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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.

Clear Review performance management software is all about communication, engagement and great performance. We want to take your company to the next level — book a free performance management software demo to see how we can help.
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