Employee engagement: van behalen naar behouden

Employee Engagement

Published on 30 Jan 2023 by Alex ten Klei

You can't have missed it: job hopping is hot, and finding good people is difficult. And once you employ good people? Then it isn't easy to bind them to you for a longer period. One way to bind people to you is to increase employee engagement. You can read how to do that in this blog, but not before we take a step back and consider the phenomenon of employee engagement.

What is employee engagement?

Although I'm not a big fan of it, I can't help but use a few English words when explaining employee engagement. Because if you translate employee engagement into Dutch, you quickly end up with employee involvement. But commitment is more than just being involved. It's more in the corner of engagement. There is also a lot of feeling involved, in other words: emotional commitment. Therefore, I would like to explain employee engagement as employees' emotional commitment to positively propagate an organization's vision. Within this enthusiasm, you will find different gradations that, later, help you as an organization. But why is employee engagement so important for organizations?

Why employee engagement matters

Imagine: you employ an employee who is not afraid to speak negatively about the company. Clearly, this employee is not having a good time and thus leaves a negative mark on the performance of the entire team. What does this do to the rest of the employees? And how does this affect the future of the organization? Both answers are likely to be as negative as the employee's behaviour.

But then the consequences of employees with a high employee engagement; what is this impact on both the employees themselves and the organization as a whole?

  • The employees are motivated
  • The employees experience great job satisfaction
  • There is a safe environment; if you have a good relationship with your colleagues, you share compliments and constructive criticism

When there is a positive climate, as shown by these points, there is a good chance that people will also want to commit to you as a company for a longer period. They are proud to propagate the company's vision actively and are just as active in helping to make it happen.

Also interesting: Why being nice has a big impact on your organization

The employee engagement model

To explain employee engagement, I like to use the model that Gallup calls the Employee Engagement Model. Employees have four needs: basic, individual, teamwork and growth.

Employee Engagement Model

By actively working on the bottom three needs, growth comes naturally. For example, a basis in the form of a safe working environment with trust and support leads to growth at individual and team levels. However, you are not supposed to start at the bottom and work your way up; think of it more as providing the basics so that positive results are achieved at the other levels.

The 3 types of employees

Before we look at ways to increase employee engagement, it is good to clearly understand the different levels of engagement, as briefly mentioned earlier.

1. Engaged
When an employee is engaged, they are very involved in and enthusiastic about the company and the work. Employees take ownership of their tasks and actively work to improve the company. These employees like to run faster when necessary or make time for a customer's problem.

2. Not engaged
Employees who are not engaged feel disconnected from the company and their work. They do put the time, but not the necessary passion and energy into the work. For example, someone does the work out of a sense of duty and not out of interest or intrinsic motivation.

3. Actively disengaged
Actively disengaged employees are not only dissatisfied with their work, they actively propagate this dissatisfaction. For example, by talking negatively about colleagues, projects or managers. These are often employees who are already busy with other work.

How do you increase employee engagement?

If, as an HR professional, you are wondering about your organisation's employee engagement, there is a good chance of improvement. You can read a few practical tips below to work on employee engagement actively.

Tip 1: Start the conversation

Ask your employees how emotionally committed they are to work on business success. Not only do you get valuable information, but employees also feel heard. Use questions like:

  • Do you think you work in a safe environment?
  • How do you relate to your colleagues?
  • How would you describe the relationship with your colleagues?
  • Do you feel connected to the company?
  • Does work lead to a sense of meaning in your life?

Tip 2: Provide a clear vision

There is a good chance that almost every employee wants to contribute actively to the company's vision. But is this vision known to everyone? And does everyone know how their work contributes to the company's bigger picture?

Tip 3: Don't be afraid to filter

When employee engagement becomes an active topic on the company agenda, it is also easier to act actively. Are any employees who do not (or no longer) connect to the company's vision and behave 'actively disengaged'? Then don't be afraid to filter and say goodbye to these employees. And a bonus tip for the long term: by being alert to these signals during recruitment, you reduce the chance that you will have to filter within your employees at a later stage.


I want to say to anyone who feels that employee engagement could be improved: put it on the agenda. You already take an important first step by acknowledging that something needs to be done with it. Also see it as a continuous process, because just like with good people, it also applies to employee engagement: achieving is one thing, but retaining is on a completely different level.

Soon you will read my blog about various activities we have done in the field of employee engagement. Can't wait, or would you like to know more about the influence of team building on employee engagement? Then contact us without obligation.

Alex ten Klei

Chief Play Officer

Developing skills and mindsets with gamification and team building solutions.

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