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20 Things Engaged Employees Do that Disengaged Ones Don’t

Posted by Maggie Millard

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Oct 13, 2014 9:36:00 AM

george_carlinOne of my favorite songs from the 80’s is Prince’s "Raspberry Beret." In it, among other things not well suited for this blog, he describes working at the five and dime. When he sees the girl in the raspberry beret, he happens to be, “busy doin’ somethin’ close to nothin’.” Retail work just probably wasn’t a good fit for The Purple One. But he’s not alone; employees all over the world are busy doing something close to nothing, or as George Carlin put it, “Working just hard enough not to get fired.” 

These employees are not all lazy, unmotivated or resentful. Some of them are simply disengaged. If you are looking to justify an investment in programs or tools that support employee engagement, it can be helpful to think about the behaviors and habits of engaged employees as compared to those who are not. Here are 20 things that engaged employees do:

  1. Expend discretionary effort
  2. Have a sense of urgency
  3. Freely offer ideas
  4. Crave feedback
  5. Collaborate and communicate
  6. Energize others
  7. Recruit talent
  8. Promote the company to their social networks
  9. Monitor competitors
  10. Improve processes
  11. Embrace change
  12. Mentor others
  13. Seek training and education
  14. Trust leadership
  15. Treasure customers
  16. Exemplify core values
  17. Ask thoughtful questions
  18. Volunteer for assignments
  19. Display self-confidence
  20. Take company success personally

Surely everyone wants more employees like that, yet only 30% of U.S. employees are engaged in their jobs, according to Gallup research. Why is that? Employee engagement doesn’t happen on accident. Leaders must cultivate and maintain it. Survey after survey shows that what employees need to feel engaged is a sense that their opinions, work, and ideas are valued and that their contributions toward company success are recognized.

Engaged employees aren’t like unicorns. They do exist, and they have a startlingly powerful impact on the bottom line. Gallup's State of the American Workplace report shows that companies with 9.3 engaged employees for every actively disengaged employee experienced 147% higher earnings per share on average compared with their competition. After reading the list of engaged employee behavior, that isn’t much of a surprise.

To learn how to engage your employees, check out our free eBook:

The Savvy's Leader's Guide to Employee Engagement

Topics: Employee Engagement

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