The Psychology of Engagement: Building Employee Engagement

The Psychology of Engagement: Building Employee EngagementWhen you compare the differences between an engaged employee and a disengaged employee in terms of how each one thinks, feels and behaves it becomes pretty obvious why leaders can’t afford not to invest time and capital in raising levels of engagement in the organization and building an engagement culture.

Based on psychological studies, engaged employees actually experience feelings of exhilaration and a heightened sense of enthusiasm when working, which in turn allows them to work without the negative effects of stress.  They desire opportunities to apply their talents and to make a real difference in the organization which in turn acts as an internal motivator for them to stick around.  They stay for what they can give to the organization instead of what they can get frbuilding engagementom it.

Engaged employees have a clearer line of sight to outcomes than their counterparts and as a result tend to think more efficiently and engage in better decision making for the business. Because they lose themselves in their work they don’t operate on the time clock but rather use discretionary time and effort to get the job done.

They tend to be passionate workers who are committed to the job and work with a sense of pride.  And because of this they tend on average to perform 20% better than other employees and are 87% less likely to leave the organization.

Contrast that with the psychology of the disengaged employee.  They tend to be uninspired, negative, cynical and even skeptical of the organization and its goals.

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The disengaged are actively looking for an exit plan, and will leave you in the lurch as soon as they find one.  Unlike the engaged employee, the disengaged have a “time clock” mindset and watch the clock throughout the day waiting for that day to end.

It’s not as though they are opposed to using discretionary time and effort; and in fact some of them may use that time and effort to operate a business on the side.  It’s just that you’re getting none of it.

At work, they tend to check their brains at the door and work in a disconnected way.  In fact, the tasks they do don’t even have to make sense to them, which in turn results in inefficiencies and very bad decision making on the job that in turn translates into a higher cost to the organization.

Well, the choice is yours.  Build a culture of engagement and reap the benefits of leading a team of owners and entrepreneurs, or be satisfied with 70% or your workforce working in either an unengaged or a disengaged state of mind.

In our next installment we’ll begin looking at the drivers of engagement and how to use them to begin building a culture of engagement.  But that’s all the time we have for this edition of the Support EDGE.  Until next time, be sure all your development initiatives are performance driven and outcomes based.


Eric Svendsen, Ph.D., is principal and lead consultant of SCInc., a learning and development consulting company. Eric has over 20 years experience in creating and executing results-oriented, outcomes-based learning and development initiatives aligned to corporate goals. He specializes in leadership development and coaching, and leading organizational culture-change initiatives around customer support and safety leadership. Eric was personally involved in the development of certification standards, performance standards, exam validation, competency models and training for the customer-support and technical-support industry, and was instrumental in the creation of the only performance-based certification in that industry.

One Response to “The Psychology of Engagement: Building Employee Engagement”

  1. Edward says:

    Interesting. Is this the “subscription form below” that’s mentioned in the banner in the middle of the article?


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