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Resources > Blog > Employee Engagement

Characteristics of engaged employees

Engaged employees are important for any organisation. But, how do you know if an employee is engaged? Here are the top traits of engaged employees.

20 Oct, 2022

6 mins

Employee Engagement
Clélie Protopapas image

Clélie Protopapas

Content Marketing Manager

Most companies understand that employee engagement is vital for productivity and staff retention. But do they know what an engaged employee looks like?

Employee engagement is a big buzzword in the workplace right now. It goes beyond employee satisfaction and focuses on employees’ emotional commitment to their work, team and company. An engaged employee truly believes in the company’s purpose and goals and can see how their work fits that bigger picture. When employees are engaged, they are typically more productive and, as a result, can boost a company’s profitability by as much as 22%.

With an engaged workforce, your company is more likely to be able to reach its full potential and can make all the difference in ensuring it has a good foothold in a competitive market. Furthermore, organisations that boast a highly engaged workforce also have the highest reputations, which can be a powerful tool in recruiting top talent.

Read on to learn more about how you can tell if your employees are engaged and the key characteristics to look out for.

How do I know if employees are engaged?

To increase your company’s chances of success, you must focus on nurturing your biggest asset, your employees. Your employees are involved in almost every element of your business, so ensuring they are happy and engaged in their work and feel valued makes good business sense. 

Measuring employee engagement will help you understand how truly engaged your employees are, identify areas to improve, manage issues before they escalate, and help you better understand employee turnover. You can also use it to spot positive or negative trends, identify your best teams and managers and improve business performance. There are several ways you can measure employee engagement. However, what is most important is that you focus on communicating the results to all your workforce.

If your employees believe the process has simply been a tick-box exercise, they will quickly become disengaged and reluctant to participate in future employee engagement research. Communicating your findings effectively and promptly shows your employees that you value what they say, encourages employees to share their ideas and shows them that you are constantly looking for ways to improve.

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12 characteristics of highly engaged employees

What are the characteristics of employee engagement that set engaged employees apart? Here are 12 common traits of engaged employees.

1. They are innovative

Engaged employees have the energy and inclination to take on new and challenging tasks. They are always ready to think outside the box and develop solutions and find new ways to improve their work. As they feel a strong connection to their work, they are more likely to share their ideas with their team, which will benefit everyone. Innovation is about looking beyond what we do today to see the big picture. Employees who don’t feel engaged are more likely to only focus on what they need to do right now and rarely come up with fresh, new ideas.

2. They have good leadership qualities

Employees actively disengaged or only satisfied with their work are often reluctant to take on more responsibility, such as leadership roles or tasks. They don’t have the energy or enthusiasm for it or think it’s too much work and effort for little return. A highly engaged employee, however, will be keen to take on leadership tasks, however minor or complex. They have the confidence and drive to take on new responsibilities and may relish the opportunity to manage a team, lead a new project or liaise with senior management.

3. They make excellent role models

Engaged employees are positive role models, always ready to offer guidance and support, have the right attitude, show respect to others, maintain their schedule and always complete their work on time. They are more likely to offer to take on tasks, even if it’s outside their usual remit, and have more complex tasks delegated to them.

4. They are good communicators

Engaged employees are proactive communicators and confident to proactively connect with their colleagues to keep the work channels running smoothly. They are more likely to feel empowered to provide feedback or share concerns and make suggestions for improvements. Engaged employees also tend to be good listeners, respectful of different opinions, take on all types of feedback and recognise and celebrate when colleagues have done good work.

5. They are easier to work with

While disengaged employees are likely to be more challenging and demanding to work with and manage, engaged employees are typically positive, cooperative, supportive and motivated individuals that are nicer to be around and easier to work with. The attitude and behaviour of engaged employees make the work environment a positive one that’s enjoyable for everyone. They are team players by nature who want the best for everyone and allow no room for any toxicity.

6. They are excited to come to work

While disengaged employees are likely to have more sick days, engaged employees are more enthusiastic about coming to work and have better attendance and higher productivity. They don’t spend their working day just thinking about the moment they can head out the door at the end of the day. They feel connected to their work and the company’s goals, making them look forward to coming to work each day and being part of the company.

7. They have an excellent attitude

As you might expect, engaged employees tend to have an excellent attitude towards their work and the company they work for. They are great ambassadors for the company inside and outside work and always try to maintain a can-do attitude even when faced with challenges. Their positive work ethic and enthusiasm can positively impact others, especially underperforming employees who may have become disengaged from their work.

8. They are effective collaborators

A key sign that employees are engaged is their ability to collaborate frequently and effectively with others, including colleagues, management, and external suppliers and individuals. Engaged employers want to do great work for their company and understand that to do so requires working with others to get things done rather than only focusing on their own work. Collaboration also stems from wanting to help others succeed and reach their goals, as engaged employees are more focused on working with their colleagues than competing against them.

9. They are interested in development opportunities

Engaged employees are more likely to want to pursue opportunities that improve their skills and further their careers. They don’t want to remain in their role as it is but challenge themselves to grow and progress to benefit themselves and the organisation. Engaged employees will proactively look for these opportunities, whether signing up for training, attending conferences or volunteering for certain projects. For employees that feel motivated and engaged, this type of development is more than just about progressing their careers but also about using their new skills and knowledge to benefit the organisation.

10. They are flexible and adaptable

Change is expected in any organisation, whether it’s new colleagues, technology, policies, processes, organisational structure or introducing new products or services. Engaged employees are motivated by their emotional connection to the company rather than the specific work they do each day. This makes it easier for them to adapt to change as long as they understand why these changes are occurring. Engaged employees aren’t deterred by the idea of learning new things, even if it’s outside their comfort zone.

11. They are prepared to go the extra mile

As the new workplace phenomenon of quiet quitting gathers pace, some employees strictly stick to their working hours and avoid going beyond their job description. However, engaged employees are willing to go above and beyond to ensure a task is complete or to help a customer. A company with highly engaged employees is 22% more productive than those with lower engagement rates. Engaged employees tend to exceed the goals set for them, and on the rare times they don’t, they’ll assess what went wrong to avoid it happening again.

12. They tend to stick around for longer

Employees with high levels of engagement tend to be passionate about their jobs and are likelier to want to stay with the company, even during tough times. They are both loyal and have greater levels of resilience through difficult times. If you have departments in your company with significantly reduced turnover rates than others, these are where you’ll likely find engaged employees.

Employee engagement can be directly related to productivity. If you’re not seeing many of the traits above among your workforce, it might be time to review your employee engagement strategies. The more engaged employees you have, the better it is for the company. If you need help getting started, Seenit’s employee-led video platform is a great way to show you value your employees and increase employee engagement.


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