Employee engagement is an outcome of the relationship between an organisation and its employees. An engaged employee is fully absorbed in and enthusiastic about their work, with a high level of commitment to the company and its goals.


There are different factors that drive employee engagement. At intuo, we focus on 10 scientifically proven drivers that map the engagement levels within your company. Below you can find those engagement drivers with relevant actions you can undertake as a team, but also as a whole organisation!


Overview:

  1. Ambassadorship
  2. Recognition
  3. Personal growth
  4. Job satisfaction
  5. Relationship with colleagues
  6. Relationship with managers
  7. Wellness and Happiness
  8. Company alignment
  9. Feedback
  10. Empowerment


1. Ambassadorship

Ambassadorship shows how proud an employee is that he/she can work for your organisation. As an employee, you appreciate what the company stands for and you even talk about the core values in your spare time to friends. According to LinkedIn research, 61% of LinkedIn members who follow your organization are willing to be your brand ambassadors and share your Employee Value Proposition with their networks.


Actions on a company level:

  • Assign ambassadors (actually give them that title) and let them share stories internally (via newsletters, slack channels, …). Be sure to give them real responsibilities/tasks: writing blogs, actively recruiting at events or up-selling your services to the customer.
  • Do something in co-creation with the employees. Ask for their input on how you could succeed in your company's mission. This helps innovation, and it's good for your employees' pride.
  • Create a community of employees that share your company's values.


Actions on a team level:

  • Create transparency on how your team efforts are contributing to the company’s purpose & goals. Answer the question why am I doing this? for each team member.
  • Organise a feedback session where people can come up with ideas to help your team & company’s mission. Co-creation is key if you want people to feel proud of the organisation they work for.



2. Recognition

Recognition is the communication between employees/managers who reward each other for reaching specific goals or attaining high-quality results in the workplace. Recognising or honouring employees for this level of service is meant to encourage repeated actions. Recognition is a part of the Self Determination Theory by Ryan & Deci, and the Job Characteristics Model by Hackman & Oldham.


Actions on a company level:

  • Have a performance management process that coaches instead of evaluates. Having multiple moments per year to discuss a team member’s effectiveness and motivation can do wonders for your culture. That moment should have the perspective of helping, not judging.
  • Remove all barriers to give recognition. Implement a feedback tool, create awareness around being positive towards colleagues or have workshops with specialised partners that can teach your teams how to give recognition.


Actions on a team level:

  • Give your team members the freedom to own their own projects. It's empowering to feel a sense of pride when they do good work and take personal ownership of results.
  • Start building habits that revolve around saying thank you. Do a Friday evening thank you round with the team, write cards to thank people in the organisation (on their birthday for example), have a fun game of ‘high fives’ at your next Christmas party and urge people to do random acts of kindness (without expecting anything in return).

3. Personal growth

Personal development at the workplace includes developing talent and potential, building human capital, lifelong learning, ... to improve the quality of (working)life and contribute to the realisation of dreams and aspirations of an employee.

The Growth theory and its benefits is mentioned in the Two Factor Theory by Herzberg, the ERG Theory by Alderfer, and the Employee Engagement theory by Kahn.


Actions on a company level:

  • Provide people with sufficient career perspective. This doesn’t mean creating the typical junior-senior-manager-director career ladder. It can be done differently as well.
  • Write down people’s wishes to follow specific training and follow these up. Provide enough in-company training, but ask employees to come with suggestions. You will then have an overview of what's in demand and how you could get that knowledge inside your company. There are even ways for employees to put part of their pay-cheque in extra education (for example dOnus).
  • Create knowledge/expertise groups that get together regularly. It could be as simple as having a sort of book club where someone does a presentation of provides the others with business insights. Go creative with this one.


Actions on a team level:

  • Before dividing new work or projects to people intuitively, actually take the time to match people’s talents with the right tasks/responsibilities. Or even better, involve them when assigning new projects or work.
  • Give them a chance to build a network outside of the company. They will come back with new ideas, new skills, and new contacts to contribute more to your organisation's success.
  • Keep track of how people in your team want to grow. And don’t assume you know, ask!


4. Job satisfaction

Job satisfaction is considered how content or satisfied employees are with their current function and the impact they feel their job has on the organisation. Employees want their job to be meaningful, both on a personal and professional level. Meaningfulness is discussed in the Job Characteristics Theory by Hackman & Oldham, but truly came to life in Kahn’s Employee Engagement Theory. He states that feeling that your work is useful, valuable and overall meaningful makes a difference on performance and employees don't feel taken for granted.


Actions on a company level:

  • Make sure every manager knows his/her team's influence and contributes on achieving the organisation's goals
  • Be fair to everyone! Be transparent about rewarding and compensation. Don’t work with forced rankings. People easily get the feeling of being treated unfairly. Don’t go around with a hidden bag of treasures for your high potentials only. People will pick that up really quickly.
  • Flexible work hours. Be sure that there’s enough trust in your organisation before you go there.


Actions on a team level:

  • Ask about working conditions and provide a line of communication for your team members to HR or whoever is in charge of formal working conditions.
  • Try getting to a level of trust where you don’t have to check up on the employee every 10 minutes when they work remotely. Start by trusting them a little more (give them the benefit of the doubt) and remove privileges when the trust was broken. Increasing trust is something that works both ways, but one person has to start.


5. Relationship with colleagues

A positive relationship with colleagues increases performance. How do colleagues get along? Are they friends? Do they appreciate each other and work well together? According to Stoewen (2016), a significant contributor to workplace stress is psychosocial hazards related to the culture within an organization, such as poor interpersonal relations and a lack of policies and practices related to respect for workers.


Actions on a company level:

  • Focus on similarities instead of differences. Talk about what differentiates you as a group from the rest of the world. Actively look for similarities inside the company. Try building some fun around that.
  • Create channels or groups for employees with similar interests, so they can meet and enjoy time, such as a veggie group to share recipes, a football club to play after work or a fit club to exercise together.
  • Work on building a community (see ambassadorship).


Actions on a team level:

  • One of the best ways to build positive relationships is to make time to learn about people. The next time you are in a meeting, start with small talk. It might not seem like much, but it can actually help lighten the tone and help you discover things that you have in common with your office mates.
  • Get people so far that they’re comfortable being honest with you by asking regular feedback. That way you’ll eventually get to know yourself by being confronted with positive and negative things. That will make you more effective at your job and more pleasant to work with.
  • Appreciate diversity. It is important to remember that everyone is different. Each person that you work with brings a different attribute to your workplace.


6. Relationship With Managers

Evaluate the relationship that employees have with their managers. How concerned is a manager with an employee? How does your manager behave towards you? A positive relationship with your manager leads to better performance. Manager support is discussed in many engagement and motivation theories. According to Saks (2006), the number of cognitive and emotional resources we get from managers seems to dictate how committed and how much energy we want to invest in our job.



Actions on a company level:

  • Improve their maturity by buying some good training. Are they, on average, the command-&-control type? Then work on their ability to ask and give feedback or to coach effectively. They have to learn how to show some vulnerability towards team members. But don’t call it that, because that will scare every single one of them.
  • Have a 360-review where employees get to comment on their manager’s ability anonymously. Don’t just do it once a year, but do it regularly. That input should, in turn, be used to coach the manager, not to evaluate them.


Actions on a team level:

  • Being a great manager actually boils down to gratitude (saying thank you), curiosity (listening) and showing real confidence (don’t be scared to ask for feedback).
  • Start with the basics. Get to know your team outside of work by going for lunch/dinner or even just drinks. Or step it up a little more by going off-site for fun activities.


7. Wellness and happiness

Wellness and happiness is generally used to mean a healthy balance of the mind, body, and spirit that results in an overall feeling of well-being and intense joy. Well-being can be defined as the condition of an individual or group, and happiness leads to a positive work environment that provides motivation and wellness of individuals. A study by University of Warwick found that happier employees are 12% more productive while unhappy employees are 10% less productive.


Actions on a company level:

  • Organise company sport-activities: Go for a walk or run during lunch, enroll for a sports event nearby, ping-pong tournaments, …
  • Encourage people to move, stop every two hours for a stretching session (no longer than 3 minutes) or introduce standing desks.
  • It’s simpler than you think: Introduce gratitude into your culture. Gratitude and being thankful are the most powerful weapon in generating happiness, fostering creativity and reducing stress.


Actions on a team level:

  • Create a team (not just a group of people) and foster good relationships between colleagues. Harvard studies have proven that having good relationships and a sense of belonging are the most important drivers for happiness.
  • Switch-up your one-on-one conversations by having them outside during a walk.
  • Have weekly meetings to discuss good news. Most meetings go over what's missing or bad events – switch it up by holding meetings to share the positive news.


8. Company alignment

Company Alignment refers to how aligned the employee's objectives and values are with the organisation's mission, vision, values, strategy, and goals. Organisational fit is something that more and more people care about and more employers recruit based on fit. In the 1980s a theory called Person Environment Fit Theory already briefly discussed its importance.


Actions on a company level:

  • Storytelling is a very effective way to get more knowledge about your company and departments into other people’s heads. Preferably you create simple videos/photo-stories that walk others through a day in the life of an employee. Let the employees write/record this themselves.
  • Often when we ask a company’s management team if they can state the company’s vision/mission/values, they come up with a wide variety of answers. So the first thing you should do is make sure they are simple and agreed upon by everyone. Then, as a next step, make them easily accessible by repeating them as often as possible.
  • Create transparency on everyone’s (and every team’s) responsibilities. So people know what others are doing. Preferably you urge people to get together during informal moments, even though they are not in the same department.


Actions on a team level:

  • Work on creating a team. Even if your team is working remotely, be sure that they feel like they belong to a team first and to the company second.
  • Make sure you know the purpose/mission/vision/values of your company. And make sure you fully understand them and agree.
  • Do a session on how your team could do out-of-the-box extras for the company's purpose and highlight the impact of every result.


9. Feedback

Feedback is the number one way to grow employees. Good feedback gives employees validation, recognition and helps them to learn from mistakes. It's also the best way to build confidence and trust between colleagues. According to Harvard Business Review, 72% of people feel their performance would improve if their managers provided corrective feedback. In fact, the same survey found that 57% of people prefer corrective feedback to purely praise and recognition.



Actions on a company level

  • Lead by example. Make leaders set boundaries for what's desirable feedback and what isn't. Encourage communication, give feedback to your people, but also welcome it and ask for it.
  • Communication is key to create a culture of feedback. Spread a campaign where you explain why feedback is important to grow, but be sure you also include guidelines of how you should give and receive feedback, make it vey simple and concise.
  • Make feedback easily accessible, for instance have a system in place that allows people to collect feedback and refer to it easily during conversations. This way it not only reaches the person who received it, but also the person who can potentially helped them out. Or at least refer to someone who can help, if this is necessary.


Actions on a team level

  • Set up a consistent feedback routine for your team, don't wait for a quarterly or yearly review. Start to incorporate feedback during conversations. Always keep it constructive so people grow less afraid of the concept that is feedback.
  • Employee feedback goes both ways, so during feedback conversations besides giving feedback make sure the employee has the opportunity to speak up. This way you can promote the culture and get to know whether you need to improve or your efforts have paid off.
  • Remind them that feedback a skill not a talent, so everyone has to work on it to improve it.


10. Empowerment

Research has regularly demonstrated that when employees feel empowered at work, it is associated with stronger job performance, job satisfaction, and commitment to the organization. (Seibert, Wang, & Courtright (2011) Another study by Zenger Folkman found that low empowerment leads to low effort. Folkman found that only 4% of employees put in extra effort when empowerment is low, but this rises to 67% when employees feel empowered.


Actions on a team level:

  • Praising efforts and accomplishments publicly fuels pride and incentivises ownership. Do it publicly (at meetings, in weekly reporting emails ...) to ignite similar motivation in others. Reinforce the impact of this kind of behaviour by stating how it affects the organisation and its objective.
  • Give employees a fixed amount of time to pitch innovative ideas and emphasise that they are expected to take complete ownership over their own project. This is an important motivator. Try to take away external pressure (demands of management, deadlines, poor results ...) as this might cause too much stress.
  • Retain top talent!


Actions on a company level:

  • Frequently communicate why your organisation does what it does and how it aims to do it. Give examples of how people contribute to the common goal and thank them for it publicly. Refer to different areas of the contributions each time and try to include every role that was involved.
  • Ask managers to find out what their employees would like to try out or have more control over and how the company would benefit from those changes. Managers could allocate some time and freedom to let their employees experiment.
  • Help to connect employees more, including the ones working remotely.


Our engagement module is incredibly user-friendly and set up in a jiffy. Give it a try so you can put these action points to practice!