What Employee Engagement Is Not

Most business leaders know that employee engagement is important to success, but what is employee engagement? The concept is not that easy to get one’s arms around, but for a start, it helps to know what employee engagement is not.

Learn what appears at first glance to be employee engagement, but is not, and you are better prepared to answer the “What is employee engagement?” question. Better still,  you will learn how to increase employee engagement and reap the benefits.

Employee Engagement Is Not Motivation

Motivation is energy that is focused on accomplishing some productive action. For example, when the weather warms up and it looks like winter is over, many people feel motivated to tackle spring cleaning jobs. Motivation is more than just enthusiasm because motivation gets results. It is about driving behavior to both increase satisfaction and decrease dissatisfaction.

However, motivation is not engagement. A person can be highly motivated to accomplish something in which they will not actually be fully engaged. You might be motivated to pick up sticks and branches in the yard so that you can mow it, but that does not mean you are fully engaged in picking up sticks and branches. Motivation tends to be future-oriented, while engagement is present-oriented.

Employee Engagement Is Not Satisfaction

Job satisfaction and employee engagement may appear interchangeable, but they are not. Job satisfaction is an employee’s contentment that he or she has a good thing going. Maybe they get paid for something that is easy or does not require a lot of time. That can be satisfying, but it is not necessarily engaging.

Engagement goes a step beyond, where an employee has that basis of feeling they are being compensated fairly, but beyond that, they actually gain enjoyment from the nuts and bolts of actually doing the job, whether it is making pizza, suturing wounds, or installing plumbing. If you are engaged with your work, you are satisfied, but it is entirely possible to have job satisfaction without being engaged in the work.

Employee engagement

Employee Engagement Is Not Happiness

Employee happiness may or may not have to do with being engaged with work. In fact, a person can hate their job, yet still feel perfectly happy at it, because of totally non-work-related reasons. Maybe they picked a winning scratch-off card when buying their morning coffee, or perhaps their best friend is visiting from out of town.

By the same token, a person who is engaged in their work generally has a baseline level of happiness, but their satisfaction from engaged work production may be a completely different kind of happiness than that which comes from playing with a puppy or going on vacation, for example.

The Whys and Hows of Improving Employee Engagement

Most employers want their employees to be happy and motivated, and they do not want them to feel as if they are being unfairly compensated. By addressing employee engagement, however, they can indirectly address happiness, motivation, and satisfaction as well. Employee engagement is important because it results in higher productivity, greater earnings, and lower employee turnover, all of which are good for motivation, satisfaction, and happiness.

The employee engagement app is a tool that more employers are using to assist with employee engagement, through relevant content, easy communications, solicitation of feedback, and provision of training opportunities. Answering the question of “What is employee engagement?” and then committing to improving and managing it effectively can be one of the most important things a leader can do for their company. Did you know you can try the hubEngage app for free? Do so and you will quickly see for yourself what employee engagement really is, and how it benefits your company.


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