Engagement and safety: Are they related?
By Madison Hanscom, PhD
Employees are engaged when they feel energized, dedicated to their job, and absorbed in their work (1). Engaged employees give companies a competitive advantage because they are willing to go the extra mile. Engagement researchers have found that employee engagement is associated with less burnout and absenteeism, higher job satisfaction, less turnover, stronger organizational commitment, better job performance, and an improved service climate (2). In addition to the organizational benefits, engaged employees experience health benefits such as lower levels of anxiety and depression, higher levels of perceived physical health, and quicker recovery time from work (3).
Clearly, it is wise to strive for an engaged workforce. But how does it translate into safety? Results from a meta-analysis (a study that combines the results from many scientific studies) on employee engagement and business outcomes showed that engagement has strong positive effects on safety (4). And business units within the top quartile of engagement scores have 70% fewer safety incidents compared to bottom-quartile units (5).
So in short:
Yes. Engagement and safety are related. Engagement can actually motivate employees towards safer work (6). Now this begs the question — how can we promote employee engagement in a safety context? Read more on the topic in our blog here.
At Propulo Consulting, we care about the health and wellbeing of all workers. We partner with you to improve the world of work using the latest insights from research. Our team has the expertise to help your business build a safer and healthier culture.
(1) Bakker, A. B., Schaufeli, W. B., Leiter, M. P., & Taris, T. W. (2008). Work engagement: An emerging concept in occupational health psychology. Work & Stress, 22(3), 187-200.
(2) Salanova, M., Agut, S., & Peiró, J. M. (2005). Linking organizational resources and work engagement to employee performance and customer loyalty: the mediation of service climate. Journal of Applied Psychology, 90(6), 1217.
(3) Saks, A. M. (2006). Antecedents and consequences of employee engagement. Journal of Managerial Psychology
(4) Harter, J. K., Schmidt, F. L., & Hayes, T. L. (2002). Business-unit-level relationship between employee satisfaction, employee engagement, and business outcomes: a meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87(2), 268.
(5) Rigoni, B., & Nelson, B. (2016). Retaining employees: How much does money matter?. Gallup Business Journal.
(6) Nahrgang, J. D., Morgeson, F. P., & Hofmann, D. A. (2011). Safety at work: a meta-analytic investigation of the link between job demands, job resources, burnout, engagement, and safety outcomes. Journal of Applied Psychology, 96(1), 71.