Leadership and Employee Engagement

by Yasmine Moulin 

Defining Employee Engagement

There is not a universal clear definition of employee engagement among both academic researches and practitioners. Because of such confusion, it has led to misunderstandings on what is employee engagement.

Kahn (1990) first coined the term and defined employee engagement as the “harnessing of organization members’ selves to their work roles; in engagement, people employ and express themselves physically, cognitively, and emotionally during role performances” (Kahn, 1990, p. 694).

Engaged employees are fully committed in helping their organization succeed and enthusiastic about their work and job responsibilities. They also display a higher involvement and attachment to their organization.

Symptoms of Disengagement

Key symptoms of employee disengagement include an increase in absenteeism, coming in late and leaving early, taking longer lunches and breaks, showing little initiative or interest in their work, lack of creativity and innovation, and lack of trust or simply stated checking-out.

Drivers of Employee Engagement

There are many drivers for employee engagement including: Communication; leaders having an interest in employees’ well-being; having challenging work and opportunity for career advancement; having a collaborative work environment; positive culture; and having a clear vision regarding the organization’s present and future goals.

Communication truly is at the core of effective relationship and trust building, having a collaborative work environment, and having a clear understanding of an organization’s goals and vision. Leaders need to ensure there is clear, open, honest, consistent, and frequent communication.

Communication via email, blogs, website, memorandums etc. are effective, however, informal discussions and face-to-face communication is best.


There is no “Employee Engagement 101” handbook for leaders to refer to. Employee engagement is not a quick fix and does not happen overnight. It is an ongoing process that needs to be encouraged and nurtured.

Open and honest two-way communication is at the top of building lasting relationships and trust, that directly encourages employee engagement.

A high level of employee engagement is a fundamental key of operational effectiveness, profitability, and strategic planning.

Continuing this discussion will help leaders harness in on a higher level of employee engagement and in turn ensure their organization has a competitive advantage and is successful in today’s global business world.


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Yasmine Moulin is owner of Yasmine Moulin Consulting, providing professional development, executive leadership programs, social media branding and marketing, and business management consulting services. Yasmine has been in the continuing professional education field for financial professionals and business leaders for many years. She has successfully planned and developed executive education and professional development programs for VPs, CEOs, CFOs, and senior leaders. Yasmine was an early adopter of social media & saw the power it has to build relationships, brand awareness & authentic engagement with clients & potential new clients. This lead her to being a social media consultant and strategist. Previously, Yasmine was in the English as a Second Language (ESL) industry including being an ESL teacher and English & French tutor. Yasmine holds a Master of Arts in Leadership from Royal Roads University. Combining executive, management, business & leadership experience along with education & professional development, her focus & passion is in helping clients & their teams obtain their professional & personal goals. Yasmine currently lives in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

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