Employee Engagement Levels & Segmentation

What’s the difference between employees who are engaged and those who are not?

” … engaged employees stay for what they give (they like their work) [whereas] disengaged employees stay for what they get (favorable job conditions, growth opportunities, job security).”

This excerpt is from research firm BlessingWhite’s  2008 Employee Engagement Report, specifically its North American findings. (Note: You can also find highlights of their global research in the UK/Ireland, Germany, Europe, and Asia-Pacific regions on their website.)

Levels of Engagement

BlessingWhite’s research also describes five employee segments that vary by the level of contribution to a company’s success and the employee’s job satisfaction:

  • The Engaged– high contribution & high satisfaction. A most desirable group, yet one that still needs attention. Employers must keep these workers engaged or risk them falling into one of the next three segments.
  • Almost Engaged– medium to high contribution & satisfaction. A valuable group within reach of full engagement.
  • Honeymooners and Hamsters– medium to high satisfaction, but low contribution. Being relatively new to the company, Honeymooners are happy to be there although they haven’t yet figured out how best to contribute. Hamsters, however, may be working hard, yet contribute little to the success of the company; i.e., spinning their wheels.
  • Crash & Burners– medium to high contribution, but low satisfaction. These workers perform well, but are disillusioned and dissatisfied with the company. They have the potential to become totally disengaged while negatively influencing other employees.
  • The Disengaged – low to medium contribution & satisfaction. This group is “the most disconnected from organizational priorities, often feel underutilized, and are clearly not getting what they need from work.” If these workers can’t be coached to higher levels of engagement, an exit strategy would benefit both employee and the company.

To learn more, check out BlessingWhite’s 2008 Employee Engagement Report that also contains management tips on how to effectively engage employees. My favorite is the one that asks managers to reflect where they find themselves on the engagement spectrum. It’s a fascinating question: how long can a manager continue to inspire and engage others when his/her own job satisfaction and contribution are below par?

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