What Does Employee Engagement Sound Like?

When we ask people why they love their jobs, here are the types of comments we hear:

  • “I am appreciated for what I do. I’m not made to feel as though I’m lucky to have a job. Instead, my company makes sure I know they feel lucky to have me.” 
  • “I love working for my company! My manager listens and takes immediate action. Let’s just say, they’ll have to drag me outta here kicking and screaming!”
  • “For the first time, I feel like I belong. I’m appreciated and respected in my position. I give 125% and I look forward to seeing what’s new every day!”

Perhaps your organization doesn’t have a retention plan — or perhaps it does, but you know it could use improvement. Here are my recommendations:

  • Make employee retention a priority and ensure the entire senior leadership team is on board.
  • Determine where your organization stands with employees—and why they choose to stay. Create a safe environment for employees to provide honest feedback.
  • Use a reliable, third-party employee engagement survey to give employees a voice. And then listen to them. Really listen.
  • Identify what’s going well and encourage those things. Uncover where there’s room for improvement and go after it.
  • Turn those insights into action. If you aren’t sure what the survey data says, enlist the help of an expert who can guide and support the process as well as present high-leverage recommendations to senior leadership.
  • Review and repeat. Employee engagement is a journey, not a destination.

Our research shows Top Workplaces do these things, they do them regularly, and the results show. On average, they achieve a 67% employee engagement rate. Compare the stats — Gallup has reported engagement levels for U.S. employees are just above 30%.

Doug Claffey is founder of Energage, a Philadelphia-based research and consulting firm that surveyed more than 2 million employees at more than 7,000 organizations in 2019. Energage is The Washington Post’s research partner for Top Workplaces.

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