Have you ever wondered about the differences between individuals who always seem to have a reason that something cannot be done, and those who seem to find a way to get even the most difficult of tasks accomplished? Who are those talented professionals who spend their time making a list of obstacles, resource constraints, and inhibitors, and those who spend their time figuring out ways around those barriers? Some early writers characterized this “can-do” attitude under the heading of “job maturity,” and described the employees as having a strong work ethic. Today, researchers and students of organizational behavior characterize this kind of comportment as “employee engagement.”
What is Employee Engagement?
Kruze (2012) describes employee engagement as “the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals.” He goes on to declare that engaged employees are those who are willing to use their discretionary effort. This discretionary effort can take the form of working past the designated stop time, or doing work outside one’s job description to ensure, for example, that the workplace is presentable or that a project is completed on time.
Engaged employees are identifiable at every level of responsibility and in every business discipline. They are not restricted by nationality, gender, or age group. They are, however, generally present among employees who are a “great fit” for their work assignments. Engaged employees are typically those who can easily meet the mental demands of the job, whose work styles and behaviors are consistent with the job requirements, and whose job interests coincide with the tasks that accompany their job responsibilities. Engagement is stimulated by opportunities that foster growth and development, situations that drive accountability, and reward systems that recognize achievement.
Engaged employees almost always outperform disengaged employees. Their skills and talents are surpassed by their commitment to the organization, its mission, and the roles they play in achieving that mission. Kruze’s recorded findings from 28 studies of organizations suggested that companies with a high percentage of engaged workers reaped the benefits of higher productivity, stronger customer satisfaction, and greater profitability. Top-performing employees are “engaged employees” who are generally self-directed, self-motivated, and flourish best in an environment that capitalizes on their “fit” for the organization and the assignment.