Employee engagement. It’s tossed around a lot, but can you tell the difference between an employee who is truly engaged and one who isn’t?

And, are they really worth the effort?

Highly engaged employees can make a measurable impact on your business. They can help accelerate your growth, attract and retain other top talent, increase your profitability, and more.

Most leaders agree, highly engaged employees are worth the investment. So…

What makes a highly engaged employee tick? What makes them frustrated? What do they really want?

Many highly engaged employees care about things like talking about their progress, having someone around that encourages their development, and having many learning opportunities.

They also want meaningful benefits like flexibility, competitive compensation, and health care.

“Research indicates that workers have three prime needs: Interesting work, recognition for doing a good job, and being let in on things that are going on in the company.”

– Zig Ziglar

How well do you stack up in these core areas?

Do you have interesting work for people to do? Even someone with a “do-the-same-thing-everyday” job can work on a special project that’s interesting and exciting.

Do you give feedback and recognition for work done well?

Do you consistently share things that are going on in the company? (Round tables, team huddles, and town hall meetings are all popular sharing forums these days.)

Research shows the cost of replacing one highly engaged employee can cost 20% or more of that person’s salary. That’s money lost.

Research also shows the reasons employees leave are the same today as they were almost a decade ago.

The good news is, this same research tells us most of the reasons employees leave can be influenced by managers and leadership.

The unfortunate things is, not much has changed in the last decade. People are still leaving for the same reasons, and leaders are still missing the same opportunities to keep their best people around.

Employee engagement can feel like an additional layer of work that has to be done to keep your best performers around.

Done right, however, employee engagement efforts shouldn’t feel like anything extra at all. Employee engagement efforts should simply feel like running your business.