Employee engagement is an overused phrase. Many leaders don’t even really know what it means.
Yet organizations spend millions of dollars every year on off-the-shelf surveys in an attempt to measure this nebulous concept.
Here are the three elements encompassed by the phrase “employee engagement” based on a review of both academic and proprietary research on the topic of employee engagement (e.g., Gallup, HR Solutions, etc.).
Element 1: Trait Engagement or how some people just “are”
Characteristics of Trait Engagement include:
- Positive views of life and work
- Proactive Personality
- Autotelic Personality Trait (i.e., doing things for the enjoyment of just doing them)
- Positive Affect Conscientiousness
Element 2: State Engagement or how some people feel from one moment to the next
Characteristics of State Engagement include:
- Feelings of energy, absorption
- (Affective) Involvement
- Commitment Empowerment
Element 3: Behavioral Engagement or how some people work when they are said to be “engaged” employees
Characteristics of Behavioral Engagement include:
- Extra-role behavior (i.e., using discretionary effort)
- Organizational Citizenship Behavior (OCB) Proactive/Personal Initiative
- Role Expansion
Source of Truth:
Macey & Schneider (2008). The Meaning of Employee Engagement. Organizational Psychology, 1 (2008), 3–30