The (New) Definition of Employee Engagement

Employee engagement has been one of the most talked-about topics in human capital management for twenty-five years. And yet, despite the attention of professionals from every area of the business world—or maybe because of it—the term itself has never gained a universal definition.

There’s no reason it couldn’t, though. On the whole, all of us who talk about ’employee engagement’ are broadly talking about the same concept, even if it’s easier to identify in practice than to dissect and name. So we took a stab at giving it a proper definition, out of the context of any research study or management theory. This is our proposed definition of ‘employee engagement’ and the thinking that went into it.

What it’s not

Engaged employees are more motivated than disengaged employees. They expend discretionary effort on their work. They’re generally seen as being happy in their jobs. A lot of times, this is what people think of when approaching the term.

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