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What Is Employee Engagement?

Employee engagement occurs when your employees are bought in and aligned with the workplace mission, vision, and values. For an employee to be engaged, they need to feel their work has a purpose. They also need to feel that they are recognized and valued members of the organization. Engaged employees are fully committed to their organization. This level of commitment means they are willing to make healthy sacrifices to contribute to the success of their customers, colleagues, and company as a whole. An engaged employee is more likely to show up on time, meet deadlines, and exceed expectations and requirements. Essentially, an engaged employee is the kind of employee we'd all like to have working for us! But unfortunately, very few employees in today's workplace actually fall under the category of "engaged".


The Landscape

Only 13% of today's workforce is engaged, and on top of that, somewhere in the range of 50-60% of employees are looking for a new job as we speak. This disengagement has been estimated to cost the United States alone roughly $550 billion dollars per year! We have some serious work to do as companies and managers. We know these statistics because it has become common practice for companies to survey their employees on a quarterly, bi-annual, or annual basis. This is great - you measure what matters to your organization. But what are we doing as companies to improve upon this low level of engagement? This is one of the most challenging questions managers are facing today.


Why Engagement Matters

A disengaged employee is extremely toxic to the workplace. Here are a few of the results from a disengaged employee:

  • Poor performance
  • Decreased company morale
  • Increased training costs
  • Increased turnover

Employees are an organizations most valuable asset. They manufacture and sell your products, and administer your services. Employee performance is directly tied to engagement. In fact, according to research conducted by Gallup, the most engaged workforces see 70% fewer workplace incidents than those in the bottom 25% of engaged workforces. Taking the time to value employee engagement and satisfaction can have the greatest impact on the success of your entire business.

An engaged employee is also more likely to be one of your greatest forms of marketing, both by promoting your company in person to friends and family, as well as on social media. This is great news for companies that are engaging their people, because consumers have been shown to trust information that comes from an employee of a company, rather than the company itself. 

Here are just a few of the many benefits that can result from introducing employee engagement activities:

  • Improved performance
  • Bottom line growth
  • Decreased turnover
  • Improved talent attraction
  • Increased collaboration
  • Employee advocates 


The Hierarchy of Needs of an Engaged Employee

Hierarchy of Needs- Engaged Employee


Achieving Engagement

Although pay and other incentives/benefits might be one of the first things that comes to mind as a contributor to employee engagement, these aren't the only factors that contribute to employee engagement. In fact, these are the bare minimum in terms of the requirements for an employee to be fully engaged.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a theory we all learned about in school, which depicts a pyramid where each hierarchy from bottom to top must be met in order for them to all be realized.

The bottom two tiers of the pyramid are your safety and physiological needs. These are the basic requirements that a job must provide to employees. Your pay, insurance, etc. are all benefits of your career that provide you with structure required to meet your safety and security needs. These lower-level needs can be met by any organization, meaning that if you don’t satisfy some of the higher level needs, another organization will poach your employees simply by offering a higher salary.

Next, you have your need for belonging. An employee can achieve these needs through your organizations diversity and inclusion initiatives. Team building exercises like collective goals are a great way to build this sense of belonging and teamwork. Employee Resource Groups are also an excellent way for people to associate with people who come from the same background and cultures, and also provide a platform for people to learn about other employee’s cultures as well.




The fourth need is Esteem. This is your requirement for accomplishment or recognition. One of the most commonly cited reasons people leave their job is a lack of recognition. Any program or initiative that shows your employee that you value their contribution can help realize this fourth need. When an employee feels they are an important part of the business, they are more likely to stay.

The final need is self-actualization. This is the one that few employees achieve, and a reason that only 13% of today’s workforce is engaged. In order for an employee to reach this level, they need to understand how their job impacts the lives of others. When companies give their employees the opportunity to serve others, they are most likely to achieve this final stage.

Chances are you are satisfying the bottom tier, the physiological and safety needs. Porpoise can help you manage and implement programs that satisfy the belonging, esteem and self-actualization that is required in order to create a culture that attracts and retains the best talent.


Employee Engagement Programs

We know that measuring employee engagement is necessary, and that it's what you do to improve upon these engagement rates that matters. Unfortunately, there isn't a silver bullet for achieving high levels of employee engagement, but the good news is, there are a number of employee engagement programs and activities that you can put in place to move the needle on engagement over time. These programs can improve the sense of belonging, recognition, and purpose that employees are seeking in the workplace.




Unlocking Employee Engagement, With Porpoise

At Porpoise, we've designed and analyzed hundreds of employee engagement programs to determine the characteristics of the best programs. We created Porpoise as the first platform to incorporate these essential ingredients, and that is why we are consistently helping our partners exceed industry standard engagement rates by up to 70%. Creating a culture of engaged employees isn't rocket science, but it is something that needs attention in order to realize the returns. 


Of the 60% of companies that measure the connection between engagement in their employee volunteer program and employee engagement, 89% found a positive correlation.

Boston College Center For Corporate Citizenship

Volunteer programs are just one of the many types of employee engagement programs that you can put in place at your company. Goal-based programs are some of the most engaging incentives you can offer to spark purpose and action in your employees. Your company can set and attain any team or individual based goal that you choose. This ensures that you programs are always a true reflection of your company culture and values, rather than dull and inauthentic. Common themes that employee engagement programs can be categorized under are:

  • Health and Wellness
  • Community Involvement
  • Diversity & Inclusion
  • Sustainability 


Want to launch a successful and engaging workplace program with your employees? Book a free 30 minute strategy session with a Porpoise expert today! 


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