Employee Engagement & Commitment — Know the Difference

It’s more important to understand what your employees need to perform well in their roles, rather than figuring out why they eventually leave. What keeps an individual in an organization and boosts their performance? Let’s find out.

Organizations should spend their energy on ensuring that they can keep the employees they already have (i.e., employee retention), while recruiting remains a difficulty. Just as it is easier to keep a client than to acquire a new one, employers are discovering that it is simpler to keep an employee than to hire a new one.

As a result, firms will prioritize staff retention, which implies that employee engagement will be a priority as well because firms can’t keep employees who aren’t interested in their work. Please note that we used the word “engaged” rather than “committed.” As we read further, we realize that employee engagement and commitment are two different things.

Key Ingredients of Employee Engagement

Employee engagement refers to an employee’s level of involvement in the company’s activities. The level of engagement with an activity is determined by a person’s attitudes, beliefs, and experiences. As a result, leaders bear a significant amount of responsibility for fueling the inherent motivations of employees to maximize their productivity.

Researchers have created measurement methodologies for numerous ingredients that make up employee engagement. These are:

1. Occupying the Job

Psychologist William Kahn drew on studies of job roles and organizational socialization to study the degrees to which people “occupy” job positions. He coined the words “personal involvement” and “personal disengagement.” 

Individuals who are fully engaged in their professional role – physically, intellectually, and emotionally — are said to be “personally engaged.” They uncouple themselves and withdraw from the job during the “personal disengagement” stage.

2. Commitment to the Work and Company

Some experts define commitment as both a willingness to stick with a plan and an unwillingness to modify it, typically due to a sense of obligation to stick with it. People are committed to a variety of entities at the same time including economic, educational, familial, political, and religious institutions.

Employees and employers have had an unspoken agreement in the workplace. In exchange for workers’ devotion, organizations would provide benefits such as stable positions and fair wages.

The intensity of a commitment is influenced by reciprocity. The commitment erodes when an entity or individual to whom someone has made a promise fails to fulfill the expected transaction.

How Engagement Influences Commitment

1. Engagement Increases Commitment

Employees who are engaged are passionate, satisfied, and invested in their work. Employee involvement is linked to improved performance, according to preliminary studies. 

While engaged employees are more likely to be dedicated to the company, not all committed employees are engaged. Individuals who are engaged will perform well and stay with the company, whereas employees who are just dedicated will not.

2. Positive Emotional Attachment to the Organization

In countries where individuals are happiest and most outgoing, having some emotional tie to an organization is more prevalent. It mainly symbolizes some of our values and views.

Many firms, on the other hand, invest significant resources in socializing employees to corporate values to increase emotional attachment, among other things. If companies acknowledged that emotional commitment to a company is more about where we live and our personality than the company itself, time and money might be spent elsewhere.

Organizations Need Performance, Individuals Need Support

For nearly 30 years, the best research into why individuals stay at a company has told us the same thing. People stay for one of three reasons — they identify with or have an emotional commitment to the organization; they feel forced to stay, or it costs more to leave than it does to stay for the time being.

We can make better professional decisions once we grasp these motivations, and businesses can become more effective at boosting performance rather than merely ensuring commitment once we understand them.


Regardless of all the theories, classifications, and research, getting to know people as individuals always seems to work. 

We can find out what we can do to keep each person involved in their job if we realize that everyone’s relationship with their job and organization is unique and that every company is special. This is a lot to ask of an outside consultant, but it’s something that every business, every leader, and each of us can do.