Six Drivers of Employee Engagement

by: Dean Fulford

What causes employees to ‘connect’ with their organization?  Harris/Decima, a research firm with specialty in employee engagement studies, links engagement to a climate that allows employees to be motivated and focused.  The payoff is both higher overall performance (increased effort and output, a willingness to do more) and lower attrition.

In my experience, HR departments and managers can improve employee engagement by focusing on six key drivers:

Driver #1:  Clarity

Employees evaluate the significance of their work based on their perceived proximity to the mission of the organization.  Managers can increase engagement by communicating the link between specific job responsibilities and organizational goals.

Driver #2: Dedication

With today’s diverse, multi-generational, mobile workforce, organizations face a wide range of employee expectations about the location and time of work. Organizations that can offer roles and projects adapted to individual employees are most successful in fully engaging in them in their work.

Driver #3:  Recognition

Unsurprisingly, money alone is not the solution to employee engagement. Recent Harris/Decima research (Defining Drivers of Employee Engagement study; 2013) showed that, while fair and equitable remuneration is a contributor to overall engagement, the impact is far less than the sense of significance, pride and accomplishment that employees have in their work. Deploying creative programs that allow team members to reward each other for doing amazing work can both help engagement and assist in measuring individual employee contribution.

Employee Engagement

Driver #4:  Responsibility

Open positions within organizations are often quickly filled with top talent.  This plus the substantial workloads and flat organization structures increasingly common in todays workplace can lead to a perceived lack of skill development and career advancement opportunities for staff. Managers can maintain engagement by encouraging empowerment and responsibility within their employees’ roles.

Driver #5:  Standards

Today’s workforce, especially the growing Gen Y cohort, insists that performance expectations be well defined and evaluated fairly. Developing a clear set of indicators that track and measure important elements of individual and team performance is an important driver of engagement.

Driver #6: Teamwork

In the same study, Harris/Decima showed that work relationships, especially the confidence and trust employees have in senior leadership, is one of the top drivers of employee engagement. Leaders can accelerate trust by focusing on people and identifying their needs, use active listening skills and openly share information about the organization and themselves.

Getting Started with Employee Engagement

Sounds like a lot of work? According to a recent Psychometrics engagement study “Control, Opportunity and Leadership”, 70% of respondents just asked their organization to listen to their employees’ opinions.  So listen-up!  There’s a simple place to start.  An engagement survey that probes these six drivers is an excellent way to get the ball rolling. Contact our HR team today to get started!

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