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The 8 main drivers of employee engagement and key tips


May 29, 2023


June 16, 2023

How to make your team members more engaged in their job? That's a question all managers have asked themselves at least once in their careers. And indeed, knowing the main drivers of employee engagement is crucial to make workers thrive and achieve the company’s goals.

A great employee experience is the magic sauce that makes the recipe so satisfying and fulfilling. But what are the ingredients? Is it recognition, purpose, work-life balance, or skills development? Yes, it is a mix of these and a few other key elements to add to the potion. 

This article focuses on the 8 core factors that motivate people at work and make them enthusiastic about their job. We also share extra tips at the end of this blog post to ensure your employee engagement improves and sustains in the long term!

What is employee engagement, and why is it important?

Definition of employee engagement

Employee engagement refers to your team members' involvement in their professional lives. Are they motivated to go the extra mile? Do they take the initiative to add value to their tasks? Do they eagerly participate in the company’s events? Many factors, such as job satisfaction, well-being, employee experience, and so on, influence your staff’s level of enthusiasm. Employee engagement is often divided into three categories of workers: engaged, not engaged, or actively disengaged.

The difference between employee engagement vs. employee experience

Employee engagement and employee experience are two distinctive topics.

  • Employee experience is much broader and includes various aspects, from recruitment to onboarding and career development.
  • Employee engagement is a consequence of a successful experience at work. It helps determine how happy and satisfied your coworkers are with their job and the company. It can be used as a KPI to measure employee experience.

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Benefits of collaborating with an engaged workforce

Working with an engaged team is the dream of every manager and organization. Employee engagement usually means that your team members are happy and satisfied with what their job and the company offer them. This contributes to greater productivity, less turnover, and more successful outcomes. Yet, businesses need to know the drivers of employee engagement and shouldn’t expect to see it happening with no effort from their side. This key aspect is a mutual process. It only occurs with an employee-centric approach

Few statistics to know about employee engagement

Could your employee be more engaged in their work? Here are a few key findings from Gallup’s 10th employee engagement meta-analysis that should convince you to make it a priority. 

  • Managers determine 70% of the difference between employee engagement levels.
  • 80% of the global workforce is not engaged or actively disengaged at work.
  • Absenteeism decreases by 81% when workers are engaged.
  • Companies with engaged employees are 23% more profitable.

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What are the key drivers of employee engagement?

1. Employee happiness and satisfaction

As mentioned, employee happiness and job satisfaction significantly boost employee engagement. When team members are content with their careers and their working environment, they are more likely to approach their job enthusiastically and perform their tasks diligently. A sense of satisfaction in their professional lives motivates them to maintain this positive state and exceed expectations.

2. Flexible work opportunities

Since 2020, working flexibly has become a core employee expectation and a main driver for employee engagement. There are numerous examples of flexibility at work, but they all contribute to the same outcomes. They all help find a better work-life balance, provide an opportunity for workers to adjust their schedule to their personal needs, boost engagement, and ultimately increase productivity. Businesses that embrace this modern way of working have a better chance of creating a happy and engaged workforce.

🗓️  Start a free trial of the deskbird app and give your employees more flexibility with workspace booking and week planning!

3. Employee empowerment and career development

Millennials and Gen Z workers represent the majority of the workforce. These two generations have clear expectations toward the workplace, including personal and professional growth. 

Encouraging upskilling and reskilling, offering job promotions, enhancing autonomy, and creating psychological safety are crucial drivers to boost their engagement. You need to build a working environment where your staff feels comfortable expressing their needs and is pushed to learn new skills. Therefore, focusing on employee empowerment and career development is a must. 

4. Appreciation, recognition, and reward

Have you noticed that your team members are less eager than when they started their job? A drop in motivation often happens after a few months in a position. Staying motivated is challenging when workers don’t feel valued and recognized. 

But there are many ways how you can overcome this issue. For example, sharing appreciation and rewarding employees are essential aspects managers need to put into practice regularly. Rewards can be a salary increase, an opportunity to work more flexibly, a sabbatical approval, well-being initiatives, etc.

men shaking hands

5. Digital workplace experience

Not working with digital tools that match employees’ needs can lead to frustration and disengagement. We all use tech devices in our personal lives, and workers expect to have the same access to efficient technology in their work environment. For instance, effective communication and smooth collaboration are vital to modern teams working hybrid. Providing them with equipment, such as project management software, desk booking platforms, or virtual reality meeting resources, is essential to boosting engagement and productivity.

💻  Is your digital workplace up-to-date? Read our article about hybrid workplace technology to discover key info and tools!

6. Meaningful job

More than ever, people aspire to find purpose in their lives and in their job. They want a good reason to get up in the morning and go to work. Having a meaningful professional life is another driver for employee engagement. 

Here again, they are many ways how you can enhance this factor. Of course, having a job position enabling them to impact and follow their values positively is great. But it can also be through other aspects of their professional lives, such as implementing sustainability in the office or promoting DEI in the workplace.

7. Organizational culture

Employees are the backbone of a business, and corporate culture is the spine of a thriving  workforce. A strong organizational culture plays a huge role in employee engagement, creating a sense of community and fostering workplace connection.

When your staff feels in the right place with the right people, it is a good sign that you’ve built a great corporate culture. It impacts how engaged and motivated people are to do their job and participate in the company’s growth. However, having such a positive and strong culture doesn’t happen overnight and shouldn’t be expected to develop on its own. It requires time and effort, but the payoff is undoubtedly worth it. 

8. Management style

Are you a manager? Well, your leadership style is one of the biggest drivers for employee engagement. But don’t worry, there are basic rules that should help you with this. At deskbird, we believe a people-first approach is the most effective and efficient management strategy. When looking at what aspects make people more engaged, we realized many are strongly related to their manager.

For example, being clear and transparent about each team member’s role is crucial. A fair and inclusive leadership style is also expected. Last but not least, workers want autonomy. Micromanagement is, therefore, an engagement killer.

👉 Do you think you might be micromanaging your team? Discover the 17 signs of micromanagement!

How do you boost and sustain employee engagement?

Discuss with your workers to determine drivers of employee engagement

Trust and transparency are key to improving and maintaining employee engagement. Your staff has to be comfortable expressing their feelings toward their job. Some might share what motivates or drains them without you asking. Others might keep it for themselves if not asked.  First, you need to listen to them actively when they discuss this topic with you. It plays a huge part in building trust and gives you crucial information on how to boost their engagement.

Second, send surveys regularly to gauge their satisfaction. Shy, sensitive, or introverted people are less likely to speak about their feelings openly. Through this, you can get everyone’s opinion, even the one from the most discreet of your workers.

Last, now that you better understand their motivations and frustrations, try to meet their expectations as much as possible.

Focus on creating a positive and healthy corporate culture

As we’ve mentioned, a strong corporate culture plays a big part in boosting engagement. Just take the recommendation above as an example. Your team members won’t come to you if they know the culture the company promotes isn’t based on employees. The atmosphere you create and the values you enhance deeply influence how people feel in the workplace and their relationship with their job, their colleagues, and the organization itself.

💜 Do you need some help with building a strong culture? Check out our article about the 7 steps to foster a positive workplace culture.

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Stay updated about the latest trends in the future of work

We live in an era when everything goes fast. You’ve just bought the latest smartphone, and the launch of the next one is already announced. It’s hard to keep up, and the world of work is no different from our personal lives.  Knowing the trends of the future of work, including what employees want and expect from the workplace, is crucial to maintain satisfaction and engagement. We highly recommend you follow modern work leaders, listen to Future of Work podcasts, and subscribe to the deskbird newsletter to stay up-to-date! Having motivated team members plays a vital role in the success of organizations. It serves as the catalyst for enhanced productivity, reduced turnover, and outstanding outcomes. To reach these goals, you have to understand the major drivers of employee engagement. Yet, knowing them isn’t enough. You also have to put them into practice

Active listening, regular surveys, and meeting employee expectations are crucial for sustaining and boosting engagement. Moreover, creating a positive corporate culture that aligns with workers’ values fosters a fulfilling work environment. Lastly, being aware of future work trends enables organizations to adapt to their workforce’s evolving needs and requirements!

Do you aim to be a modern workplace where employees are engaged and thrive? Request a free demo of the deskbird app to embrace the perks of hybrid work, including making your staff happy and saving costs!


The 8 main drivers of employee engagement and key tips

Paulyne Sombret

Paulyne is a highly respected expert in hybrid work. She's known for her writing on sustainability in the hybrid office, flexible work models, and employee experience. With a strong background in content and SEO, her work explores the exciting trends and latest news in the world of work.

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