4 Differences between Employee Engagement and Alignment

Measuring employee engagement is a standard practice in organizations around the country. It was the evolution from employee satisfaction. Organizations wanted to learn not only if their people were satisfied with their job and employer, but whether they really wanted to do their job at a high level. The logic - people 'engaged' in their work will perform better. Measuring an organization's alignment with mission, vision and strategic plan is the next evolution from engagement. Here are 4 key areas where measuring, and then working on improving organizational alignment, differs from engagement.

1. Alignment takes engagement and adds the layer of purpose

It's one thing to like your job and the people on your team. However, if your employees don't really have an idea of how their role connects to the reason why your organization exists and how its impacts on that mission, why are they there? If they are connected to the mission and vision and see the value of their work, they are more apt to work harder and smarter to achieve goals.

2. The questions you are asking about your organization center around alignment, not engagement. As a leader, you are asking yourself questions all the time about why certain things are working or not working, why projects and initiatives are struggling, why leaders aren't getting things done on time. Those are questions that speak directly to alignment, not simply engagement. Aligning your organization to your mission and vision answers those questions you have.

3. Alignment is better at connecting different departments and functions to a common purpose

Aligned organizations tie different departments with common threads for why they work, and work together. Less ambiguity, more transparency, better communication and more productive results occur when departments aligned to a common mission work together.

4. More aligned organizations/departments perform better to key metrics

Ask leaders how changes in engagement scores tie to performance measures and most will tell you they don't. Differences in performance, organization and team-wide, can be seen when compared to levels of alignment. More than that, changes in performance measures correlate with changes in alignment levels. The alignment work you do can actually tie to improvements in how the organization performs.

There really is nothing more important than ensuring your organization, and its people, are aligned to why it exists.


Challenge yourself to think of your organization's present and future differently. Engaged (if they are even engaged), but misaligned people check off the boxes of the things they are supposed to do. They may enjoy the work, but it is just work. Little inspiration. Uncommitted culture of innovation. As a leader, I'm sure you want to know your work is having more of an impact.