13 Drivers of Employee Engagement to Attract & Retain Top Talent
One thing is sure; if you want to become a high-performance organization, you must leverage employee engagement.
There are plenty of downsides to a workforce that feels disconnected from your business's triumph.
They affect a company and its people, ranging from a poor brand image to unhappy, unloyal customers. And in the end, your sales and profitability will suffer the impact.
Fortunately, if you put in the effort to master the drivers of employee engagement, you'll do just fine.
Engaged workers' enthusiasm about their roles, the organization, and their teams is contagious.
All you have to do is ignite the flame of those employees by focusing on the top drivers of employee engagement. Check them out in this article and find the tools to engage your workforce.
But first, we'll define engaged employees and investigate what they bring to the table.
🤩 What is employee engagement & why is it so important?
An engaged workforce is a group of people excited about:
- Their jobs;
- The team they work with;
- The company that welcomed them in the first place.
They dedicate their blood, sweat, and tears to chasing business success and feel they belong in the organization. And the stronger this emotional connection is, the more these staff members will get involved in the corporate mission.
Because of that connection, engaged employees experience a "my work matters" mindset.
And that's when the fruitful engagement cycle begins!
They participate in the company's results, which makes them feel engaged. And because they feel engaged, they continue contributing to the company's performance and so on.
In other words, you may not be able to afford a disengaged workforce.
Tip: Engagement efforts must start as early as the recruitment stage, so all seconds of the employee experience matter.
💡Check out 11 best practices to boost new employee engagement.
Highly-engaged vs. disengaged staff members
You can measure employees' level of involvement—from highly engaged to disengaged.
- Highly-engaged employees positively perceive their job, team, and company, which encourages their peers to work better. They also recommend your brand to others and advocate for it. Often, highly-engaged employees are also high-performers—81% of the time to be precise. On the other hand, these employees are always highly motivated and frequently ask for more responsibilities.
- Disengaged employees neither commit to the organization's mission, vision, or goals nor commit to their role or see themselves as a part of the organization's future. Sometimes, these employees underperform and don't even do the bare minimum to avoid dismissal. They may be looking for other job options. Don't invest time and money in these employees, as they represent a high turnover risk to your company.
➡️ Run an employee engagement survey to understand where you stand!
Profile of an engaged employee
Refraining from investing in disengaged employees might be a no-brainer. But the value of a highly-engaged workforce is pure gold, which is why you must understand and multiply it.
And it all starts with figuring out who the engaged employees are.
To help you out, here is what an engaged staff member looks like:
- Is always keen on and enthusiastic about doing something for the team and the organization.
- Has a solution-oriented mindset, which means that instead of stressing out about problems, they eagerly and energetically look for alternative ways to fix those problems.
- Focuses on pursuing their individual goals, the team's, and the company's, not spending power on interpersonal issues that don't move the business forward.
- Works with attention to what they're doing and care about being their best at work, helping their teammates, and prompting the business's outcomes.
- Hold themselves accountable for their team's, department's, and business success.
Also read: 11+ employee engagement examples from real companies (Yousician, Gong, Github,...)
✊ 5 Essential perks of an engaged workforce
Simply put, disengaged employees come at a price. And the price equals the amount of time, effort, and money you'd spend sourcing, recruiting, and training new hires to replace them. And after that, you'd still have to wait for the new hires to get up to speed.
So, you want to soak up every drop of benefit that engaged personnel brings to your business.
And speaking of benefits, these are all reasons that make a strong case for employee engagement.
The more engaged your staff members are, the harder they work. They also seek to do more and better in less time. And by "more," we mean going above and beyond their roles' basic requirements and responsibilities.
Then, it's up to the leaders in your organization to:
- Fuel that drivenness.
- Guide those staff members toward their professional success and the success of your business.
By engaging your staff members, you'll end up reducing employee turnover costs. That's because they'll stay longer within the company. After all, if they feel connected with your business's future, why should they search for another job?
Engaged employees feel invested in the organization, and it's not occasionally—it's long-term. And here are some of the reasons why they stick around:
- Appreciation for their work—by their direct managers and peers.
- Career growth opportunities—to develop their knowledge and skills.
- Informed organizational change—so they know when a change will happen and why before it actually takes place.
Although sometimes you might forget about this, an engaged workforce impacts the customer experience. That's your customers' impression of your brand throughout their buyer's journey—or the process that leads them to buy your product or service.
For instance, the more attentive, faster, and effective your customer support reps are, the happier they'll make your customers. And the more engaged your support reps are, the more attentively, quickly, and effectively they'll serve your customers.
According to Harvard Business Review, 72% of companies with a highly-engaged staff have happy customers. And in the words of Simon Sinek, "Your customers will never love your company until your employees love it first."
A profitable business is the by-product of high productivity, low employee turnover costs, and a consistently outstanding customer experience.
Harvard Business Review reported that 56% of organizations achieve a positive ROI from investing in employee engagement.
This might sound repetitive, but engaged staff members are a driver of engagement. They set an example for others to pursue, so you can't leave their engagement unnoticed.
You have to cherish and recognize their effort. And as a result, they'll feel compelled to motivate others to dedicate the same effort with the same enthusiasm.
➡️ Check out our employee engagement statistics to get some extra insights on why you must engage your staff!
Now, what are the key drivers of employee engagement? What motivates your employees to do more for your business and better each day?
🏢 Organizational drivers of employee engagement
Let's start with company-wide drivers of engagement affecting any worker's engagement level.
Resources & tools
Spending vast amounts of time and energy finding resources and tools to do their jobs can drain employees. And it can frustrate them, too, regardless of the company, location, or industry. But it's essential for employers that all their personnel accesses necessary resources and tools—such as human power, money, training, documentation, software, or materials.
Tip: Prioritize the resources and tools your staff needs and make them available when necessary. Also, ensure that speed and ease of use are concerns you address timely.
As a result, your workforce will become more productive and effective in their functions and achieve their career growth goals.
We can't think of any good reason why a toxic work environment would benefit your organization.
The most engaging and profitable work environments are physically, mentally, and emotionally safe.
And they're healthy and appealing because of positive workplace cultures and other factors, such as:
- Room temperature because it's hard to concentrate in a space that's too hot or too cold.
- Lighting as poor lighting might harm the eyes.
- Noise or the fact that loud noises might reduce attention.
- Office equipment should be well-positioned and ergonomic. Some examples are computer screens with grazing lights, chairs that don't give back pain, or mice that don't cause tendinitis.
- Accessibility refers to mobility within the office and the comfortable use of resources and tools through, for instance, screen readers or magnifying glasses for webpages.
- Location—since a noticeable portion of the post-pandemic workforce prefers working from their home environment.
Your goal is to create a work environment in which your personnel thrives. And ultimately, that'll boost your competitiveness and efficiency as a company.
Organizational culture & belonging
A healthy company culture often translates to an engaged staff. They have a strong sense of belonging in the organization, which promotes productivity.
Besides, as organizational cultures are unique, competitors can't replicate them. So your employees might prefer your culture over your competitors', giving you a competitive advantage.
Improve your company culture intentionally, and you'll bring your employee engagement levels up. Plus, select your new hires carefully to preserve the culture. And start building it from day one of your business to avoid the difficult challenge of cultural change later on.
➡️ Design an employee engagement plan to turn your engagement strategy into reality!
The first thing that comes to mind when we hear "flexibility" is likely the work schedule. And because companies are hiring globally, the challenge is accommodating a workforce working from different time zones.
Additionally, corporate mindsets are changing. And for organizations to remain competitive, they must listen to the labor market and incorporate flexibility into their culture.
Some of us prefer to start working early in the morning. Others prefer to start their day at work later and finish late in the afternoon or early at night.
Regardless, workers are increasingly looking for flexible work schedules. And if they wish to work on a hybrid work schedule, you must carefully manage the thin line between their needs and your company's goals.
Minimize the disruption of hybrid work and get more flexible by:
- Structuring your hybrid staff members' day—with work-from-home time and work-from-office time, plus time for team meetings.
- Defining how they get work done—whether in-office or accessing the resources and tools they need to complete tasks from home.
- Providing the required communication lines—including the traditional email services and the collaboration tools appropriate to working from home, such as videoconference and workflow management systems.
Team & coworker relationships
There's one thing we know plays a starring role in happily getting out of bed in the morning to work.
It's a pleasure to work with colleagues and managers who respect us and our job and don't cross the line of our functions.
On the other hand, working with unpleasant, sneaky, manipulative teammates we can't trust can be an emotional nightmare. And it doesn't do any good for employee engagement!
Foster a culture of collaboration. And rest assured that healthy team and coworker relationships generate opportunities for learning from each other in the workplace.
Diversity & inclusion
You're in deep trouble if your employees feel your company tolerates hostile people disrespecting coworkers.
You must guarantee that your organizational culture is inclusive and welcomes diverse staff, or you'll risk losing them.
As People ops, you should set the pace for inclusion right from the first time you contact candidates. Then, select new hires carefully to maintain a shared set of values within the company.
A diversity and inclusion program is also a must. But you can implement employer branding initiatives and recruitment marketing campaigns as well.
👨💼 Individual drivers of employee engagement
Potential for career development & growth
For those who aspire to grow in their careers, the perspective of competence development is highly engaging. It's how they'll exercise abilities, acquire knowledge, and upscale skills.
And that brings a lot of perks into employees' professional lives, making them feel valued and appreciated at work. Competence development constantly challenges workers to overcome themselves and allows them to make a more significant difference in your company.
But developing competencies benefits employers, too, from increased performance and outcome quality to lower employee turnover. The secret lies in your leaders supporting and encouraging organizational learning and assisting training with resources and tools.
Different people learn best in different ways.
Some prefer instructor-led training, whether virtual or in-person, whereas others prefer self-paced alternatives, such as online courses. And some prefer on-the-job training, whereas others prefer reading before getting their hands dirty.
Above all, it's up to you to leverage a culture of learning at your company. And then ensure that you know each of your staff members' learning styles and cover all of them if possible. It's an excellent way of elevating your workforce's competencies and engagement.
Psychological safety & well-being
Employees waste energy managing negative emotions when the work environment is psychologically unsafe.
Plus, they fear voicing their opinions and expect nothing good from it.
And the consequences for your business are terrible because, at the end of the day, workers cannot contribute to its bottom line.
Without employee well-being, there's simply no way you could have an engaged staff or high productivity and employee retention.
That's why it's utterly important to prioritize the personnel's physical and mental health.
Role clarity & role fit
The role clarity and role fit driver is a make-or-break of employee engagement.
Because number one: Nothing good comes from someone feeling like they're not a good fit for their roles.
And when employees can't switch roles internally, they won't stay for long within the company.
Number two: With role clarity, staff members know how their work influences business. And the result of being able to work with intention is a workforce feeling that their jobs are meaningful.
Finally, clarifying your team members' roles helps them perform as you expect them to. And on the other hand, knowing the tasks, responsibilities, and goals attached to their roles allows you to review individual performance.
💼 Leadership drivers of employee engagement
Some drivers of engagement depend on your leaders' actions in the workplace and within their teams.
Feedback & recognition
Everyone loves feeling seen, heard, valued, and appreciated at work, especially engaged employees.
That special kick makes us go above and beyond in our functions. And employee feedback is one piece of the puzzle.
Continuous employee feedback that's constructive and actionable is priceless for employee engagement. It provides insights into the standards your staff should meet in their roles and how to do that. But it also provides details on how they're already hitting the mark.
💡 Check out our selection of employee recognition ideas. You'll be able to:
- Tighten the relationship of your personnel with your leaders
- Raise the awareness of why your workers aren't performing as expected
- Elevate their trust in leadership
- Guide your workforce through their career growth
Support & empowerment
Do you know what training, passion projects, and extra time off have in common?
They're ways in which your leaders might:
- Drive engagement.
- Support your employees' goals.
- Empower them to take the initiative and make decisions.
It's the leaders' job to remove roadblocks from staff's efforts to hit significant milestones. And that includes:
- Informing their team members of the current state of projects, the team, the department, and the company.
- Assist personnel with navigating organizational change by timely explaining why changing is relevant.
Employee empowerment and leadership support make workers run the extra mile for your business.
➡️ Check out the latest employee engagement trends and find out how to proactively engage your workforce!
➡️ Engage & enable your people with Zavvy
Zavvy tools allow you to drive employee engagement and facilitate employee enablement.
- 🚀 Onboarding workflows guide employees from the very start of their jobs and lead them to engagement and total integration.
- 🌱 People development cycles create role clarity and guide employees along their development path.
- 🔄 Feedback systems, which you can customize as desired, lead to a culture of growth and learning.
- ☕️ Coffee roulettes connect coworkers and deepen relationships at work.
- 💪 Training programs deliver content step by step instead of overwhelming your learners.
Altogether, these solutions will spark the enthusiasm of your staff members about their jobs and your company. As a result, your employees will advance their careers more efficiently and actively participate in your business's prosperity.
Book a demo to discover how Zavvy will engage, develop and support your people.