Do You Really Know What Employee Engagement Is?

Who doesn’t love fun facts?

Here’s a good one for you: The song Working for the Weekend, by Canadian rock band Loverboy, still appears on VH1’s 100 Greatest Songs of the 80s.

That’s cool, but what in the world does it have to do with employee engagement?

Well, the fact that the song is still ranked on a “Greatest Songs of the Decade” list demonstrates that there’s still a lot of people who feel a connection to the lyrics of the song—people who are always waiting for the weekend. If we relate that to the majority of employees who are always looking for the next opportunity to spend time away from their jobs, we get an awful lot of employees who are disengaged.

Employee engagement is a very important factor to the success of any company. Unfortunately, though, it has become a huge problem in today’s workplace, impacting everything from productivity to customer satisfaction.

The Deloitte Review reveals that American companies spend over $100 billion every year in a bid to improve employee engagement.

Regardless, the hefty expenditure doesn’t seem to be making much of an impact. In fact, according to a poll by Gallup, only slightly more than one third of employees (34%) are engaged at work—an improvement over previous years, though the number is still quite low.

To help employers gain a better understanding of employee engagement and its impact on companies, we’ll take a look at 10 shocking statistics on employee engagement. Before we get to that, though, let’s make sure we understand what employee engagement really means.


At its core, employee engagement refers to how connected employees are to their job, as well as their level of emotional commitment to their organization and its goals. Employees who are engaged actually care about their work, rather than simply working for a paycheck.

Disengaged employees, on the other hand, don’t care about their job or how it contributes to the company. Their focus is only the benefits they get from their job. They’re not enthusiastic about their work, and they’re certainly not willing to go beyond their duties for the sake of the company.

Now let’s take a look at an example of an engaged employee versus a disengaged one:

Assume there are two guys, Mike and Bill, who work in the IT department.

On Thursday, just a few minutes before the end of the work day, they both notice a glitch that would make the company network vulnerable to external attacks.

After examining the problem, Bill realizes that it will take at least an hour to solve the problem. Since he’s almost done for the day, he pretends he hasn’t noticed the glitch in order to avoid working overtime.

Mike, however, understands the huge risk in leaving the glitch unresolved overnight. Instead of leaving the problem until the next morning, he spends an extra hour at the office to fix the problem.

Mike gains nothing by spending the extra time at the office, but he does it anyway because he cares about his job and its impact on the entire organization. Mike is an engaged employee.

Bill, on the other hand, only cares about the money he takes home twice a month. He is unwilling to sacrifice his personal time for the organization. Bill is a disengaged employee.

Many managers often confuse the difference between employee engagement and employee satisfaction. Employee satisfaction refers to how contented or happy employees are with their job, but it doesn’t address how motivated, committed or involved they are. And here’s the thing:

Just because an employee is happy with their job doesn’t mean that they are engaged at work. 

After all, for some employees, being happy with their job might mean doing as little as possible.

Now that you understand what employee engagement really means, take a minute to check out 10 shocking statistics on employee engagement.

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Martin is a 2x entrepreneur, former venture capitalist, and investment banker. He has helped startups raise $30 million in venture capital and focus on the right things to grow their business. He blogs on"