Top 20 Drivers of Employee Engagement

Mariya Postelnyak


We already know that employee engagement is a leading driver of workplace productivity, employee retention, and customer loyalty. But what exactly drives employee engagement itself? In this post, we’ll examine the drivers of employee engagement and how to harness their benefits in your organization. 

Employee engagement is not an overnight phenomenon. Although most employers recognize its benefits, many simply don’t know where to start when it comes to promoting employee engagement

One way to tackle this problem is to break down employee engagement into its core components.

By understanding and targeting the drivers of employee engagement, you can develop an actionable strategy for boosting engagement across your organization. 

Turn emails into engaging conversations

What Are Drivers of Employee Engagement?

Employee engagement can be a tricky concept to pin down. You know it when you see it, but it’s not all that easy to define, which makes it difficult to create a strategy for boosting employee engagement. 

To simplify things, it’s helpful to think about employee engagement in terms of its drivers. Ask yourself: “Who and what motivates our employees to get involved and engaged in the organization?” 

Your answer should lead you to a list of employee engagement drivers: people, places, and opportunities in your company that have a direct impact on employee engagement.

We’ll get up close and personal with each employee engagement driver in the next section.

Top 20 Drivers of Employee Engagement

No matter the size or industry of your business, the following employee engagement drivers can apply to every organization. The important part is to recognize them in time and understand how you can scale their benefits in your business. 

1. Leadership

Company leaders are employee engagement advocates. If you want to get everyone in your organization prioritizing employee engagement, senior leaders must set an example first. 

That makes it vital to get leadership right from the start. This doesn’t just mean providing managers with proper training and resources to do their job—although that’s important too. 

What it really means is establishing effective hiring practices and promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Every employee needs to trust that their senior leaders will make them feel seen, heard, and included in company decisions. 

Your takeaways: 

Implement strategies to ensure fair and equitable hiring practices, such as organizing unconscious bias training in your workplace. Also, make sure leaders are regularly communicating with staff and are accessible to all employees. 

Use your employee newsletter to send out bi-weekly or monthly messages from your leadership team. With ContactMonkey, you can personalize newsletters so that your senior leaders are addressing each employee individually, adding a personalized touch. 

2. Employee onboarding

Did you know that a whopping one third of new hires leave their job within the first six months? That signals a huge drain on your budget (around 20% of the departing employee’s annual salary). Not to mention, your teams will feel pretty sore having spent all that time onboarding an employee who immediately leaves. 

The truth of it is, your employee onboarding process may likely be the culprit behind an early departure. 

For a new hire, the first few months on the job can be overwhelming as there’s so much new information to absorb. If a new recruit is lacking the proper resources or guidance, it’s unlikely that they’ll feel motivated or inspired in their role. Never neglect the importance of employee engagement

Your takeaways:

To ensure an effective onboarding process—one that makes new hires feel welcomed and promotes engagement—you need to gather continuous employee feedback. To avoid overwhelming your new recruits with lengthy surveys, use an onboarding pulse survey tool like ContactMonkey. You’ll be able to embed new hire surveys directly into their employee emails – making feedback quick, simple, and more effective. 

Turn emails into engaging conversations

Gauge employee satisfaction with embedded pulse surveys in your emails.

3. Coworker Relationships

When colleagues share trust, respect, and common goals, the outcome is improved workplace trust and collaboration. Without positive worker relationships employee engagement is virtually impossible to foster. 

Strong, positive relationships, among team members create an environment where employees feel safe expressing ideas, taking creative risks, and providing constructive feedback when necessary. These are integral components of an engaged workforce.

Your takeaways:

To nurture a workplace environment where employees have positive relationships with coworkers, you have to start with company culture. 

Team-building activities and virtual events are a great place to start, especially among new employees. But these employee engagement strategies have to be complemented by a strong culture of feedback that enables employees to build trust. 

Start by featuring fun employee recognition ideas across the office and making feedback the norm via company culture survey questions. With ContactMonkey’s interactive employee newsletter templates, you can use your internal emails to accomplish both. 

4. Capacity

This employee engagement driver is all about how capable employees feel in their work environment. 

Think of it like this: employees need to experience physical, psychological, and emotional safety to do their best work. A lot of that is determined by the workplace conditions created by employers. 

That being said, everyone’s working style is different and their needs will differ accordingly.

Your takeaways:

To ensure that you’re creating a work environment that inspires employees to excel in their roles, simply ask them how they feel. 

Using your employee pulse survey, check how employees rate their current environment on a number of parameters. These should include workplace safety, wellbeing, focus, and other characteristics integral to the work your company does. 

Best way to build engaging employee emails

5. Effective communication

Being engaged without being informed is not easy. That’s why effective communication is one of the key drivers of engagement. 

Your workers need to understand what values their company stands for, how they go about fulfilling their mission, and the industry insights that help them do it. Employees also need to interact with colleagues across the organization to gain different perspectives and get advice and insights for career growth. 

Your takeaways:

Businesses must monitor and recognize communication gaps when they happen and continuously work to address them. Managers and internal communicators need to be the ones spearheading the way to effective communication. They can do this by initiating dialogue with employees in the form of regular check-ins, virtual town halls, and interactive internal company newsletters where employees can give and gain feedback. 

6. Employee feedback

Regular employee feedback is a crucial employee engagement best practice. Feedback helps staff understand what they’re doing well, which assets they can harness in the future, and where they need to improve. These factors help employees gain the confidence and pride that leads to increased employee engagement

That being said, employee feedback is effective in as much as it’s delivered in a respectful and authentic manner. The sandwich technique, where criticism is squeezed between two thick layers of dubious compliments, just won’t cut it anymore. 

Your takeaways:

Employers need to make employee feedback the norm. That way, it’s never taken as a sign of concern but another order of business designed to improve workflow. 

At the same time, feedback needs to be a two-way stream. So make sure managers are asking for as much feedback as they’re dishing out. When done right, employee feedback can make workplace relationships even stronger and improve how your business operates. 

With ContactMonkey you can streamline the feedback process by embedding short, simple, staff survey questions right into your internal emails. Maximize survey responses by using ContactMonkey to find your best times to send employee emails.

Employees can respond without leaving their inbox, using emoji reactions, dichotomous scales, star ratings and more. 

7. Clarity

Employees often judge their performance by how close they are to attaining a team target or organizational goal. When they’re unclear about their task, objective, or how close they are to success, it can make for a confusing and frustrating employee experience

There’s not much time to get engaged if you’re stuck wondering whether you’re even on the right track. That’s why it’s important to consider clarity in the workplace as a key driver of employee engagement. 

Your takeaways:

You can help shed clarity for employees and improve engagement through effective communication. When delegating tasks, make sure you clearly communicate how specific job responsibilities or projects are linked to broader organizational goals.

If you’re assigning tasks using an internal communication software like ContactMonkey, you can add an anonymous comments box at the end of your message. This way, employees can ask questions and voice concerns if anything is unclear.

7 ways to get honest feedback from employee surveys

Will your workforce tell the truth? Foster trust and openness with your employees using these tips.

8. Flexibility

Today’s technology-driven workforce has different demands than employees of years past. 

The generations that worked in the shadow of the pandemic is not likely to embrace limits on where or even when they work. 

After months of remote and hybrid work, today’s employees will demand more flexibility from their jobs. They’ll also want greater alignment between their personal and professional lives. As a result, flexibility will become a leading driver of employee engagement.

Your takeaways:

In order to attract a wider talent pool and retain employees by keeping them engaged, your company will need to introduce flexible workplace policies. These range widely and can include various models of hybrid and remote work, or the option of late starts and early finishes. 

Using an employee engagement app like ContactMonkey, gather employee feedback and ask your staff what they would like to see. Do more employees prefer a remote-first hybrid workplace? Is in-person work still the top choice? Ask your staff what they think and check survey results in your campaign dashboard to make informed decisions.

9. Professional Development

This employee engagement driver is all about opportunities for growth. 

Engaged employees see a clear, upwards career path within their organization. They’re aware of the necessary steps they need to take in order to grow and their motivation fuels engagement. 

Your takeaways: 

It’s important to have ample professional development resources on offer for employees. At the same time, your professional development options need to correspond to employee interests. 

Try conducting an employee pulse survey to see how employees rate your current resources. With ContactMonkey’s drag-and-drop email template builder you can easily add star ratings and other types of employee surveys to learn staff preferences. Employees can express whether they think your company has sufficient professional development resources while also making suggestions on what else they’d like to see. 

10. Psychological Safety

In order to work effectively, psychological safety and wellbeing are non-negotiable for employees. 

To be engaged in the workplace, employees need to feel comfortable. That means being confident that they don’t need to conceal a part of their identity or put all their energy and focus into pretending to be someone they’re not. 

Your takeaways:

To ensure that employees feel psychological safety in your workplace, it’s important to provide a safe outlet for staff to express themselves and voice concerns. 

With an internal communications tool that guarantees anonymity, employees can rate their level of wellness in your office. They can also share anonymous suggestions on how things can be improved. And when employees provide honest and authentic feedback you can make meaningful changes. 

11. Benefits and compensation

Let’s face it, no matter how passionate you are about your work, if you feel that your salary doesn’t reflect the effort that you’re putting in, you won’t be happy. And unsatisfied employees are disengaged employees. 

Your takeaways:

By assessing how employees feel about their compensation and benefits, you can determine whether you need to make changes. With ContactMonkey, you can conduct an anonymous compensation and benefits survey right from your employee newsletter. 

With guaranteed anonymity, employees can provide honest responses and helpful suggestions on this sensitive topic. In turn, you can make improvements that boost employee engagement.

12. Recognition

While compensation is an important part of keeping employees engaged, staff also need to feel that their work is recognized. In fact, 72% of company leaders rank employee recognition as one of the top drivers of employee engagement in the workplace.

Employee recognition motivates your staff to do great work by showing them that their efforts are truly valued. It also gives them a sense of pride and confidence, which fuels them to do even better.  

Your takeaways:

Recognizing employees is essential to keeping them engaged. And there are so many ways you can do this. From a digital ‘associate of the month’ feature in your employee newsletter to a shoutout in your virtual town hall or UberEats gift cards, there are employee recognition strategies for any internal comms budget

If you’re wondering how to step up your employee engagement strategy, check out our blog post on creative employee engagement ideas.

13. Fairness

Imagine giving your all to a project but seeing your teammates get all the credit. Chances are, you’d feel a bit resentful towards your team and the organization more broadly. And with that, there’s little opportunity for employee engagement. 

The measure of fairness employees experience in the workplace depends on many areas of their job. From the sort of projects employees are given, to the amount of compensation they get for their work, employee fairness is integral to high employee engagement and retention.

Your takeaways:

In order to ensure a fair and equitable workplace, set clear policies and expectations for workplace fairness. You also have to make sure that everyone across your organization is aware of them. When managers are hired, make sure these policies are incorporated alongside proper training in their onboarding resources. 

14. Direction and purpose

Over 80% of employees experience higher levels of engagement when they’re doing work that clearly aligns with their company’s values. 

For this reason, it’s essential that companies clearly lay out their organizational mission and goals for employees. The tasks employees are assigned should also be linked back to larger company goals. 

Your takeaways:

Clearly outlining your company’s purpose and direction will help you recruit and retain outstanding talent. Why? Because the people you hire will have a clear understanding of your company mission and know if they’re a good fit from the get go. 

Use your company newsletter to convey your company’s direction and purpose by sharing inspiring industry news, company achievements, and exciting announcements. 

With ContactMonkey, you can convey your company mission and values using branded slogans, images, colours and video. Record messages from your leadership team, add inspirational videos, and set branded newsletter templates for more engaging internal communications.

15. Responsibility

When employees have ownership over a project or task, they feel more empowered and driven to excel at it. That’s because accountability inspires pride and confidence. 

By giving employees clear and tangible responsibilities, you provide them with an opportunity to shine and develop their skills. 

Of course, that doesn’t mean overwhelming employees with more tasks they have to deliver on. It means letting them focus, and take ownership of projects they truly enjoy.

Your takeaways:

By providing opportunities for additional responsibility and ownership of a project, you can boost employee morale and engagement levels. 

Begin by asking employees what sort of tasks they want to take ownership of. Gauge employee interests using a pulse survey tool and find ways to accommodate their preferences. This will help employees grow their skills and feel empowered in their work.

16. Work-life balance

Did you know that 80% of job seekers consider work-life balance a key criteria when looking for employment?

And that’s not all. Recent studies have shown that employees who consider their job to have greater work-life balance, work harder than those who don’t. That’s because employees who enjoy greater work-life balance don’t have to worry about lagging on personal priorities. 

Your takeaways:

The bottom line: greater work-life balance will motivate employees to be more engaged in the workplace while helping you attract top talent in the future.

To see how your company is doing on the work-life balance front, ask employees to rate their experience in your next employee engagement survey. Use the results to decide whether you need to offer more flexible work arrangements or extra time off so that employees are at their best when they’re in the office.

17. Workplace standards

Today’s workers want clear expectations for their role and performance on the job. They want to know what code of conduct is expected of them and how they’ll be evaluated in their performance. That makes workplace standards one of the biggest drivers of employee engagement.

To keep employees engaged, being transparent about your workplace standards is essential. 

Your takeaways:

When employees have clarity about the workplace standards they can feel more comfortable getting involved and engaged in the workplace. 

Use your company newsletter to explain your company standards and invite employees to ask questions and clarify concerns. With ContactMonkey, you can add guidelines, policy documents, and other valuable company insights into your employee emails using smartlinks (as opposed to bulky attachments). 

18. Teamwork

Workplace collaboration, and especially the trust employees have in their senior leaders, is a top driver of employee engagement. 

Today’s organizations often operate across multiple countries and thousands of employees. For things to run smoothly and for employees to be able to meaningfully engage in the organization, effective collaboration is key. 

Your takeaways:

Leaders need to strengthen employee trust and confidence by being transparent and creating a freeflow of open information-sharing. This sets a collaborative work ethic and effective model for employees to follow and start becoming more confident in sharing with others.

19. Company Culture

Did you know that 77% of employees believe that having strong bonds with their colleagues is important to their engagement level? 

How your employees engage with one another, as well as the attitudes and habits that become the norm at your workplace shape your company culture. In turn, this determines how comfortable employees feel in actively participating in the workplace. 

Your takeaways:

In order to ensure a company culture that fosters employee engagement, communication is key. 

With ContactMonkey’s interactive newsletter templates, you can build dialogue and drive email engagement through emoji reactions, feedback options, and more. This helps foster a stronger company culture where each employee feels like they’re part of the conversation and their input matters.

20. Shared values

Shared values in the workplace are one of the building blocks of your company culture. When employees share a common set of principles and goals, they can effectively work towards a common objective rather than constantly butting heads. 

Your takeaways:

Shared values can foster a sense of camaraderie among your employees and help things run smoothly. But first, you have to ensure that your employees are aware of and aligned with your company values. 

Team-building activities and virtual town halls are great opportunities to get employees on the same page. They bring everyone in your company together and give your leaders an opportunity to rally your team behind a common brand vision and shared values. 

Whip up emails your employees want to open

Harness the Drivers of Employee Engagement in Your Organization

For all the strides we’ve made in understanding the benefits of employee engagement, boosting it can still be a daunting task. When we have a tangible starting point, it makes things a bit easier.

That’s why it’s helpful to recognize the drivers of employee engagement and zero-in on each one to propel your employee engagement strategy. Remember to constantly measure employee engagement to see whether your strategy is succeeding or if you need to make changes.

Create, send, and track employee communications all in one place using ContactMonkey’s interactive employee engagement tool and powerful email analytics. Book a free demo to see ContactMonkey in action:

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