Is “Engagement” Simply “Feel Good”?

In boardrooms I sometimes see glazed eyes when the topic of employee engagement is brought up. You can easily imagine the thoughts behind those looks. Really, isn’t this just the term-du-jour for employee satisfaction? For happy employees? The fluffy, feel-good stuff?

The Gallup organization recently published their 8th report on employee engagement. They studied 192 organizations with 1.4 million employees and, discouragingly, found that seven out of ten U.S. workers are mentally checked out – disengaged – from their work. The cost? A reported 22% lower productivity than organizations with high engagement. Which translates into about $500 billion of lost productivity every year for U.S. businesses.

So, is employee engagement simply the same as fluffy, feel-good? No, because happy and satisfied employees may not be productive employees. And you want employees who are both happy and productive. Employee engagement is a solid indicator of both. 

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