Engagement Drivers

2/3/2019

Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organisation and its goals.


Employee Engagement


Employee engagement does not mean employee happiness. Someone might be happy at work, but that doesn't necessarily mean they are working hard, productively on behalf of the organisation. While company game rooms, free massages and Friday keg parties are fun--and may be beneficial for other reasons--making employees happy is different from making them engaged.

Employee engagement doesn't mean employee satisfaction. Many companies have "employee satisfaction" surveys and executives talk about "employee satisfaction", but the bar is set too low. A satisfied employee might show up for her daily 9-to-5 without complaint. But that same "satisfied" employee might not go the extra effort on her own, and she'll probably take the headhunter's call luring her away with a 10% bump in pay. Satisfied isn't enough.

Definition: Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organisation and its goals.

This emotional commitment means engaged employees actually care about their work and their company. They don't work just for a paycheck, or just for the next promotion, but work on behalf of the organisation's goals.

When employees care—when they are engaged—they use discretionary effort.

This means the engaged computer programmer works overtime when needed, without being asked. This means the engaged retail clerk picks up the trash on the store floor, even if the boss isn't watching. This means the TSA agent will pull a bag suspicious bag to be searched, even if it's the last bag on their shift.

Drivers of Engagement


We have found different types of drivers of engagement. As a manager, you will use some of these drivers to influence your employees' engagement. The impact of these drivers does not happen in isolation; the company's context and culture will mitigate or compound their impact on employee engagement.

Management Support


This reflects how much managers provide support for their team members. It reflects the trust between managers and their team, communication quality and direction from managers.

A low level could indicate:

Managers are not giving their team clear direction or goals.

Managers are not communicating effectively with their team.

Managers are not getting their teams’ views on decisions.

Practical Tips To Improve

Encourage managers to have one on ones with their team members that focus on individual Key Performance Indicators. The team member needs to know exactly what is expected of them and how to excel.

Have a weekly stand up meeting where everyone discusses what they’re tackling for the week guided by the manager. This makes the team goals and deliverables clear.

Encourage managers to let staff share their ideas. It’s an opportunity for the organisation to grow. Either the manager gets a new idea or explains why the new idea won’t work and thus the team member learns something.

Trust in Senior Leadership


The actions of senior leaders are visible to all staff and greatly impact team engagement. This is a measure of how staff view their leadership's integrity.

A low level could indicate:

Staff don’t trust the senior team’s actions and/or communications.

Staff don’t believe in the senior team’s ability to lead the organisation to success.

Staff don’t understand the company’s plans for future success.

Practical Tips To Improve

Restoring trust in Senior Management integrity can take time. Practice open communication and deal with the obvious thorny issues. If staff are unhappy with a decision or action made by senior management, then deal with it.

Find the best way(s) of communicating the company strategy to staff. It could involve a simple email, a company-wide meeting or smaller meetings with each team.

Meaningful Work


This speaks to how important staff think their work is and how challenged they feel. It's important to get this balance right. Too much challenge and staff become overwhelmed and stressed. Too little and they become bored and unproductive.

A low level could indicate:

Staff members are not placed in roles that utilize their strengths.

Staff don’t understand how important their job is to the company’s goals/strategy.

Practical Tips To Improve

Perform strength assessments using a tool like Strengths Finder or Wealth Dynamics. It will give you the insight into a team member’s preferred nature of work. Then place them in that ideal role. You’ll be surprised how some staff love repetitive tasks like accounting but detest customer calls or vice versa.

As part of your communication on company strategy and goals, be sure to disseminate it to each team so that they understand how their goals and deliverables help the organisation succeed.

Workload


How well staff are coping with their current workload. It's a good measure of organisational strain.

A low level could indicate:

Staff simply have too much work.

Staff members are not in their ideal roles.

Staff members don’t have the means or ability to perform.

Practical Tips To Improve

Gauge the workload of the affected teams. Alleviate the workload and/or ensure that they have sufficient means to blow off steam. Try game rooms, after-work drinks, monthly socials, etc.

Perform strength assessments using a tool like Strengths Finder or Wealth Dynamics. It will give you the insight into a team member’s preferred nature of work. Then place them in that ideal role. You’ll be surprised how some staff love repetitive tasks like accounting but detest customer calls or vice versa.

Recognition


A part of performance management is simply recognizing good work. Staff need to be told when they're doing a good job (when it's deserved!).

A low level could indicate:

Staff do not have a realistic understanding of what’s expected from them.

Managers are not properly recognizing good performance.

Practical Tips To Improve

Monthly one-on-one's with team members as well as performance appraisals will keep staff expectations realistic.

Train managers on performance management with a focus on when to recognize good performance.

Peer Relationships


Measures strength of relationships and trust amongst colleagues. It's an indicator of the strength of teams.

A low level could indicate:

Teams simply aren’t getting enough time to bond.

The level of competition is turning teams or individuals against each other.

Practical Tips To Improve

Ensure sufficient time for staff socializing is provided. Either in the form of regular socials are by providing a great space for them to mix over lunch.

Review incentives and ensure they aren’t pushing competitive behaviour to the point of being damaging to company culture. This is often the case in sales. Try fostering an environment of collaboration with team goals instead of individual goals.

Teamwork


How staff view their colleagues and the quality of work performed by them. Also, a measure of collaboration.

A low level could indicate:

Staff don’t see other teams as committed to the company vision.

Staff collaboration is low.

Practical Tips To Improve

Ensure that performance management is in place with a specific focus on weeding out non-performers. These non-performers are demotivating the rest of the team.

Review incentives and ensure they aren’t pushing competitive behaviour to the point of being damaging to company culture. This is often the case in sales. Try fostering an environment of collaboration with team goals instead of individual goals.

Growth


Growth measures how staff view their professional growth. It is subdivided into Career Path, Mentoring and Learning.

A low level could indicate:

Staff are not being given opportunities to grow either via challenging work, mentoring or training.

Staff roles are not in alignment with their career goals.

Staff don’t see further growth for themselves in the organisation.

Practical Tips To Improve

Focus performance appraisals on each team member’s growth path. Ensure that it aligns their ideal career progression with the needs of the company.

Encourage managers to keep their teams challenged. Challenge leads to growth and higher job satisfaction but not so much that staff start burning out. These are called stretch-goals.

Reward


Staff's view on whether they think their remuneration is fair.

A low level could indicate:

Staff have unrealistic expectations of what their role earns.

Staff are struggling to accommodate their lifestyles with their current remuneration package.

Practical Tips To Improve

Set salary bands for company roles with a grading exercise. Match these bands to market so that you’re sure that staff are receiving fair pay. This will keep them focused on the job and not on perceived unfairness.

Consider the living standards of your staff given the area of your office. For instance, can they afford rent in the office’s area? These considerations could break their focus at work if they’re worried about paying high rent bills. The solution might not be paying them more, it might be something simple like a staff bus from a more affordable area.

Retention


Do staff see themselves working here a year from now.

A low level could indicate:

Staff discontent to the point that they are looking at leaving the organisation.

Practical Tips To Improve

Conduct exit interviews with those staff members who are leaving presently to identify the issues causing them to leave.

Urgently address other metrics to increase team engagement and satisfaction.

Autonomy


Measures how empowered staff are to get the job done.

A low level could indicate:

Staff are not given room to innovate in their roles.

Staff don’t have the tools or equipment needed to perform their jobs.

Practical Tips To Improve

Ensure that staff are empowered to do their jobs (tools and skills) and are given direction in terms of what the expected outcomes are, then give them room to innovate.

Ensure that staff are properly equipped with the right tools and skills to perform their work.