Employee Engagement is concerned with the level of emotional preparedness and commitment an individual has towards organisational objectives, mission and vision, and how they see and interpret these factors in their own personal lives within the organisation and outside. In other words, employee engagement is about how motivated and inspired your employees are – to what extent do they espouse, believe and live shared corporate values.

Different studies often show that organisations with high levels of employee engagement achieve high levels of satisfied customers and productivity than those organisations who do not do anything about employee engagement. It is often easy to work towards set target and meet score cards for those managers who take employee engagement seriously.

Intentional corporate investment in employee engagement initiatives will turn your workforce to be more efficient and effective with a unified focus on organisational goals. They will take heightened pride in their company and become organisational ambassadors, creating positive perceptions about their organisation in their industry and beyond.

A recent study on Employee Engagement in South Africa further shows that an engaged workforce:
1. “Is emotionally and functionally connected to their organisation”
2. “Is positively and proactively contributing to its success”
3. “become innovative and problem solvers”
4. “contribute massively towards increases in productivity and profitability of their companies.”

In that study, a comparison was made with the current situation in the UK and US with regard to levels of employee engagement. The study reports the following:

UK – only 33% of the workforce felt they were actively engaged in their organisations. The study further found that 20 million workers in the UK were not delivering to their full capacity, and 64% felt that they could do better if they were given a chance by their organisations. It is further estimated that the annual cost of disengaged employees to the UK economy is $64.8 billion.

USA – This study reports that approximately 100 million people hold full time jobs in the US. Only 30% are reported to be actively engaged and inspired about their jobs. 50% are disengaged and 20% are not engaged.

SA – Only, only 9% are highly engaged and inspired of their jobs (See Maslow Engagement Diagram above) and a further 46% accounts for those almost engaged to the engaged workforce – but not necessarily inspired about their jobs.The remainder (45%) of the workforce is totally either not engaged or disengaged.
If this is the situation then it is a great concern – considering the potential effects this has on the economy. It is further important to know that 85% of employees in South Africa believe their motivation and performance would be higher if their worked for organisations that view engagement as of prime importance.


HIGHLY ENGAGED EMPLOYEES – See themselves and the organisational leadership as one. They view the organisation as a place to learn, grow and be effective. They take pride in their organisation and are inspired. They also view their organisation as a best company to work for – they are organisational ambassadors!

ENGAGED EMPLOYEES – They realise the impact they make to the organisation – they love their organisation but are not necessarily proud of it. They feel that the company is a place to make them attractive prospects/candidates to other organisations. They doubt growth potentials within the organisation – generally, they are not convinced of a stable future in the organisation.

ALMOST ENGAGED EMPLOYEES – they are trying to ascertain if they are treated as “really” belonging to the organisation. They are still trying to find themselves in the organisation. They do want to be part of the organisation but they are not sure how their managers in particular and the organisational leadership in general views them – as such they don’t really love the organisation and are certainly not proud of it.

DISENGAGED EMPLOYEES – These employees are concerned about their job security. They probably were at Almost Engaged and something happened with organisational culture that changed their perceptions. Right now they don’t know where the organisation is going – they don’t know anything about the organisational goals and are not even sure whether targets are met or not. Communication between them and organisational leadership is not effective at all.

NOT- ENGAGED EMPLOYEES – Almost similar as above in 4 except that they were never engaged before. They are only here for their pay cheque – period. They really don’t care about the organisation, its customers and its leadership.

Let me leave you with 5 key questions to ponder:

1. Based on the research findings reported in this discussion, where do you think your organisation is? Are your employees engaged or not?
2. How will your organisation attract and retain the best talent in 2017 going forward?
3. What will happen when your best talent leave?
4. Does your organisation focus on Profits, Processes and People equally?
5. Have you put employee engagement as one of your initiatives to enhance productivity in 2017?

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