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Employee Engagement Research: What Does the Science Say?


There is a whole host of employ­ee engage­ment research out there that will help to per­fect your per­for­mance man­age­ment sys­tem. Here are our top six recommendations.

Employ­ee engage­ment has very much been a man­age­ment buzz­word over the last few years with numer­ous arti­cles hav­ing been writ­ten about how to improve employ­ee engage­ment lev­els, the dri­vers of employ­ee engage­ment and the com­po­nents of employ­ee engagement.

Many of these arti­cles are anec­do­tal in nature, but there is a lot of valu­able and sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly dri­ven research out there on employ­ee engage­ment, along with real-world case stud­ies with facts and fig­ures, that can back up your efforts when it comes to devel­op­ing a hap­py, healthy and engag­ing per­for­mance man­age­ment sys­tem.

We have col­lat­ed six of the top pieces of research and case stud­ies on employ­ee engage­ment you should read and digest today.

Employ­ee Engage­ment Definition

Before we dive into the research, it’s first impor­tant to clar­i­fy the def­i­n­i­tion of employ­ee engage­ment. The fol­low­ing is our pre­ferred def­i­n­i­tion at Clear Review:

Employ­ee engage­ment is a fun­da­men­tal man­age­ment con­cept that describes the nature of the rela­tion­ship between an employ­ee and his or her organ­i­sa­tion. It also relates to the employ­ee’s com­mit­ment to their goals and com­pa­ny objec­tives, and their role with­in the organ­i­sa­tion. Employ­ee engage­ment results in the use of dis­cre­tionary effort as a result of increased mean­ing and belong­ing. A tru­ly engaged employ­ee is pro­duc­tive and takes pos­i­tive action and inter­est with regards to a company’s val­ues, future and reputation.

The research below demon­strates the many ben­e­fits afford­ed by a high­ly engaged workplace.

1. Dri­ving Per­for­mance and Reten­tion through Employ­ee Engage­ment — Cor­po­rate Lead­er­ship Council

This research by the Cor­po­rate Lead­er­ship Coun­cil explores how engaged employ­ees result in improved lev­els of per­for­mance and decreased vol­un­tary turnover. The study explores the busi­ness impact of high engage­ment, what dri­ves employ­ees’ deci­sions to remain at any giv­en com­pa­ny and how busi­ness­es can estab­lish a high-per­for­mance rela­tion­ship with their employ­ees in order to sup­port busi­ness needs. The study reveals that employ­ees with low­er engage­ment are four times more like­ly to leave their jobs when com­pared to high­ly engaged employees.

2. Employ­ee Engage­ment Updat­ed Research Find­ings — TLF Research

This sur­vey by TLF Research involved all seg­ments of the UK work­force and received respons­es from over 2,700 indi­vid­u­als. The results linked employ­ee engage­ment to employ­ee sat­is­fac­tion, includ­ing improved rela­tion­ships with col­leagues and man­age­ment. Accord­ing to this research, engaged employ­ees feel they are being treat­ed fair­ly and that they have greater job secu­ri­ty, while they also enjoy a greater work-life balance.

3. 2014 Trends in Glob­al Employ­ee Engage­ment — AON Hewitt

This report explores glob­al employ­ee engage­ment. One of its find­ings is the impor­tance of devel­op­ing engag­ing lead­ers. The impact of lead­ers on employ­ee engage­ment is cru­cial and com­pa­nies that excel at employ­ee engage­ment almost always have strong lead­ers who under­stand the val­ue of engage­ment. Lead­ers, accord­ing to the report, have beliefs about pur­pose and peo­ple, and aim to inspire, focus, sta­bilise and build trust, and con­nect with and grow others.”

This is some­thing we whole­heart­ed­ly agree with at Clear Review, which is why we have named a lack of inter­ac­tion with man­age­ment as the top rea­son your employ­ees aren’t engaged.

4. Engaged Work­places Are Safer for Employ­ees — Gallup

This research by Gallup reveals that busi­ness­es with engage­ment scores in the top quar­tile of Gallup’s employ­ee engage­ment data­base expe­ri­ence 70% few­er acci­dents when com­pared to bot­tom-quar­tile com­pa­nies. Engaged employ­ees are com­mit­ted to doing qual­i­ty work and ded­i­cat­ed to achiev­ing a cer­tain stan­dard of excel­lence in every­thing they do.


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5. The Mean­ing of Work: The Chal­lenge of Regain­ing Employ­ee Engage­ment and Reduc­ing Cyn­i­cism — The Human Man­age­ment Review

Today’s employ­ees are less and less con­cerned with extrin­sic moti­va­tors such as pay and more con­cerned with careers and work­places that offer mean­ing. This report by The Human Man­age­ment Review dis­cuss­es the need to address an employ­ee’s emo­tion­al require­ments of work and how doing so can boost employ­ee engagement.

6. Employ­ees Who Are Engaged in Their Work Have Hap­pi­er Home Lives — Kansas State University 

Accord­ing to this research by Kansas State Uni­ver­si­ty, engaged employ­ees have hap­pi­er home lives. One of the study’s researchers states:

[…] indi­vid­u­als who were engaged in pos­i­tive expe­ri­ences at work and who shared those expe­ri­ences with sig­nif­i­cant oth­ers per­ceived them­selves as bet­ter able to deal with issues at home, became bet­ter com­pan­ions, and became more effec­tive over­all in the home environment.”

This goes to show how employ­ee engage­ment has far-reach­ing ben­e­fits beyond the work­place. Engaged employ­ees are more con­tent at home, which equates to a greater lev­el of morale in gen­er­al and will fur­ther ben­e­fit the company.

To boost lev­els of engage­ment, it makes sense to use all the tools at your dis­pos­al. Mod­ern per­for­mance man­age­ment soft­ware has been shown to improve employ­ee engage­ment through­out an organ­i­sa­tion — we have helped hun­dreds of com­pa­nies around the world, and our efforts recent­ly won us Ven­dor of the Year in the UK & Europe Employ­ee Engage­ment Awards. We’re eager to show you what this new type of HR tech­nol­o­gy can do for your business.

Dis­cov­er the link between engage­ment, per­for­mance and tech­nol­o­gy: down­load our new eBook here.

The key to employee engagement

Learn more about employee engagement from our collection of free resources. You'll discover how you can boost performance and productivity through improving employee engagement.

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