Back To Career News

Employee Engagement: What Does It Mean?

Topics: Work Culture

Employee engagement is a term you might have heard more of lately. The reason why? It is no longer enough for companies to be successful by simply doing business as usual.

Companies now understand the business advantage of having engaged employees who are passionate about not only the work at hand, but also the company culture. From the company’s perspective, there are a few key reasons why engaged employees are crucial to the success of the business.

  •  Engaged employees are less likely to leave, which saves the company turnover costs.
  •  Engaged employees are more likely to advocate for the company
  •  Engaged employees are a positive influence on company culture

Now, knowing what we know about engaged employees being valuable to companies these days, what does it actually mean to be an engaged employee? We at PayScale did some digging on this very topic for a recent report, The Formula for a Winning Company Culture. It turns out that being an engaged employee is more nuanced than simply being a high performer and contributing to company culture.

Our study breaks out employee engagement into a few key areas. Think of these areas as opportunity for engagement. Being actively involved in any or a combination of these can help you become more engaged with the company you work for. If you’re not getting any of these offerings from your current company, consider yourself disengaged.

Frequent Two-Way Communication With Your Manager

Are you and your manager able to communicate openly and honestly? Or is your manager situation more like reporting to Bill Lumbergh from Office Space? If you find yourself in the first scenario, keep nurturing that positive communication with your manager. If your relationship is more like a Bill Lumbergh-type situation, it may be time to have a deeper conversation with your manager about how you can better communicate together.

Opportunities For Learning and Development

Does your employer provide you with enough opportunities to grow and expand your career? Do you get to go to industry conferences? Are you getting the right certification opportunities? If you’re receiving any combination of these, you likely work for a company that wants to see you grow and expand your career within the organization. If you keep hitting a wall when it comes to furthering your skill set, it might be time to look elsewhere for work, or have a serious conversation with your manager.

Company Outlook

This is a pretty easy one. Do you think your company has a bright future? Are they headed in the right direction? Are they growing in a way that is against your core values or hopes? Don’t ignore the bad feelings in your gut. If you don’t believe your company has a future, you don’t have a future at the company. On the other hand, if you believe your company has a bright outlook, you’re probably working at the right place.

Relationship With Your Manager

If you have a bad relationship with your manager, you probably already have one foot out the door. On the other side of that same coin, we can’t say enough about how having a not-totally-terrible manager can completely change the way you experience working for a company. If you’re having problems with the way you and your manager work together and you aren’t getting anywhere, consider having a discussion with the director of your team or someone from HR.

Salary Process

Are you OK with the way pay is determined at your company? Do you think the way pay is determined is a fair and transparent process? If you aren’t sure, take the PayScale Salary Survey to find out if you’re currently underpaid or not. If you find out that you are, it’s probably a good time to talk to your  manager about negotiating a raise or a promotion. When employees feel like their pay isn’t determined fairly, it affects their performance and engagement with the company.


Feeling appreciated at work can make or break your experience at a company. Are you getting the right recognition and appreciation for your work? Do others take credit for your achievements? If you aren’t feeling appreciated at work, you might get the feeling that your work and contributions don’t even matter. A lack of feeling appreciated is no good for anyone, including the company you work for.


Job satisfaction comes down to one basic question: are you satisfied working for your employer? If you love what your company stands for, if you believe in the brand and the company mission, you likely feel satisfied with your job. If you go home everyday feeling empty and drained, you already know that you aren’t satisfied, and your nine-to-five is probably to blame.

Intent to Leave

Are you planning on leaving your job in the next six months? It may seem like a loaded question, but if you don’t see yourself sticking around for the near future, obviously your company has missed the mark when it comes to nurturing you as an employee. Either that, or your goals and values simply don’t line up. Maybe the job was advertised differently than the work you’re actually having to do. Your intent to leave could be based on a number of factors listed here or elsewhere. The bottom line is that engaged employees tend to stay at a company longer than non-engaged employees.

Check out PayScale’s latest whitepaper, The Formula for a Winning Company Culture.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Tell Us What You Think

Do you consider yourself an engaged employee? We want to hear from you! Comment below or join the discussion on Twitter!

Leave a Reply

2 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
2 Comment authors
PamBill Fotsch Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Bill Fotsch
Bill Fotsch

I appreciate the author’s interest in engagement, but have a somewhat simpler, holistic perspective. If engagement does not lead to improved business results, most shareholders, managers and even enlightened self interested employees don’t care. Empowering employees to think and act like owners, driving and participating in the profitable growth of the company, is a proven way to drive results and engagement. Industry leaders like Southwest Airlines, Capital One and BHP Billiton and hundreds of private companies treat their employees like… Read more »


I do not get paid what I am worth that makes me very angry I am old the business doesn’t want to offer me full time because they don’t want to pay my health insurance. I have been in retail for 12 years PAY SCALE SAYS I make less money than anyone in my profession. Hey everyone true story The place I work for gets mad if I go over hours even if I am a reliable employee. Anyone out… Read more »

What Am I Worth?

What your skills are worth in the job market is constantly changing.