Employee engagement is a positive for a lot of different reasons. Organizations not only want engaged employees, but they want highly engaged employees and they want the behaviors of engaged employees to rub off on those employees that are lacking. What exactly is the power of employee engagement on performance in the work place?
It is important to not only think of employee engagement as an attitude but also as a set of behaviors. You know when you meet a truly engaged employee because almost everything about them says “engaged” and it is beyond communication and attitude.
Some researchers say that engaged employees’ behaviors and attitudes to perform better in the workplace. Dalal, Baysinger, Brummel, and LeBreton (2012) state that because organizational citizenship behaviors are impacted by engaged employees, performance can also increase as a result. This makes sense; think about yourself or a coworker who is highly engaged at their job. What behaviors does this employee engage in? Most engaged employees help others in the workplace and tend to spread a positive affect.
How does this affect change the workplace? When engaged employees are contributors of organizational citizenship behaviors, they do tend to be high performers. They take their attitudes and make them actions in regards to their work and communicating with coworkers. The researchers even go so far as to describe engaged employees as “full of energy.” It would follow then that if employees are full of energy and positive people, that their performance would be optimal.
In speaking with coworkers and friends, it is possible for people to go through spurts of engagement on the job. After all, we are all human and not every single day of work leaves us feeling highly engaged and ready to tackle the world. I know for me there are some days that are harder than others, but the majority of days I do feel the sense of energy that the researchers describe.
Organizationally speaking, it is important than for organizations to keep energy high in the workplace. It is also essential that employees feel that that have enough challenge throughout their day without feeling completely drowned with a heavy workload. It is hard to perform well when there is simply too much.
What are your thoughts on the connection between employee engagement and performance?
Dalal, R., Baysinger, M., Brummel, B., & LeBreton, J. (2012). The relative importance of employee engagement, other job attitudes, and trait affect as predictors of job performance. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 42, 295-325.