processes included long cumbersome surveys, based on false assumptions.  Most executives assumed there was a general level of “satisfaction” that pretty much applied throughout the company, and that they (the senior team) were the main drivers of their employees’ feelings about the company.  It turns out that this is a wrong assumption.

Gallup examined and analyzed over 1 million employee interviews in their database to explain which aspects of work were most powerful in explaining workers’ productive motivations on the job.  Ultimately, 12 elements of work life emerged as the core of the unwritten social contract between employee and employer.  The Q-12 process emerged as the best way to measure employee engagement.

Q-12 Impact planning at Interface is designed to make the most of the data gathered.  Each employee is invited to report their honest evaluation of each of the twelve elements, revealing that individual employee’s basic engagement level.

Through their answers to the dozen most important questions and their daily actions that affects performance, the employees are saying,  “If you do these things for us, we will do what the company needs of us.”