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Posted 5 December 2019 by
Timothy Amudala

Employee engagement does not equal engaged employees

In a recent article in Harvard Business Review on LinkedIn, titled “ 1 in 5 Employees Is Highly Engaged and at Risk of Burnout”, Emma Seppala, Ph.D., and Julia Moeller, Ph.D. observe that although employee engagement increases productivity and quality, increased safety and employee retention, it may not always be a good barometer to measure employee burnout.

Types of employee engagement

The authors’ research at Yale University and data from Gallup suggests three types of employee engagement:

  • Unengaged (Gallup statistic, 7 in 10 employees)
  • Optimally engaged: Employees with high engagement and low burnout (Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, 2 in 5 employees)
  • Engaged-exhausted: Employees reporting both high engagement and high burnout (Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, 1 in 5 employees).

Employee engagement

The authors noted that the engaged-exhausted group, while high performing was also the highest in terms of turnover intentions even greater than the unengaged group. This suggests that it is not enough to just engage employees but address the quality of engagement. The authors propose that managers and HR departments employ smart engagement:

  • Provide enough resources, support, acknowledgment, and opportunities for recovery to do the job well.
  • Ensure employee goals are realistic and rebalance workloads to ensure that the workload is not solely based on an employee’s productivity or skill but more measured to allow for recovery and reduce burnout.
  • Increase empathy and friendship in the workplace and allow employees to disengage from work after hours and during weekends and vacations.

Smart engagement at Binocs

Binocs enables smart engagement by:

  • Providing a real-time resource availability, capacity, and utilization picture so resources can be appropriately allocated.
  • Providing a real-time workload picture so the workload can be re-balanced easily.
  • Providing employees, a clear view of their schedules so they are empowered to plan for and sustain a realistic work-life balance.

While employers may put the onus on employees as professionals to identify signs of burnout and speak up, it has to be a shared responsibility between HR departments, managers and leaders to ensure that the workplace is supportive and empathetic to allow employees to be engaged and unencumbered to discover the right balance.