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Why is Employee Engagement so important?

You can not buy loyalty dime a dozen. You must earn it.

Engagement introduction

One of the biggest problems most companies face is “employee engagement”. According to Gallup, only 13% of employees are engaged. This is very serious, I ask of you to calculate this as per the number of manpower at your company, and see how much you are losing in productivity, efficiency and in sales, then think about this for a second. Before starting in explaining this, let’s be more clear about what makes employees more productive: Competency – Commitment – Engagement.


Competency means that employees have the knowledge, skills, and values required to perform their jobs. These factors are all about what many organizations base their recruitment criteria on. They write their Job descriptions based on the competency model, and concentrate the interview efforts on it, which is good, but it is only part of the productivity requirements. We see this is being followed mainly in the recruitment gap analysis, where companies identify key positions and match people to those positions.


Without commitment, competency is discounted. Competent employees are capable of doing the work, but this doesn’t mean that they will, or at least will work hard. Come on, let’s be positive here and assume that committed employees want to do the work, then they are willing to put in their time and effort, and do what they are asked to do ensuring that they will give value to the company and in return they will receive value back. Yes, it is the “carrot and stick” dilemma, which clearly in this era of management is not valid anymore, it is a 40 years of research which proves that not only does the traditional reward and recognition programs not work, they actually decrease overall morale, wow!

Why is Employee Engagement so important?

Unless employees feel they are making a real contribution and finding meaning and purpose in their work at their company, they won’t be called engaged employees. Engagement exists only when employees find their personal needs are being met through their participation in their company. Here we conclude to one of the leader’s most important duties: helping employees find a sense of contribution through the work that their employees do.

So, Competency deals with the head (being able to do the work), Commitment with the hands and feet (being there and willing to do the work), and Engagement with the heart and emotions (simply being, and finding meaning and purpose in doing the work).

Benefits of Engagement:

Some of the benefits of engagement is that employees would:

    • Collaborate on ideas to improve business processes, procedures, and outcomes
  • Feel empowered to come up with innovative solutions to problems without being asked to do so 
  • Innovate, collaborate, and inspire others around them
  • Are charged with positive energy, which makes them more productive
  • Stay longer at their jobs, simply retention problems would be solved 
  • 20% or better boost to productivity and profitability (Gallup)

Quick stats about Engagement:

  • 51% of employees are searching for new jobs
  • Disengaged employees cost organizations up to $550 billion, Annually
  • Teams that address engagement perform 20% better in sales and 10% better in customer engagement
  • Companies with engaged employees see 41% less absenteeism
  • 48% of employees report being unhappy at work
  • Highly engaged companies see a 17% increase in productivity

Measuring Engagement:

The first step in improving anything is measuring it, but before starting, if you were willing to perform a survey to measure your employees’ engagement , make sure you are not measuring their level of satisfaction as they are both different, and the difference between them is simply “Commitment”. As explained above, satisfaction is commitment, that is employees are being able to do the work. Moreover, employees are committed to show every day to work so they get paid, but may not be engaged to the success of the company. Satisfied employees are more concerned with their own growth no matter what, and are not engaged to the growth and profit of the company nor to its teams or Business Units.

Then, after measuring your employees’ engagement, don’t stop there, the survey is only part of the engagement strategy. Work on improving the results, which requires commitment from all, especially the CEO. Then, start by communicating the results, choose the most critical priorities to start working on to improve, and finally follow-up and repeat.

Improving Engagement:

So, how to make your employees more engaged? We’ll mention some of the important factors here, not all, to keep this article readable:

Fairness: fairness in all aspects and disciplines of Human Resources: recruitment, training, fair pay structure, fair working conditions and job security … to mention some.

Recognition: each employee is motivated by a different way, and it is your job as a leader to find what is it for each. Employees want to know that their work is appreciated by their supervisors and known by their colleagues. Recognition and appreciation would be based on certain criteria, like what milestones have been achieved, what unexpected or exceptional results have been realized, who has gone beyond the call of duty to help a colleague or met a deadline, who has provided great service or support to a customer in crisis, who “walked the talk” on your values in a way that sets an example for others and warrants recognition …

Empowerment: Engaged employees are those who are empowered in their tasks, jobs, and make a difference in the company.

Feedback: continuous feedback, a never ending regular one-on-one feedback, and can’t stress here more the importance of this. Discuss with the employee what might make the employee’s work difficult or cumbersome, what you can do to ease the burden, what roadblocks might surface …

Provide relevance: share with the employee what we are doing as an organization and as a team, whey we are doing it, who benefits from our work and how, what success looks like for our team and for each employee, what role each employee play in delivering on that promise …

In this article, I’ve tried to make it as simple as possible and the article to be as a guide for leaders to follow on ideas to be implemented in their organizations. Well, you want a more simple formula, OK follow this:

DailyAppreciation: let the employees know you are glad they are with you on this journey to success.

WeeklyCoaching: help your employees get better at doing the jobs they need to do. Should be in a one-one-one meeting.

QuarterlyEvaluation: where does each employee stand in their role? Are they junior, close to leveling up, starting to grow worse? Quarterly, because who can remember that far back for the end of a year.

To make it even a simpler solution, you can use the management framework Objectives and Key Results, OKRs in short. The system’s benefits sums all what mentioned above and goes much beyond that.

Imagine if every employee was passionate about seeing the company and its customers succeed!

“Happy people are better workers. Those who are engaged with their jobs and colleagues work harder — and smarter.” Aimee McKee, Teleos Leadership Institute

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I would love to hear from you! Please comment adding your opinion or any incidents you would like to share, add whatever comments you’d like even if it is out of this article’s subject, or suggest whatever title you’d like me to write about in my future articles.

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