14 Employee Engagement Ideas To Drive Satisfaction

Understanding our employee voice platform requires understanding what motivates engagement. Our research has identified 14 key drivers of employee engagement, each of which is essential for ensuring your employees feel heard.

Understanding the 14 Drivers of Employee Engagement 

Long before the term ’employee engagement’ first came into existence, businesses have sought ways to motivate their employees and make them more productive. Business leaders noticed that when employees felt satisfied at work, they were more likely to perform well—meaning it was better for the bottom line.

But in 1990, Boston University professor William Kahn, in his research on organizational psychology, coined the term that has become a cornerstone in how we understand human motivation at work.

What is Employee Engagement?

Employee engagement is the emotional investment your employees have in their role, your organization, and its mission. It has become a key metric that helps organizations understand the health of their culture.

Employee engagement can be measured in different ways. Our methodology is based on one main engagement question, three engagement outcome questions, 14 questions measuring the ‘drivers’ of engagement, and 27 sub-driver questions. Based on decades of research, these drivers represent the key psychological requirements for human motivation at work, and include factors such as professional growth, working environment, and how meaningful we find our work.

Implementing effective initiatives that drive employee engagement is vital to the success of any business. When employees are engaged, they’re more likely to be productive, innovative and stay with their company. We created a list of ideas to create an inspiring and productive workplace that will help your employees thrive at work.

Why Does Employee Engagement Look Different for Each Organization?

No two businesses are the same, meaning there is never a one-size-fits-all approach to nurturing employee engagement. From the 14 key drivers we list, some will no doubt be more prevalent than others.

Once you recognize which drivers are more specific to your team, you can begin to focus your employee engagement strategy. One simple but effective way to kickstart the process is by sending out a confidential survey, which encourages your team to provide honest feedback. This will pave the way for you to take action based on how your employees respond.

Managers are the critical link between your employees and your organization. This is why empowering them to take ownership of their teams’ engagement is critical.

Opportunities to Foster Better Employee Engagement at Your Organization

Based on our 14 drivers of engagement, we’ve compiled a list of suggestions and initiatives to help boost employee engagement at your organization.

1. Celebrate Individual Accomplishments

Breeding a sense of individual accomplishment is integral to boosting morale. Even when a company performs well as a whole, it’s easy for some to feel like their work goes unnoticed, particularly in larger businesses. Create a sense of accomplishment by:

  • Allowing employees to take ownership over projects, or ensuring they’re solely responsible for something that may contribute to a bigger picture. This is an effective way to instill accomplishment, because it promotes an increased sense of accountability.
  • Praising your employees in a public forum. This could be the completion of a successful project, new ideas or praising someone for stepping up.
  • If you’re a line manager, ensure you spend time thinking about what has gone well, and discuss why with your team.

2.  Encourage Employee Autonomy

Ultimately, no-one knows where and how a person is most productive, better than themselves. And as we found in our Employee Expectations 2021 Report, flexible working is a growing expectation among today’s workforce. 

Showing that you trust your employees to be productive and set their own deadlines helps foster confidence—and could even lead to new, more efficient processes. To do this, organizations should:

  • Offer guidance so that employees feel supported as they learn new processes and responsibilities. This may include mentoring sessions, further coaching, or 1-1 meetings.
  • Encourage employees to share new processes or ideas with the wider team. Lunch and learn sessions, either in person or virtually, are a great resource that enables knowledge sharing in an informal context, while also developing peer relationships.

3. Create an Environment That Enables Effective Collaboration

Where we work matters to us, and creating a positive and productive environment is about so much more than having a central office. As organizations consider hybrid or remote working cultures, finding ways to foster a working environment that helps employees work at their best will be critical.

  • If employees are working remotely or on a hybrid basis, they may need help to design a space that works for them. This may include providing extra equipment, such as monitors or desks, or providing access to a coworking space.
  • In the office, create more informal spaces, as well as spaces that enable better collaboration to enable employees to communicate effectively, wherever they are.

4. Encourage Freedom of Opinions

Psychological safety is a critical part of developing a high-performing team. Simply put, it means that employees feel safe enough to ask questions, share ideas, and voice concerns when something isn’t right. When employees feel that they can express their opinion without fear of judgement or reprisals, this increases their engagement, leading to higher productivity and creativity.

Building psychological safety at your organization all starts with fostering a culture of mutual trust. 

5. Set Clear and Fair Goals

It’s difficult to know where you’re going without having a destination in mind—and it’s the same at work. When employees have a good understanding of what they’re expected to achieve and can judge their own performance, this enables them to fully apply themselves and do their best work.

  • Set clear and realistic goals on a regular basis to help employees understand exactly what is expected of them, and how their performance will be measured. 
  • Be sure to review their work and provide feedback if they ask—this will help you support them and adjust deadlines as necessary.

6.  Offer Growth Opportunities  

We know from our own data that employees are more likely to resign a role because they’re not feeling challenged. Personal and professional growth opportunities are the ultimate driving factors behind an employee’s desire to perform at a high level and thrive in a business. 

Helping your employee define their strengths and weaknesses, and laying out a professional roadmap, will empower them to learn new skills and progress in your organization. However, organizations must remember that these goals will not be static, and as your employee grows at your organization, their goals and future aspirations will too.

As we look towards the future of work and the critical skills we need in business continue to shift, hybrid and all-remote workforces may face some challenges when it comes to fostering learning opportunities for growth. Organizations may need to invest in technology to facilitate this move to digital-first learning, as well as encouraging employees to take more ownership over their own growth journeys.

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