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Employee Engagement

Understanding the Key Drivers of Employee Engagement

Employees define the success of an organization. And for employees to help you achieve success, building employee engagement within the organization is absolutely essential.  By keeping employees motivated and interested, an organization can dramatically boost productivity and employee retention rates.

Surveys have found that organizations that give importance to implementing the key employee engagement drivers maintain an enthusiastic work environment. Their employees are more inclined to go the extra mile to innovate and bring new ideas to the table. 

With the COVID-19 outbreak, remote work has become a norm and work motivation has seen a steep decline. Consequently, sustaining the factors that drive employee engagement in increasingly remote and hybrid workplaces can be a little challenging. 

From enabling employees with the right tools to keeping them engaged with interesting activities, employee engagement is multifaceted. With that in mind, here is a comprehensive guide to mastering the key drivers of employee engagement to help organizations leverage the collective strength of their employees.

What engagement drivers actually are? 

Employee engagement surveys consist of two things: the key drivers of employee engagement and the key outcomes of the employee engagement survey, the input and the output. The outcomes indicate the present state of employee engagement within an organization, however, they are not actionable. They are mere facts and findings that need to be molded into something more meaningful, something more insightful, something that is actionable. 

Engagement drivers can help you in taking actions. Engagement drivers are survey items that help deep dive into broad factors that drive employee engagement or influence it, such as leadership, trust, communication, manager effectiveness, work culture, individual needs, etc. Engagement drivers empower organizations to understand improvement areas and take corrective actions. If you correlate and analyze responses to the top drivers of employee engagement, you will have a plan that directs you to take the right actions.

Engagement drivers make employee engagement actionable. They are what drives employee engagement by indicating the areas that need focus and improvement.  

The first step towards an effective employee engagement strategy is to gauge the way you measure it. What you ask, how often, how you gather data, can make or break your employee engagement efforts. To change the way you use employee engagement data, you have to start at the source and relook at factors that drive employee engagement in your organization. 

Let’s look at some of the main factors that drive employee engagement.

What are the key drivers of employee engagement?

Statistically, companies can increase their profitability by 21% with the right approach towards engagement drivers. But before implementing them, knowing the key drivers and their functions is of utmost importance. 

The following are 7 key drivers and 22 sub-drivers of employee engagement that every company should focus on:

key drivers of employee engagementManager

There isn’t another engagement driver in the workplace that impacts employees as much as their manager. Being the leader and the driving force of talent, a manager’s right attitude can keep the employees driven, interested, and satisfied. Managers and the right rewards and recognition programs together make the top drivers of employee engagement.

  • Communication: Clear communication makes most situations and relationships seem less complex and the workplace is no exception. Communicating your expectations to your employees in a clear and precise manner avoids instances of confusion in the team. Personable communication skills in a manager can lead to better employee engagement while the lack of it may cause confusion and reduce productivity.
  • Collaboration: A manager plays a key role in encouraging collaboration among team members. It goes without saying that a collaborative work environment boosts productivity and employee engagement.
  • Feedback and Recognition: When it comes to employee satisfaction, giving honest feedback and praising good work is a key engagement driver. A positive acknowledgement from a senior is a powerful catalyst for productivity. When a manager gives constructive feedback and also appreciates good efforts, an employee feels respected.
  • Trust: Micromanaging employees shows that the manager is not confident of their capabilities. This can heavily impact morale, resulting in a steep decrease in engagement. While a manager should keep an eye out for possible mishaps, a strong sense of trust in their team members has a positive impact on team morale. An employee feels the drive to put in extra effort to get the job done if they know that their manager believes in them.

key drivers of employee engagementGrowth

An organization that gives the employees opportunities to grow in both their personal and professional lives tends to do better in improving employee engagement among the employees. The following things are important to note regarding growth:

  • Opportunity: Suitable and well-deserved opportunities can substantially motivate employees. When employees get an opportunity that pushes their growth within the company, the employee retention rate increases. Employees often leave organizations for better roles and opportunities, but if their current employer offers them growth opportunities, chances are that they won’t look out. Rather than hiring a person from outside the organization, are you overlooking an employee who is ready to take on that role?
  • Autonomy: Giving your employees reasonable autonomy gives them the window to put their flair into the job. This keeps them interested in positively contributing to not only their growth but also the company’s growth. 
  • Innovation & creativity: Appreciating and pushing for out-of-the-box ideas and giving them the space to experiment is a key engagement driver. When employees have the opportunity to show their creativity, they get more invested in their work.

key drivers of employee engagementTeam

It may not feel like it, but the people around you in a workspace have a significant impact on how you feel about your profession, company, and team.

  • Collaboration: In a collaborative work environment, employees can seek help and learn from each other, ultimately boosting their skills and productivity. Better employee engagement is directly connected to better interaction among co-workers. If an employee feels like not everybody in the team is putting in equal effort, they may lose interest as well. Trusting your team members and sharing the workload can finish tasks faster and yield better results.
  • Communication: Smooth communication between team members reduces confusion and boosts productivity. When each employee effectively communicates their doubts, expectations, and goals with their team members, daily tasks run seamlessly.
  • Camaraderie & trust: Employees spend a major chunk of their weekdays with colleagues, so building camaraderie is important. A healthy and friendly relationship with your team can help employees enjoy their work more. Moreover, a mutual trust provides safety and encourages employees to be more open and forthcoming.

key drivers of employee engagement Organization

Another key driver of employee engagement is what lies at the core of the organization. These are things that typically define who you are as a company, what you value, and what your employees perceive of it.

  • Culture & ethics: A positive and encouraging work culture with strong ethics and values encourages employees to reflect the same in their jobs. Lack of transparency and unethical practices are some of the things a company needs to avoid for better engagement.
  • Mission, vision, values, & goals: A clear roadmap of the company’s mission, values, and goals is necessary for an employee to understand the core essence of their job. When employees know the vision and expectations of the organization, they know exactly what to do instead of working with no clear goal in mind.
  • DE&I: It is no rocket science to understand that employees feel comfortable in a diverse, equitable, and inclusive work environment. It gives employees a sense of belongingness and provides them with the much-needed safety to express diverse ideas and needs openly. Inclusivity calls for flexibility and acknowledging that different groups of employees have different needs. Equity in the workplace considers the fact that not every employee is starting from the same place. When employees feel like they belong, they treat the company as their own and push their limits with better efforts.

key drivers of employee engagement Work

This one might seem a little obvious to you, but several elements fall under good ‘work’ for an employee. These have a big impact on how engaged an employee feels with the work.

  • Compensation & benefits: Money might not be the biggest key driver of employee engagement, but it is one of the vital ones. Employees deserve the right compensation and benefits that suit their responsibilities. When an employee sees that other companies are offering better salary and benefits packages for the same job title, they feel undervalued. Unfair and low compensation go hand in hand with a higher employee turnover rate.
  • Clarity and purpose: Every employee should know how their job role contributes to the overall growth of the company. Without it, they would have no proper idea of how to engage with their job responsibilities. Having clarity about work expectations and knowing what purpose their work serves in the bigger picture are strong engagement drivers that make employees feel personally connected to their organization.
  • Resources, processes, and tools: Equipping your employees with the right tools and resources necessary for their work makes completing the tasks much easier. With rundown, old tools, and processes, frustrations build up resulting in further demotivation, ultimately resulting in disengaged employees.If an employee has premium resources at the tip of their fingers, they can spend more time doing their actual jobs. That’s why investing in the right tools as a company immensely benefits organizations in the long run. Remote work, hybrid work, and a permanent return to office, each need their own set of effective processes, tools and technologies. Make sure your employees are armed with the right resources to be effective in the future of work.
  • Workplace:  A comfortable and clean workplace motivates employees to give their best. When they enter a modern office with all the amenities they seek, vigor and productivity follows. Having dedicated spaces for meetings, group activities, fun hours, lunch, and focus time can greatly benefit your employees.
  • Work-life balance: The pandemic has been an eye opener for many employees to realize the importance of work-life balance. A recent study by Michael Page noted that 61% of employees in India are willing to accept a lower salary or forgo a pay rise/promotion for better work-life balance. If an organization doesn’t give its employees enough room to breathe, that can become a significant cause for employee disengagement. For better employee motivation, setting up realistic and doable goals is of utmost importance. An overworked employee tends to make more mistakes, which will not positively impact the organization.

key drivers of employee engagement Satisfaction

Simply put, the more satisfied employees are with their work and work environment, the more engaged they remain. But here’s what falls under satisfaction:

  • Happiness at work: There is no better boost to productivity than enjoying one’s job, team, and workplace. A happy employee will do more for your company than an overworked frustrated employee. As one of the most important engagement drivers, it is the company’s responsibility to see to the needs of the employees to the best of their abilities. 
  • Championing and pride: A company should work towards building a positive image as an employer. This way, employees feel a sense of pride and belongingness in the organization and refer to the company to their family and customers in a positive light.

key drivers of employee engagementLeadership

One of the most neglected aspects of employee engagement is the role of leadership. Employees look up to their leaders to learn and take inspiration from. Making them a part of your employee engagement strategy is what can truly help you establish a bond with your employees.

  • Approachability: An approachable leadership encourages employees to come forward with their ideas and inputs. They should feel that their view would be respected and taken seriously regardless of their designation.
  • Integrity and transparency: A leadership that sticks to their word and strives to make employees part of the decision-making process see an uptick in employee engagement. Transparency of policies and decisions is another key factor of employee engagement.

Are you struggling to unravel the FULL POTENTIAL of your employee engagement initiatives in a hybrid work model?

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What drives employee engagement: Leena AI’s employee engagement framework 

As key drivers of employee engagement have several moving pieces, we understand that implementing them fruitfully might get a little tricky. That’s why, after working with several successful organizations, Leena AI has come up with an effective framework for better employee engagement at your company.

Leena AI’s Employee Engagement platform helps you garner real-time insights about the key drivers of employee engagement via a conversational, human-like experience. Leena AI’s automated employee engagement dashboard gives your organization the power to understand how your employees are feeling about the various drivers of employee engagement and where their issues lie. The dashboard empowers you to know the organizational mood, sentiment, and happiness score, and ultimately take mindful actions wherever needed.

Let’s have a closer look at the framework of engagement drivers:

  • When it comes to growth, the company needs to focus on three key elements- autonomy, opportunity and innovation. When an employee is given reasonable autonomy in their job, they feel free to bring a unique perspective to their job. This also encourages employees to be innovative. Last but not the least, the opportunity for personal and professional growth in the organization acts as an incentive in developing employee loyalty and engagement
  • Without strong leadership, employees do not feel motivated to consistently do their best. The effectiveness of a company’s management reflects in how they communicate with the employees. Belief in leadership drives the employees to accept feedback and work on it. A company should communicate any milestone changes to the employees and hold frequent discussions for their input. This works wonders in building collective trust in the management. 
  • It is the manager’s responsibility to ensure synergy, communication and trust among team members. With a capable manager, an employee tends to exceed expectations regardless of how they feel about the employer. As a key factor of employee engagement, the staff should feel like they can depend on their manager in case of any complications. This can only happen when the employee gets timely feedback as well as recognition.
  • Giving your employees a proper insight into the vision and goal of the organization through meetings, town halls, and seminars is a good way to build employee engagement. In addition, inclusivity in opportunity and growth creates a sense of belongingness among the employees. This portrays an ethical image of the organization in the eyes of the employee.
  • Employee satisfaction directly impacts the quality of work. Fair pay, reasonable working hours for better work-life balance, premium resources and tools, a positive work environment, and clarity of goals are some of the measures that ensure better employee engagement. Little things like an entertainment room, complimentary refreshments, and a host of other employee engagement activities go a long way in creating a fun and enjoyable atmosphere in the office.
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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the drivers of employee engagement?

The 7 key drivers of employee engagement are:

  • Manager
  • Growth
  • Team
  • Organization
  • Work
  • Satisfaction
  • Leadership

What is the most important driver of employee engagement?

The most important driver of employee engagement is the relationship between an employee and their manager. If an employee isn’t happy with their immediate manager, chances are that nothing else will be able to drive their engagement levels. A manager that micromanages deflects blame, and takes credit for their team’s work is one of the primary reasons for disengaged employees and high levels of attrition.

What drives employee engagement and why it matters?

There are various factors that drive employee engagement, such as growth opportunities, relationship with manager, work-life balance, organizational culture, leadership, compensation, satisfaction and happiness at work, etc. It is important to take into account all these drivers of employee engagement because they play a critical role throughout the employee lifecycle. If you design your employee engagement strategy based on these key engagement drivers, you will be able to understand the pulse of your employees, help them resolve their issues, contribute to their productivity, and enjoy long-term relationships.

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