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3 Types Employee Engagement

3 Types Of Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is a measure of how dedicated your employees are to their job and your company. It has an influence on everything, from employee performance to your company’s earnings. It’s no surprise that it’s a major concern for most HR and employers today.

Therefore, understanding employee engagement is essential in order to foster a positive work environment and improve overall productivity. 

Psychologist William Kahn has categorized employee engagement into three types based on how employees feel while at work: cognitive, emotional, and physical. Meanwhile, employee engagement can be classified into three types according to the levels of engagement: engaged, not engaged, and disengaged.

These two different classifications of employee engagement are that the latter is the result of the former. As you can understand, how an employee feels while at work will impact how they behave.

3 Types Of Employee Engagement Based On How Employees Feel While At Work

When employees feel engaged at work, it’s usually the result of a combination of cognitive, emotional, and physical factors. Let’s see these defined by William Kahn in detail.

Cognitive Engagement

Cognitive engagement refers to the extent to which employees are mentally involved in their work. This means they’re fully focused on their tasks, actively solving problems, and seeking new ways to contribute to the organization. 

When an employee is cognitively engaged, they’re likely to be more innovative and creative in their approach to work. 

For example, a software developer who is cognitively engaged might proactively suggest new features for a product, rather than just sticking to their assigned tasks.

Emotional Engagement

Emotional engagement revolves around the extent to which employees feel a strong emotional connection to their job and workplace. Employees who are emotionally engaged care about the company’s goals, the well-being of their colleagues, and their own personal development. 

An example of emotional engagement is a customer service representative who empathizes with a client’s concerns and goes above and beyond to address their needs, leading to a positive customer experience.

Physical Engagement

Physical engagement is the degree to which employees are willing to invest their physical energy into their work. Physically engaged employees are proactive, resilient, and consistently put effort into their tasks. 

For example, a warehouse worker who consistently meets or exceeds productivity goals, ensuring that shipments are processed efficiently and accurately.

3 Types Of Employee Engagement According to The Levels Of Engagement

Employee attitudes and performance levels in terms of engagement and devotion can greatly impact a company’s success and overall work environment. By understanding the various levels of engagement, HR professionals and employers can make informed decisions to improve workforce motivation and commitment. Let’s delve into the three levels of employee engagement: engaged, not engaged, and disengaged. 


Engaged employees are those who are passionate, committed, and genuinely care about their work and the company. They consistently perform at their best, contribute to the organization’s success, and have higher job satisfaction. Engaged employees tend to act as brand ambassadors, promoting a positive image of the company both internally and externally. 

Not engaged

Not engaged employees may be content with their job but lack enthusiasm and motivation. They typically do the bare minimum required, without investing additional effort or going the extra mile. These employees may be more focused on their personal life than on their professional development, which can lead to stagnation and limited growth for the company. 


Disengaged employees are those who are unhappy, unproductive, and potentially detrimental to the organization. They often exhibit a negative attitude towards their job and may actively seek new opportunities elsewhere. Disengaged employees can bring down the morale of their colleagues and damage the company’s reputation through negative word-of-mouth or poor customer interactions. 

Final Thought

Employee engagement is a critical aspect of organizational success and plays a pivotal role in shaping a company’s work environment, productivity, and overall performance. 

By comprehending the different dimensions of employee engagement – cognitive, emotional, and physical – and the levels of engagement – engaged, not engaged, and disengaged – employers and HR professionals can make informed decisions to create an environment that fosters engagement and commitment.

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