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If your team whistles while they work, you may be one step closer to building a good reputation. According to research by human resources firm Aon Hewitt and Queen's University School of Business, the top 35 organizations identified as 2013′s Best Employers in the Greater Toronto Area also have the most highly engaged employees.

It turns out when your employees are really engaged in their work—they love what they do and go the extra mile to make things happen – you can expect others to think highly of your company too.

"Organizations with the strongest reputation also have the most highly engaged employees, a finding that holds true no matter the size of the organization," says Neil Crawford, Aon Hewitt's study leader. "Our study bears out the notion that engaged employees offer organizations a competitive advantage, not just in the ability to attract and retain talent, but also in terms of driving reputation with customers and other stakeholders."

Read: Canada's Smartest Employers

Average employee engagement was listed at 80% among the top-ranked small-and-medium-sized businesses in the GTA – even higher than the 77% average among large businesses.

When companies fell off the best employers list, their worker engagement sunk to an average of less than 67%. "This underlines how important employee engagement is to an organization's overall reputation," says Einar Westerlund, director, project development at Queen's Centre for Business Venturing at Queen's School of Business.

The study measured three areas to determine the degree of employee engagement: whether employees speak positively about the organization, whether they have a strong desire to be a member of the organization and whether they exert extra effort to do the best job possible and contribute to the company's success.

Read: Middle Managers' Engagement Key to Companies' Success

Employee engagement is about making employees happy and loyal, notes Crawford. "A highly engaged workforce translates into lower turnover, less absenteeism, greater employee productivity, increased customer satisfaction and higher revenue growth. It will also help an organization attract and retain talent."

Finding ways to attract and keep top performers could be a make-or-break proposition for businesses in the next few years. "With talent scarcity projected to continue well into the future, it is critical that employers understand what it takes to attract and retain the people needed for success," says Crawford.

Read: Raise Your Engagement Level

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