What You Need to Know About Employee Engagement [Surveys]

For your business to thrive, measuring employee satisfaction is no longer enough. You need to dig deeper and assess the level of engagement and involvement of your employees.

In the past, managing people revolves around “employee satisfaction” where HR measures how satisfied an employee is based on parameters like benefits, perks, and of course, salary.

Today, however, the game has changed. For your business to thrive, you need to do more than just measure how happy your employees are. And this is where Employee Engagement comes into focus — the measure of your employee’s level of passion, commitment, and loyalty to their work. The more engaged your employees are, the more productive they are at work.

Aren’t employee satisfaction and employee engagement the same?

At face value, these two terms are almost synonymous. But they are not. Consider this research from Gallup:

  • Companies that have more than 25 employees have only 29%, engaged workers
  • Small and medium businesses that have less than 25 have 41%, engaged employees

This survey tells us that not all big-business benefits such as higher pay, better pension, more flexible work, etc. can engage employees. They may be satisfied but their level of engagement is down. Employees that are satisfied but less engaged are more likely to leave once a better and more engaging opportunity comes to them.

🙂 Engaged Employee Behaviours ☹️ Disengaged Employee Behaviours
Team player Self-centred
Optimistic Pessimistic
Goes the extra mile at work Leaves early or is frequently absent
Selfless Egocentric
Have a passion for learning and development Focuses on monetary worth
Solution-oriented Negative attitude
Passes along credit where credit is due and accepts mistakes Accepts credit but blames others for his mistakes

So, if it’s not salary or benefits, what engages employees more?

The Drivers of Employee Engagement in the Workplace

Research has shown us that the factors that promote employee engagement in the workplace can be grouped into two key categories — managerial drivers and organizational drivers.

🗯 Managerial Drivers

The level of engagement of employees depends on their day to day relationships with their managers or direct supervisors. Employees tend to be more engaged at work when:

  • They have a good relationship with their manager
  • They have the right equipment to do their work
  • They have the authority needed to do their work well
  • They have the freedom to make work decisions
  • There are clear expectations for the work
  • They have the opportunity to grow either by getting additional training or by receiving constructive feedback

🗯 Organizational Drivers

At the organization level, employees become more engaged at work when:

  • The leaders of the business are committed to making a great workplace
  • They trust their leaders in steering the business in the right direction
  • They believe that the business will become successful in the future
  • They understand clearly how they fit in the organization
  • The leaders treat their employees as their most important asset
  • The leaders invest in programs that make employees more successful

6 Signs That Your Employee Is Unstable

Your work environment can have a significant impact on the mental health of your employees. Studies show that in the UK, 12.7% of all sickness absences are attributed to mental health issues. Also, according to the Mental Health Foundation, 14.7% of people in the country experience mental health problems in their jobs.

On the other hand, companies that invest in promoting the mental and physical wellbeing of their employees through engagement surveys, personalized advice, workshops, and seminars see huge leaps in productivity — mainly due to reduced absenteeism.

Working conditions and environment can have a huge impact on mental health and, equally, someone’s mental health can have a significant impact to perform well in their job

How will you know if your employee is suffering from mental health problems? Watch out for the following signs and symptoms below:

1/ Work habit changes

For most HR, decreased productivity and changes in the work habits of employee X is usually a performance management issue. But in reality, chalking this up as poor performance only scratches the surface. The root cause of issues like inability to focus and lack of motivation is a mental health concern.

2/ Dramatic changes in personality

If employee X is expressing drastic personality changes such as irritability, restlessness, being tense and worried, and nervousness, then he is most likely suffering from a mental health issue.

3/ Changes in physical appearance

Employee X arriving at the office unkempt? One of the telltale signs that an employee is becoming unstable is when he starts to violate your dress code policy regularly. Employees who have difficulty coping up with their mental health problems usually neglects personal grooming and don’t give a dime about their physical appearance.

4/ Mood swings

Mental illness is also the culprit behind sudden outbursts of emotion. If employee X begin to exhibit disruptive behaviour in the workplace (e.g. not following the rules, overreacting, becoming too aggressive or too withdrawn), then he most likely has a mental health issue that he’s finding hard a time coping up with.

5/ Tardiness

Another visible sign that your employee is suffering from mental health issues is tardiness. They either go home early, arrive at work late, or worse, not come to work at all. For these employees, managing personal life and work is becoming a huge burden and it becomes obvious in their performance and attendance.

6/ Avoiding interaction

Employee X who used to be the life of the party is slowly becoming a loner? This visible change is a sign that he is becoming unstable. He prefers to become an introvert so no one knows what’s happening in his life.

How You Can Engage and Support the Well-Being of Your Office and Remote Employees

We can’t overemphasize the importance of maintaining the well-being of your workers. Keeping your employees engaged and investing in their well-being increases morale, improve retention rates, and boost productivity. Here are some tips on how you can do this:

1/ Always communicate

Communication is one of the simplest and most effective ways to connect with your employees. Simply asking them how they are coping with work and other challenges will mean a lot. As a manager, you can do daily virtual meetings, send weekly email updates, and even use online chat to keep tabs with everyone under your wing — whether they are in the office or working at home.

It can be daunting to approach someone but we encourage you to be proactive so potential issues can be resolved early.

2/ Focus on creating and maintaining a safe workplace

The risk of getting Covid is always there. Showing that your company is serious about reducing the risk of coronavirus transmission at work gives your employees peace of mind. Below are some steps you can do:

  • Close areas where people cluster together like kitchens and break rooms, temporarily.
  • Create visual prompts that reinforce social distancing (e.g. lanes in the hallway, standing spots in the lobby, etc.)
  • Deep clean the office regularly
  • Supply your employees with alcohol, masks, etc.
  • Implement minimum person density in certain areas of the workplace

For remote employees, you can invest in things that improve their working environment like better chairs, desks, etc.

3/ Establish an employee assistance program

There are cases where employees prefer to talk about their issues with people who are not their direct supervisors or manager. This is where HR can step in. Let your employees know that HR can give support for professional and other work-related issues. The aim of the employee assistance program should be to make your employees comfortable and encourage them to talk about the issues they are experiencing.

4/ Encourage socializing but with a twist

With most of your communal areas in the office close and a portion of your workforce working at home, don’t be surprised when the majority of your employees feel alone and isolated. The responsibility falls on you to create a safe socialising activity like virtual coffee catchups where team members can talk about anything outside of work.

5/ Encourage employees to take breaks

This tip is more applicable to your remote workers. Unlike in the office where the boundaries between work and personal time are clear, employees working at home tend to work too much. Encourage your remote employees to take short breaks throughout the day. You can also do the same thing to your office workers. Short and frequent breaks are a great way to keep your employees’ minds attentive and fresh —what a way to boost engagement and employee wellbeing!

6/ Give your employees flexibility

No doubt, Covid-19 has disrupted work as we know it. As your organization slowly return to the office, give your employees the flexibility to choose whether they want to continue working at home or go back to the office. As an employer, your primary responsibility is to educate your employees about the safety measures you’ve undertaken to guarantee a safe workplace when they return.

You can also introduce some flexibility on work hours. For example, you can implement staggered working hours so not everyone arrives at the same time and you can keep the number of employees in the office at a minimum. Flexible working hours can be extended to your remote employees too as juggling work, household chores, and children can be quite stressful. Easing the workload of your remote employees in this manner can be a great way to boost their engagement and well-being.


Your biggest asset is your people. With the world still plunged into a pandemic, nothing is more important than making sure that your employees’ well-being is well-taken care of. Focusing on employee satisfaction based on salary, perks, and benefits don’t cut it anymore. Times have changed and employees are now looking for companies that care. The more you care about the well-being of your workers, the more they become engaged and more loyal to your organization.

Are you looking for a way to measure the engagement level of your employees? Check out Sage HR’s Engagement Surveys today!

Engagement Surveys Dashboard. Once you have finalised (completed) your first survey* a dashboard will appear under the Engagement Surveys tab where you'll be able to see the eNPS and Engagement results at a glance.
Engagement Surveys Dashboard in Sage HR.

According to research, engaged employees produce better business outcomes than other employees. Therefore, measuring employee satisfaction is not enough, we need to understand better the level of motivation and involvement of our collaborators.

Engagement Surveys. All templates can be customised by editing, adding, or removing questions.
Engagement Surveys. All templates can be customised by editing, adding, or removing questions.

With Engagement Surveys, you can start assessing the level of engagement of your employees, identify your Employee Net Promoter Score, and most importantly identify possible improvements in order for your organisation to thrive.


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Written By

Lenmark Anthony Baltazar

I have been living a life of HR for as long as I can remember. My experiences helped me realize that true happiness comes from being a blessing to the lives of others. I hope my skills and talents will be a blessing to you as well.