Talent Connection Blog

Forbes.com defines employee engagement as “the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals. This means that your employees should care about their company and their specific role in the company. Now, here is a more in-depth description of the true essence of employee engagement, courtesy of Kevin Kruse, a contributor for Forbes.com.

In his article, Kruse first acknowledges a good point—what employee engagement is not. Be sure not to misread these signs as effective employee engagement.

What employee engagement is not:

  • Employee happiness- Just because an employee is happy at work does not necessarily mean they are working their hardest. Don’t completely ditch the idea of employee happiness though—it isn’t the same as engagement, but it is still important in a healthy, effective work environment.
  • Employee satisfaction– The word “satisfaction” implies “acceptable,” when what you need is “extraordinary.” A satisfied employee will most likely abide by their responsibilities and the structure of the company, but they are unlikely to go the extra mile on their own.

The distinction between merely happy or engaged, or satisfied or engaged is this: discretionary effort.

Discretionary effort is that extra boost that leads to an employee going the extra mile on their own, rather than because they are told to do so or because they are trying to impress their manager.

According to Kruse, engaged employees lead to higher quality service, higher customer satisfaction, increased sales, and higher levels of profit. For that much in return, pinpointing and developing that discretionary effort is a minor effort.

As former Campbell’s Soup CEO, Doug Conant, once said, “To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.”