Employee Engagement

The 7 Key drivers of employee engagement every leader should know

Employee engagement is critical to performance. Here are the 7 drivers that dictate engagement across your company.

Ryan Carruthers

October 19, 2022

It's no secret that employee engagement is essential to the success of any organization.

Many different factors can contribute to employee engagement, and how engaged employees are can vary from person to person. But this is a goal that all businesses should strive for. After all, engaged employees are more likely to stick around long-term and give the best of themselves every day.

But what exactly is employee engagement? And what are the key drivers of employee engagement?

In this article, we'll answer both of those questions and more. We'll start by defining employee engagement and discussing its importance.

Defining employee engagement 

Employee engagement can be defined as a measure of how motivated and committed employees are to their work and their company. When employees are engaged, they are more likely to be productive, put in extra effort, and stay with the company.

Engaged

As an example, consider an employee who is highly engaged in their work. This employee likely feels a strong connection to the company and its mission. They enjoy coming to work and feel a sense of purpose in what they do. As a result, this employee is more likely to give their best effort, be productive, and stay with the company long-term.

Not engaged

On the other hand, an employee who is not engaged in their work is less likely to feel a strong connection to the company. They may be unhappy with their job or feel like their work is not meaningful. As a result, this employee is more likely to be less productive and may even quit.

The importance of employee engagement

In short, employee engagement is essential for businesses to thrive. By understanding the drivers of engagement and working to create a culture of engagement, businesses can create an environment where employees are motivated to do their best work.

In a recent report by Joblist, 73% of workers said they were actively thinking of quitting their job due to poor engagement.

Employee turnover is not only expensive for companies, but it also takes a significant amount of time and resources to replace an employee. It is estimated that it costs 33% of an employee’s annual salary to replace them.

Not only is employee engagement important for preventing high turnover rates, but it is also essential for promoting positive company culture. A study by Gallup found that companies with engaged employees have 22% higher profitability. The same study also found that companies with engaged employees have 10% higher customer ratings and an 18% difference in sales.

Employer best practices influence business results.
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These figures indicate that engaged employees are more productive. And as a result, they have a positive impact on the bottom line.

If employee engagement affects the business this much, why aren’t more companies focusing on it?

Maybe it’s because they don’t know where to start. After all, employee engagement is a complex topic with many different facets.

But by understanding the key drivers of engagement, you can start to create a workplace culture that engages employees and drives business success.

The 7 key drivers of employee engagement

There are many different drivers of employee engagement. Some are more important than others, and some will vary depending on the company.

However, there are 7 key drivers of employee engagement that are essential for any organization:

1. A clear vision and mission

If you think about the companies you admire, chances are they have a clear vision and mission. This is no coincidence. When employees know the company’s goals and how their work contributes to those goals, they are more likely to be engaged.

When developing a vision and mission, it is important to involve employees. No matter if you are a manager or CEO, you cannot create a company vision on your own. The company’s vision should be something that employees can get behind and support. 

Once you have a company vision, make sure it is communicated to all employees. It should be posted in the office, on the company website, and in employee handbooks. If possible, try to create a video explaining the company’s vision. This will make it more relatable and easier for employees to understand.

2. Opportunities for career growth

For employees to be engaged, they need to see a future for themselves at the company. If they feel like they are stuck in their current position with no opportunity for advancement, they will likely become disengaged.

Lack of career advancement is the biggest reason for employee quitting.
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To prevent this, companies should offer opportunities for career growth. This could be in the form of formal programs, such as mentorship programs or leadership development programs. Alternatively, it could be informal opportunities, such as allowing employees to take on new projects or responsibilities. 

Another avenue to take is to offer job shadowing opportunities. Employees work alongside their mentors to prepare them to take over that position one day.

No matter what form it takes, offering opportunities for career growth is essential for engagement.

3. Regular and honest communication from leadership

Employees need to feel like they are in the loop. If they are not kept up-to-date on company decisions, they will quickly become disengaged.

Just think about yourself. If you found out about a major company decision from the news instead of your boss, how would you feel? You would probably be pretty upset.  The same is true for other employees.

To prevent this, leaders need to communicate regularly with employees. This includes everything from upcoming changes to the company’s quarterly results.

It is also important for leaders to be honest in their communication. If there is bad news, don’t try to sugarcoat it. Employees will appreciate honesty and it will build trust between leadership and employees.

4. A positive and supportive company culture

The company culture plays a big role in employee engagement. In fact, 66% of employees think that the culture in their organization impacts their daily work.

So, what is company culture? Company culture is the way employees interact with each other and the way they see the company. It is the “feeling” of the workplace.

Positive and supportive company culture is essential for engagement. When employees feel like they are part of a positive and supportive community, they are more likely to be engaged in their work.

There are many ways to create a positive and supportive company culture. Some companies hold regular team building events, such as happy hours or company picnics. Others focus on giving back to the community, such as through volunteering or fundraising.

Whatever you do, make sure it aligns with your company’s values and mission.

5. Employee recognition and appreciation

You may have heard that people never forget how you made them feel. This is true in the workplace as well. Employees will forget what their boss said in the last meeting, but they will never forget if their boss made them feel appreciated.

Recognizing and appreciating employees is one of the most important things a leader can do. There are many ways to show appreciation, such as through verbal praise, handwritten notes, or small gifts. The key is to find what works best for your team and your company.

6. Meaningful work

For employees to be engaged, they need to feel like their work is meaningful. If they feel like their work is pointless or doesn’t make a difference, they will quickly become disengaged.

For example, if you had to put together a jigsaw puzzle with no picture to guide you, would you be engaged in the task? Probably not.

But, if you were putting together a jigsaw puzzle with a picture of your favorite vacation spot, you would probably be more than excited!

To make sure employees feel like their work is meaningful, leaders need to provide context. Employees need to understand how their work fits into the bigger picture.

One way to do this is to link employees’ goals to the company’s goals. This way, they can see how their work is contributing to the company’s success.

7. Autonomy and trust

Autonomy is the freedom to make decisions without needing approval from others. Trust is the belief that employees will do their job well without constant supervision.

Both of these things are important for employee engagement. If employees feel like they are being micromanaged, they will quickly become disengaged. On the other hand, if employees feel like they have the freedom to do their job and are trusted to do it well, they will be more engaged.

There are a few ways you can promote autonomy and trust in your workplace:

  • Encourage employees to take initiative and make decisions without needing approval.
  • Empower employees to solve problems on their own.
  • Delegate tasks and projects to employees with the trust that they will complete them well.
  • Avoid micromanaging employees and instead, give them the freedom to do their job.

Many times it feels easier to just do everything ourselves. But if you want to grow and scale, you need to learn to delegate and trust others to do their job well. This can be a difficult thing to do, but it’s important for promoting employee engagement.

Well, these were the 7 key drivers of engagement. Now let's move on to see how you can implement an employee engagement strategy in your workplace.

Implementing an employee engagement strategy in your workplace

To get started building your employee engagement program, here are a few quick tips to spark ideas and get you started:

Start with a survey

One of the best ways to get started is to survey your employees. This will give you an idea of where you need to focus your efforts. This can even be done anonymously to encourage employees to be honest.

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Get input from all levels

When you’re developing your employee engagement strategy, it’s important to get input from all levels of the company. This includes employees, managers, and executives.

Each group will have its perspective on what’s working and what’s not. By getting input from all levels, you can develop a more comprehensive strategy that will be more effective.

Communicate, communicate, communicate

Employee engagement is all about communication. You need to communicate your vision and mission to employees, you need to communicate with employees regularly, and you need to create a communication channel where employees can give feedback.

Encourage employees to be involved

Encourage employees to get involved in the decision-making process. This will help them feel like their opinion matters and that they are a part of the company.

Even if some ideas don't end up being used, the fact that employees were involved in the process will go a long way.

Set goals and measure progress

Goals are important for any strategy, and employee engagement is no different. Set goals for what you want to achieve and then measure your progress. This will help you see what’s working and what’s not.

Common challenges with employee engagement and how to overcome them

Even with the best of intentions, there are bound to be some challenges when implementing an employee engagement strategy. Here are some of the most common challenges and how to overcome them:

Lack of communication

This can be between employees and managers or between the company and employees.

To fix this problem, you need to make sure that you have a good communication strategy in place. This includes regular communication from leadership, a clear vision and mission, and an open channel of communication where employees can give feedback.

Lack of buy-in from leadership

If your managers are not on board with the employee engagement strategy, it will be difficult to implement it successfully.

To overcome this challenge, you need to make sure that your managers are brought into the strategy and are doing their part to promote employee engagement.

This includes communicating the vision and mission, setting goals, and measuring progress.

Lack of resources

This can be a lack of time, money, or personnel.

This obstacle may be difficult to overcome, but you need to prioritize employee engagement and make sure that it is included in the budget. You also need to make sure that you have enough people to implement the strategy.

Lack of data

The lack of data makes it difficult to measure progress and identify areas that need improvement. 

To get enough data for your needs, it needs to be collected regularly and track progress over time. This will help you see what’s working and what’s not.

By keeping these challenges in mind, you can be prepared to overcome them and implement a successful employee engagement strategy in your workplace. Some of these problems can be solved with effective communication, while others may require more time or resources. 

Just make sure that you are monitoring your progress and making changes as needed. Usually, all things that are measured can be improved with time!

Conclusion

The drivers of engagement are important to consider when looking to create a more engaged workforce. This is especially important after the challenging covid-19 years, where many companies have been forced to change the way they operate.

With the right strategy in place, you can improve communication, culture, career growth opportunities, and more. This will lead to a more engaged workforce that is better able to meet the challenges of the future.

Consider the problems your company is facing and begin developing ideas on how to enhance employee engagement. This will help you create a more productive and successful workplace, starting today!

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