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Happiness & Engagement at Work – Correlation or Causation?

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There’s been a lot of attention paid in recent years by business leaders and media to employee engagement. And for good reason – research studies have shown that engaged employees are good for business. Employee engagement has a direct impact on productivity, company culture, and brand (both the commercial and employment brand). And according to a Gallup study on the subject, disengaged employees can be a drag on the bottom line – costing the U.S. companies anywhere between $450 and $550 billion in lost productivity per year.

How do we define engaged employees?

Engaged employees are the ones who have positive feelings toward their employers along with a strong willingness to go above and beyond job expectations. According to our research, there seems to be a compelling link between employee engagement and employee happiness. In our most recent study of talent attitudes and behaviors, 87% of happy employees say they are engaged at work… and 82% of employees who say they are extremely engaged at work also say they are happy. Cause and effect? Chicken and the egg? It’s hard to say, but there is definitely a strong correlation.

What's The Common Factor?

Happy employees and engaged employees have other commonalities – they are more productive, and they also feel valued and respected at work.  Training and professional growth is also something that connects them. Both are more likely to say they are satisfied with their progress on their career path and feel like they are continuously growing at their company. So companies that invest in the professional development and formalized career pathing of their employees almost certainly pump up the volume of both happiness and engagement in the workplace. That’s like getting two business benefits for the price of one!

Your Game Plan

One final upside of having happy and engaged employees to consider: both of these employee types are a significantly lower flight risk than their unhappy and unenthused peers. Remember, it’s a tough hiring market out there. It might be easier to set in motion strategies to increase happiness and engagement of your current employees than to have to win over new ones in today’s competitive talent market.