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After hundreds of focus groups and thousands of interviews with employees in

a variety of industries, Gallup came up with the Q12, a 12-question survey that
identifies strong feelings of employee engagement. Results from the survey show
a strong correlation between high scores and superior job performance. Here are
those 12 questions:
Do you know what is expected of you at work?
Do you have the materials and equipment you need to do your work right?
At work, do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?
In the last seven days, have you received recognition or praise for doing good w
Does your supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about you as a person?
Is there someone at work who encourages your development?
At work, do your opinions seem to count?
Does the mission/purpose of your company make you feel your job is important?
Are your associates (fellow employees) committed to doing quality work?
Do you have a best friend at work?
In the last six months, has someone at work talked to you about your progress?
In the last year, have you had opportunities at work to learn and grow?

Engaged employees care about the future of the company and are willing to invest
the discretionary effort[1]. Engaged employees feel a strong emotional bond to
the organization that employs them. (Robinson)
[edit] Emotional attachment
Only 29% of employees are actively engaged in their jobs.[citation needed] These
employees work with passion and feel a profound connection to their company. Pe
ople that are actively engaged help move the organization forward. 84% of highly
engaged employees believe they can positively impact the quality of their organ
ization's products, compared with only 31% of the disengaged.[citation needed] 7
2% of highly engaged employees believe they can positively effect customer servi
ce, versus 27% of the disengaged.[citation needed] 68% of highly engaged employe
es believe they can positively impact costs in their job or unit, compared with
just 19% of the disengaged[1]. Engaged employees feel a strong emotional bond to
the organization that employs them.[2] This is associated with people demonstra
ting a willingness to recommend the organization to others and commit time and e
ffort to help the organization succeed.[3] It suggests that people are motivated
by intrinsic factors (e.g. personal growth, working to a common purpose, being
part of a larger process) rather than simply focusing on extrinsic factors (e.g.
, pay/reward).[4]
[edit] Involvement
Eileen Appelbaum and her colleagues (2000) studied 15 steel mills, 17 apparel ma
nufacturers, and 10 electronic instrument and imaging equipment producers. Their

purpose was to compare traditional production systems with flexible high-perfor

mance production systems involving teams, training, and incentive pay systems. I
n all three industries, the plants utilizing high-involvement practices showed s
uperior performance. In addition, workers in the high-involvement plants showed
more positive attitudes, including trust, organizational commitment and intrinsi
c enjoyment of the work[2]. The concept has gained popularity as various studies
have demonstrated links with productivity. It is often linked to the notion of
employee voice and empowerment.[5]
[edit] Commitment
It has been routinely found that employee engagement scores account for as much
as half of the variance in customer satisfaction scores. This translates into mi
llions of dollars for companies if they can improve their scores. Studies have s
tatistically demonstrated that engaged employees are more productive, more profi
table, more customer-focused, safer, and less likely to leave their employer.
Employees with the highest level of commitment perform 20% better and are 87% le
ss likely to leave the organization, which indicates that engagement is linked t
o organizational performance.[6] For example, at the beverage company of MolsonC
oors, it was found that engaged employees were five times less likely than non-e
ngaged employees to have a safety incident and seven times less likely to have a
lost-time safety incident. In fact, the average cost of a safety incident for a
n engaged employee was $63, compared with an average of $392 for a non-engaged e
mployee. Consequently, through strengthening employee engagement, the company sa
ved $1,721,760 in safety costs in 2002. In addition, savings were found in sales
performance teams through engagement. In 2005, for example, low-engagement team
s were seen falling behind engaged teams, with a difference in performance-relat
ed costs of low- versus high-engagement teams totaling $2,104,823.3 (Lockwood).
[edit] Life insurance industry
Two studies of employees in the life insurance industry examined the impact of e
mployee perceptions that they had the power to make decisions, sufficient knowle
dge and information to do the job effectively, and rewards for high performance.
Both studies included large samples of employees (3,570 employees in 49 organiz
ations and 4,828 employees in 92 organizations). In both studies, high-involveme
nt management practices were positively associated with employee morale, employe
e retention, and firm financial performance[2]. Watson Wyatt found that high-com
mitment organizations (one with loyal and dedicated employees) out-performed tho
se with low commitment by 47% in the 2000 study and by 200% in the 2002 study.[7
[edit] Productivity
In a study of professional service firms, the Hay Group found that offices with
engaged employees were up to 43% more productive.[8]
The most striking finding[citation needed] is the almost 52% gaps in operating i
ncomes between companies with highly engaged employees and companies whose emplo
yees have low-engagement scores. High-engagement companies improved 19.2% while
low-engagement companies declined 32.7% in operating income during the study per
iod[citation needed]. For example, New Century Financial Corporation, a U.S. spe
cialty mortgage banking company, found that account executives in the wholesale
division who were actively disengaged produced 28% less revenue than their colle
agues who were engaged. Furthermore, those not engaged generated 23% less revenu
e than their engaged counterparts. Engaged employees also outperformed the not e
ngaged and actively disengaged employees in other divisions[1].

[edit] Generating engagement

Recent research has focused on developing a better understanding of how variable
s such as quality of work relationships and values of the organization interact
and their link to important work outcomes.[9] 84% of highly engaged employees be
lieve they can positively impact the quality of their organization's products, c
ompared with only 31 percent of the disengaged[1]. From the perspective of the e
mployee, "outcomes" range from strong commitment to the isolation of oneself fro
m the organization.[10] The study done by the Gallup Management Journal has show
n that only 29% of employees are actively engaged in their jobs. Those "engaged"
employees work with passion and feel a strong connection to their company. Abou
t ? of the business units scoring above the median on employee engagement also s
cored above the median on performance[2]. Moreover, 54% of employees are not eng
aged meaning that they go through each workday putting time but no passion into
their work. Only about ? of companies below the median on employee engagement sc
ored above the median on performance[2].
Access to a reliable model enables organizations to conduct validation studies t
o establish the relationship of employee engagement to productivity/performance
and other measures linked to effectiveness.[9]
It is an important principle of industrial and organizational psychology (i.e. t
he application of psychological theories, research methods, and intervention str
ategies involving workplace issues) that validation studies should be anchored i
n reliable scales (i.e. organized and related groups of items) and not simply fo
cus on individual elements in isolation. To understand how high levels of employ
ee engagement affect organizational performance/productivity it is important to
have an a priori model that demonstrates how the scales interact.[11] There is a
lso overlap between this concept and those relating to well-being at work and th
e psychological contract.[2]
As employee productivity is clearly connected with employee engagement, creating
an environment that encourages employee engagement is considered to be essentia
l in the effective management of human capital.[10]
[edit] Influences
Employee perceptions of job importance. According to a 2006 study by Gerard Seij
ts and Dan Crim, " employees attitude toward the job['s importance] and the
company had the greatest impact on loyalty and customer service then all other
employee factors combined."[10]
Employee clarity of job expectations. "If expectations are not clear and basic m
aterials and equipment not provided, negative emotions such as boredom or resent
ment may result, and the employee may then become focused on surviving more than
thinking about how he can help the organization succeed."[3]
Career advancement/improvement opportunities. "Plant supervisors and managers in
dicated that many plant improvements were being made outside the suggestion syst
em, where employees initiated changes in order to reap the bonuses generated by
the subsequent cost savings."[11]
Regular feedback and dialogue with superiors. "Feedback is the key to giving emp
loyees a sense of where they re going, but many organizations are remarkably bad a
t giving it."[3] "'What I really wanted to hear was 'Thanks. You did a good job.
' But all my boss did was hand me a check.'"[8]
Quality of working relationships with peers, superiors, and subordinates. "...if
employees' relationship with their managers is fractured, then no amount of per
ks will persuade the employees to perform at top levels. Employee engagement is
a direct reflection of how employees feel about their relationship with the boss
Perceptions of the ethos and values of the organization. "'Inspiration and value
s' is the most important of the six drivers in our Engaged Performance model. In
spirational leadership is the ultimate perk. In its absence, [it] is unlikely to

engage employees."[8]
Effective Internal Employee Communications - which convey a clear description of
"what's going on". "'If you accept that employees want to be involved in what t
hey are doing then this trend is clear (from small businesses to large global or
ganisations). The effect of poor internal communications is seen as its most des
tructive in global organisations which suffer from employee annexation - where t
he head office in one country is buoyant (since they are closest to the action,
know what is going on, and are heavily engaged) but its annexes (who are furthes
t away from the action and know little about what is happening) are dis-engaged.
In the worst case, employee annexation can be very destructive when the head of
fice attributes the annex's low engagement to its poor performance... when its p
oor performance is really due to its poor communications.
[edit] Potential red flags
Inappropriate use of Benchmark Data - some of the more well established Employee
Engagement survey companies will state that the most important part of post sur
vey follow up is related to comparison of internal survey data to numerous exter
nal benchmarks. This seems to have rubbed off onto internal sponsors who demand
very specific benchmarks, being unaware that they are diluting the accuracy of t
heir analysis. Steve Bicknell, research analyst in over 100 Employee Engagement
global projects concluded that the standard comparisons by industry sector are f
lawed. Is it right to compare a Bentley employee to one from Vauxhall (GM) becau
se they are in the same automotive sector? He concluded that more information ca
n be obtained by looking at the kind of organisation that employees were a part
of (and its employee proposition), its stage in development, internal communicat
ion, its brand, motivation and culture.
[edit] See also
Organizational commitment
Flow (psychology)
Positive psychology
Internal marketing
Brand engagement
Employer branding
Employee branding
Brand engagement
[edit] References
^ a b c d Seijts, Gerard H. and Dan Crim (2006). "The Ten C's of Employee Engage
ment". Ivey Business Journal. Retrieved on 2006-11-09.
^ a b c d e f Konrad, Alison M. (March 2006). "Engaging Employees through High-I
nvolvement Work Practices". Ivey Business Journal. Retrieved on 2006-11-14.
^ a b c Engage Employees and Boost Performance. Hay Group (2002). Retrieved on 2
^ Robinson, Dilys and Sue Hayday (2003). "Employee Engagement". In Brief (129).
Retrieved on 2006-11-06.
^ Wilkinson, Adrien, et al (2004). "Changing patterns of employee voice". Journa
l of Industrial Relations 46,3: 298-322.
^ Lockwood, Nancy R. "Leveraging Employee Engagement for Competitive Advantage:
HR's Strategic Role." HRMagazine Mar. 2007: 1-11. SearchSpot. ABI/INFORM Global
(PQ). McIntyre Library, Eau Claire. 22 Apr. 2007 <
?did=1231781861&Fmt=4&VInst=PROD& VType=PQD&RQT=309&VName=PQD&>
^ Employee Commitment. Susan de la Vergne (2005). Retrieved on 2007-02-03.
^ a b c Employee Commitment Remains Unchanged..... Watson Wyatt Worldwide (2002)
. Retrieved on 2006-11-07.
^ a b Harter, James K., Frank L. Schmidt, and Corey L. M. Keyes (2003). "Well-Be
ing in the Workplace and its Relationships to Business Outcomes". Flourishing: T
he Positive Person and the Good Life: 205 244. Retrieved on 2006-11-08.
^ a b c d Ryan, Richard M. and Edward L. Deci (January 2000). "Self-Determinatio

n Theory and Facilitation of Intrinsic Motivation, Social Development, and WellBeing". American Psychologist Association 55: 68 78. Retrieved on 2006-11-06.
^ a b Hulme, Virginia A. (March 2006). "What Distinguishes the Best from the Res
t". China Business Review. Retrieved on 2006-11-14.
Robinson, D., S. Perryman, and S. Hayday (2004). The Drivers of Employee Engagem
ent. Institute for Employment Studies. Retrieved on 2006-11-07.
Wilkinson, Adrien (1998). "Empowerment: Theory and Practice". Personnel Review 2
7,1: 40-56.
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