Employee engagement can be defined as the level to which employees are invested in their jobs. Engaged employees can be an organisation’s greatest asset. This is why it is crucial to set in place drivers of employee engagement.
High employee engagement can be exhibited in a number of ways, including;
- Employees who are enthusiastic about their work
- A desire to improve their performance
- A desire to improve skills and knowledge
- A sense of meaning in their work
- Greater productivity
Here are the key drivers of employee engagement to keep in mind:
Leaders at all levels are important drivers of employee engagement. One way leaders can do this is by being transparent. This goes beyond communicating the vision or even goals and objectives of the company to employees. It includes sharing information in both good and hard times, advocating for employees and fostering a positive work culture.
When leaders are transparent, they influence employees to be the same way. Employees can comfortably raise queries and share ideas in the workplace. This trust can permeate other workplace relationships and drive more than engagement.
In order to have great leaders, organisations need to prioritise periodic leadership training.
Frequent, clear communication
Whether it is communication between colleagues, from managers and with upper management, communication is an important driver of employee engagement.
For it to be meaningful, communication channels in the organisation should flow two ways, from top to bottom and from bottom to the top. Through regular one on ones, pulse surveys, team meetings and briefings, management can ensure that employees are being heard.
Frequent communication ensures that employees know what they are supposed to do, that they can ask for what they need and that they get on well with one another. In a team setting, being able to communicate clearly will enhance collaboration and lead to greater problem solving. In such an environment, employee engagement is sure to increase.
Think about it, if all you do for the entire work day is busy work, you too might become disengaged. One of the drivers of employee engagement is work that employees find meaningful.
For some workers, for work to be meaningful it should serve to positively impact someone or something else. Managers can come in here to articulate how the outcomes of employees’ work will be impactful. Companies that champion philanthropic causes can satisfy this need.
Management can help employees see the meaning in their work by explaining how one’s output fits in with another colleague’s or department’s and how their specific efforts help to advance the organisations’ objectives.
Closely followed by meaningful work is recognition for work well done. For employees to feel engaged at work, they need recognition for their efforts.
Recognition encourages employees to continue doing a good job and encourages others to do the same. For this to work as a driver of employee engagement, try and tailor it to specific employees. Public praise may work well for one but not for the next employee.
Through regular one on one chats, managers will be able to zero in on what their different employees prefer when it comes to methods of recognition.
Advancement in one’s career is yet another of the drivers of employee engagement. Employees need to be able to move from one stage to the next. To do this, they need to have a clear career path charted. This is something they can do with the assistance of their manager or supervisor. Knowing where they want to be will help them and the organisation prioritise skills to get them there.
Beyond career advancement, learning is a very important means of preparing for growth. Skills that employees learn make them better at their jobs in the present and prepare them for jobs in the future as well.
It should be noted that while these factors can drive employee engagement, they may not work for every employee. They should be applied with some consideration because different employees may be driven by different factors.
Before initiating these drivers of employee engagement, organisations should have a good understanding of their employees and an awareness that their needs will change over time.
What influences how employees respond to the drivers of engagement
Employee’s personal motivational factors
People are motivated to work by a vast number of things. For one employee, it may be having autonomy in their work to experiment. Such employees will be more likely to be more engaged if they have more freedom and room to try new things.
For another, it could be a need for job security. With that in place, they will be highly engaged. It is therefore a good idea to investigate what motivates employees before management puts in place drivers of employee engagement.
What drives engagement for someone in the medical field may not be the same for someone in an advertising agency. One might need better technology in the workplace while the other may gravitate more towards a need to take more risks in their work.
Management should take into consideration what drives engagement in different fields and support employees accordingly.
Where employees are on their career path is a big contributor to what will drive engagement. For instance, you might find that early stage employees will be more engaged when they have mentors and are given a chance to improve their skills.
Not to say that more experienced employees do not want the same things but they may be more influenced by factors like flexible work schedules and advancement opportunities.
One of the things organisations pay particular focus to when it comes to employee management is engagement. Putting in place drivers of employee engagement can result in more productive and happier employees.
While there are many of such drivers, they should be applied with some awareness of the needs of the specific employees if they are to yield results. Carrying out pulse surveys to learn not only what influences engagement but also whether drivers of employee engagement are working is an important step in this process.