Do Happy Employees = Engaged Employees?

I generally meet a lot of business managers at my executive coaching sessions in London that think that a happy employee equals an engaged employee, but that isn’t always the case.

Businesses with high engagement have better financial performance (higher sales, higher profit, higher staff retention) than those with low engagement (Duh, I can give you the study references if you need).

You can read lots of definitions of happiness and engagement. Happiness is usually a mental or emotional state of positivity and pleasant feelings. So a company can have a bunch of employees who are happy, positive about their colleagues and work environment and being paid to be there. They will likely be loyal and stay. Employee engagement is defined as “someone fully committed and enthusiastic, and would take positive steps to further the company’s purpose and reputation.”

Hear the difference? Happiness is about being in a state of pleasure/joy; engagement is active towards positive impact. Happy employees may actually resist change that engaged employees initiate as they don’t want things to change for fear of losing their feeling about being there.

Engagement necessitates leaders sharing the vision and purpose, so those engaged employees know what they are driving towards. The purpose is often the thing that motivates them to contribute more. It fuels their passion. They need to understand their role in delivering that vision. Leaders need to solicit ideas and opinions from employees so the process becomes a two-way build.

As Penny Loveless stated in her article Employee engagement: are your happy workers disengaged? “Leaders who recognise their people for what they do well will make them happy. Those who inspire and listen to their teams, who urge them to raise their expectations and achieve more, will engage them.”

What would make you more engaged at work? What could you do to engage someone else more?

I am an experienced executive coach in London that helps managers with leadership and confidence skills within the workplace. For more information on my coaching services please call 02031 516 830.