Employee engagement is a phrase that often is tossed around when executives and business managers are seeking ways to increase productivity, boost teamwork, retain talent and improve their company’s bottom line.

It is also a phrase that is confused with employee satisfaction, despite the fact that they are two vastly different concepts.

While employee satisfaction centers around how happy an employee is at work, which most often correlates directly to job titles and paychecks, employee engagement focuses on more detailed and in-depth measurements.

Some key aspects of employee engagement include the amount of effort expended beyond that which is necessary to accomplish tasks, how passionate an employee feels about their job (different from how satisfied they may be with their paycheck), the level of personal responsibility they feel about the success or failure of the company, and their commitment to the company.

Employee engagement has a significant impact on a company’s bottom line in several ways. A company with a fully committed and engaged team is one that has stronger and longer-lasting B2B and B2C relationships. Engaged employees develop closer professional bonds with peers and take the success or failure of the company personally.

Productivity, efficiency, and morale are increased, and companies with engaged staff see less downtime due to workplace accidents, equipment failure due to inattentiveness, decreases in tardiness and absenteeism, and a lower employee turnover rate.

When employees are engaged and invested in their jobs and the companies they work for, business managers can more easily see attributes in their employees that they want. Sadly enough for many managers, these attributes can often remain as nothing more than a wishlist comprised of buzzword of desired qualities, like thinking outside the box, going the extra mile, or being a fully committed team member.

Building a team of engaged employees doesn’t require herculean efforts or extraordinary measures. To the contrary, there are simple steps that can be taken to start cultivating an atmosphere of committed professionals who passionately strive to ensure the success of a company.

Something as easy as adopting a policy of individual recognition and appreciation, which costs nothing but time, can go a long way toward fostering an atmosphere of engagement. Studies have shown that, in cases of recognition versus reward, the former has a longer-lasting and more motivating impact than the latter ever could.

Your bottom line depends on the employees that keep your business running smoothly. It doesn’t matter whether they do so through maintaining client relationships, cultivating qualified leads, leading the way in innovative team-building, or facilitating the productive operation of a distribution center.

Rather than demanding that your employees raise the bar, step up to it yourself and give them a reason to be the engaged and committed team you want them to be.