Employee engagement has become a bit of a buzz word in the human resources world. There are thousands are articles and tons of research surrounding employee engagement (we’ve written quite a few ourselves) and its impact on your organization.startup-593299_640

With so much noise out there, it is important to drill down to the basics and remember what employee engagement really is. What do you think of when you hear the phrase? Free lunches, bringing pets to work, ping-pong tables? Employee engagement is so much more than a fun and positive employee experience.

Employee engagement at its core is your employee’s emotional investment in your organization. It is the extent to which employees are willing to go above and beyond; expending more of their time, effort and energy than is requires to just get the job done.  According to a recent blog from IBM Smarter Workforce, there are three simple things employees need to become truly engaged:

Growth– Humans are not content staying in one place for very long. Your employees want to have opportunities to grow and learn both personally and professionally. Growth requires having leadership that provides you with constructive feedback so that you are able to continually become better each day. Feedback must be ongoing. An annual performance review with no other feedback from leadership will not result in engaged employees.

Recognition– Employees need to know that their work is appreciated. Without this recognition, employees will not be likely to go above and beyond. Gratitude doesn’t have to be big or flashy. A handwritten thank you note speaks volumes. For other recognition ideas, check out our free Employee Recognition Toolkit.

Trust– Employees need to trust that the leaders are on the right path to success. No one wants to be aboard a sinking ship. Employees need to understand where the company is headed and trust that leaders know how to help employees get there. Employees also need to know that leadership trusts them.

These three keys to employee engagement don’t have anything to do with unlimited vacation polices or other flashy employee benefits. Instead they get to the core of what employee engagement really is. Are you looking to brainstorm ideas for your organization? Do your leaders need a crash course on employee engagement? Contact a member of our HR team for details.