By Bob Nelson

Some say that employee engagement is simply the use of discretionary effort by employees. Others say it’s all about employee connection or productivity or retention. Still others say that it’s simply a score on a survey. Employee engagement is the alignment of individual and organizational goals and values to better drive business results.

Engagement leads to productivity

As human resources consulting company Towers Watson has noted, “Four out of every five workers are not delivering their full potential to help their organizations succeed.” A big reason for that is that workers aren’t fully engaged. According to the Gallup Organization, when you compare nonengaged employees to highly engaged ones, you see that the highly engaged employees are

  • 27 percent less prone to absenteeism

  • 62 percent less likely to be involved in job accidents

  • 51 percent less likely to leave their jobs

  • 31 percent less likely to leave in high-turnover organizations

Organizations that make employee engagement a priority see increased organizational productivity, flexibility, and employee retention. Productivity doesn’t depend on the number of hours someone spends at work; what really matters is how engaged your employees are during those hours. Employees who are engaged in their work have a greater desire to work harder and are thus more productive.

Engagement creates trust

Most organizations need greater flexibility and agility to handle a changing competitive landscape. Employee engagement creates trust between the organization and its employees so that employees are more apt to be flexible and adapt to changing business circumstances and needs.

Sixty-five percent of hires in a recent year were contingent employees, that is, part-time or project-based workers. This trend is projected to represent 30 to 50 percent of the workforce in the future. In addition, 75 percent of all current organizations have employees who work remotely, and 45 percent of companies anticipate increasing that number.

This increase in independent workers is forcing organizations to consider how best to manage both full-time and contingent workers within the same organization. Regardless of how their work is structured, organizations will continue to need workers who are engaged and dedicated to do their best to meet or exceed the needs and expectations of their jobs.

Engagement helps you retain top talent

As the U.S. economy continues to improve, and as current employees seek new job opportunities, holding on to talent will be critical, and doing so can have a major impact on the success of any organization. Engaged employees are more likely to stay longer in their jobs and bring resilience to their organizations. Top employees who are truly engaged remain more committed to staying in their organizations and are less willing to seek other opportunities.