Employee engagement is becoming one of the biggest buzz terms in the world of human resources and there’s a good reason for it. It is one of the most important tools in determining and measuring work satisfaction among the workforce. It’s very rare for employees these days to merely be content with working for the same company at a nine-to-five job for ten or twenty years. It’s no longer just about the steady paycheck anymore. Employees, especially the more ambitious and productive ones, tend to want to be more involved in their work and more enthusiastic about the company they work for.

It was found in 2015, in a research study that involved more than 500 employees, more than 71% of managers believed that employee engagement was crucial to company success. But despite that, it was also found that more than 15% of employees worldwide felt disengaged with their work. This means that there is a serious problem within the corporate landscape here and Human Resource lies at the heart of it all. For this article, we are going to delve deeper into what employee engagement is, why it matters, and how HR professionals can improve the level of employee engagement in the workplace.

What is Employee Engagement?

There are many layers to employee engagement depending on the lens through which you view it. Generally speaking, employee engagement is any kind of policy or mechanism within an organization that is designed to strengthen an employee’s feelings of emotional attachment and investment to the company. That kind of attachment should also ideally carry over to their roles and responsibilities, job titles/positions, work colleagues, and the ideas and principles of the company itself. Essentially, the more engaged an employee is, the more motivated they will be in performing well for the company.

Why is It Important?

Employee engagement becomes all the more important during times like a pandemic, wherein the level of engagement can become strained as the result of non-traditional working conditions. But to put it into proper perspective, the view on why employee engagement is important can be summed up in two parts: retention and productivity.


Retention is one of the biggest challenges that companies face today. Studies and trends have indicated that the level of employee turnover in various companies is becoming higher and higher. This means that employees are becoming more and more likely to take on new career paths with other employers. It’s a well-known fact that it’s a lot more expensive for companies to hire new employees than it is to just recruit internally. Engagement is one of the most powerful tools in increasing the chances of employee retention. The more engaged and invested an employee is in a company, then the less likely they would be to leave it for other opportunities and this was confirmed by a study conducted by The Corporate Leadership Council. They found that 87% of engaged employees were less likely to leave their jobs.


The other aspect of company performance that is dramatically impacted by employee engagement is productivity. Again, when an employee is fully engaged, they are looking to do beyond what is expected of them. This means that they would be willing to do things that transcend what is written in their job descriptions. They enjoy the work that they do for the company so much and this kind of attachment to their work tends to lead to higher levels of productivity. It’s also been shown that employee engagement can increase team synergy and morale, which are also crucial tools in boosting productivity within an organization. In a 2017 study conducted by Gallup, they found that teams that were fully engaged showed a 21% boost in profitability.

Recognize and Acknowledge Hard Work

Any company’s HR team should always assume an executive leadership role in the championing of employee engagement. They should always be at the forefront of investigating engagement tactics and drawing up ways to improve the level of engagement among employees. This can be done through reward or recognition systems for employees who do hard work. Even something as simple as having an “employee of the month” can go a long way in making an employee feel like their hard work is being acknowledged and appreciated. Other examples of forms of recognition that you can give include hardest worker, best team player, most loyal, and others.

Invest in Skills Training and Development Programs

Invest in Skills Training and Development Programs
Another great way to really boost an employee’s engagement is to invest in the development of their skills and potential. This can benefit your company in two ways. For one, the better-skilled your workers are, then the more proficient they will be in the work that they do. But aside from that, by investing in their skills development, it lets them know that there is always room for growth in your company. This will incentivize them to stay with your company because they know that there’s upward mobility there.

You can help your employees develop their skills by simply sponsoring online classes or seminars for them. There are a number of resources online like Skillshare, Coursera, or Udemy that would be great for helping your employees sharpen their skills and pursue their interests.

Increase Social Interaction among Employees

Again, one important aspect of employee engagement is the emotional investment that they put into a company. One great way to boost that emotional investment is to allow them to foster closer ties and connections to the people they work with. In traditional office settings, this could be done by throwing occasional fellowship dinners or parties to allow workers to mingle outside the confines of a professional environment. But since many companies are still implementing remote working setups, this could still be executed in a virtual capacity. Many companies have made use of monthly trivia nights or even online games like Among Us and Codenames. There are also companies that have made use of Discord as a great way for employees to mingle and bond on a personal level through dedicated channels that are designed for social interaction.

Conduct Consistent Self-Assessment

Lastly, HR teams should be at the forefront of continually assessing and measuring employee engagement. Again, no other organizational units within a company will be as invested in engagement as HR is. That’s why HR professionals need to be more systematic and methodical in the gauging of employee engagement and assessing the effectiveness of its engagement protocols and tactics. More than just conducting seasonal surveys or running data and analytics, HR teams should also take more personal approaches to reaching out to employees with regard to their level of attachment toward the company. This can be done through face-to-face dialogues and other more approachable and inviting forums.

However, given that a lot of companies still have their employees working from home, face-to-face dialogues aren’t always possible. This is where technological tools for communication like Zoom or Skype can come in. Granted, there’s a barrier of technology between the HR professional and the employees. But video conferencing still offers a more personal touch as opposed to just emails or private messages.

Final Words

Ultimately, there is no denying the importance of employee engagement in fostering a workplace that is both productive and humane. Too many companies make the mistake of seeing their organizations as just purely well-oiled machines that are made up of bolts and pieces. But the best organizations understand that their success is built by the people who work there. And the more engaged the workforce is, then the higher the ceiling for any given company’s potential for success.

If you’re interested in really learning more about how you can boost employee engagement, you should also read our piece about promoting work-life balance.