Does Employee Involvement Equate to Engagement?
Is there a distinction between employee engagement and employee involvement? We're looking for an objective and meaningful way to measure it. —<i>Stuck on Semantics, senior training director, hospitality, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam</i>
Dear Stuck on Semantics:
To understand the difference between employee engagement and employee involvement, let's start by defining each one. Employee engagement is defined generally as a strong desire to be part of the value an organization creates. Engaged employees exhibit three key characteristics. Namely, they:
1) Exhibit a strong emotional and intellectual bond with their organization.
2) Exert discretionary effort that helps the organization realize better outcomes for their organization.
3) Take co-ownership of their own engagement and commit to improve.
In contrast, employee involvement is defined as an environment in which workers are encouraged to, and can directly impact, the decisions and activities in their work environment. Yet not all items on an employee engagement survey measure involvement. For instance, a question probing whether the employee has considered resigning during the previous six months tells you nothing about involvement, whereas the following question does provide great insight: "I have an opportunity to participate in decisions made by my supervisor that affect my work environment."
Essentially, employee involvement entails involving workers in decision-making, continuous improvement and change-initiative activities. You could encourage employees to volunteer for extra assignments or to serve on key task forces, or you could assign them to take on such duties. On the flip side, engaged employees will volunteer for duty without much (or any) encouragement.
Some of employee involvement is the flip side of engagement. The reverse of that is engaged.
Your managers should regularly solicit, and deeply value, each employee's involvement. Organizations around the world must regularly demonstrate their concern for staff, monitor engagement levels and make changes that increase employee involvement. An annual employee engagement survey is one place to start.
SOURCE: Kevin A. Sheridan, Avatar HR Solutions, Chicago
LEARN MORE: Please read "What Is a Reasonable Level for Employee Engagement?"
The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.