While it is possible to measure engagement itself through employee surveys, this does not assist in identifying areas for improvement within organizations. There are a range of factors, more commonly known as drivers, that are thought to increase overall engagement. By managing the drivers, an organization can effectively manage engagement levels of its employees. Drivers such as communication, performance clarity and feedback, organizational culture, rewards and recognition, relationships with managers and peers, career development opportunities and knowledge of the organization’s goals and vision are some of the factors that facilitate employee engagement. Some points from the most recent research out there are presented below:
Employee perceptions of job importance – According to a 2006 study by Gerard Seijts and Dan Crim, “…an employee’s attitude toward the job’s importance and the company had the greatest impact on loyalty and customer service then all other employee factors combined.”
Employee clarity of job expectations – “If expectations are not clear and basic materials and equipment are not provided, negative emotions such as boredom or resentment may result, and the employee may then become focused on surviving more than thinking about how he can help the organization succeed.”
Regular feedback and dialogue with superiors – “Feedback is the key to giving employees a sense of where they’re going, but many organizations are remarkably bad at giving it.” “‘What I really wanted to hear was ‘Thanks. You did a good job.’ “
Quality of working relationships with peers, superiors, and subordinates – “…if employees’ relationships with their managers is fractured, then no amount of perks will persuade the employees to perform at top levels. Employee engagement is a direct reflection of how employees feel about their relationship with the boss.”
Perceptions of the values of the organization – “‘Inspiration and values’ is the most important of the six drivers in our Engaged Performance model. Inspirational leadership is the ultimate perk. In its absence, it is unlikely to engage employees.”
Effective Internal Employee Communications – which convey a clear description of “what’s going on”. “‘If you accept that employees want to be involved in what they are doing then this trend is clear (from small businesses to large global organizations). The effect of poor internal communications is seen at its most destructive in global organizations which suffer from employee annexation – where the head office in one country is buoyant (since they are closest to the action, know what is going on, and are heavily engaged) but its annexes (who are furthest away from the action and know little about what is happening) are disengaged. In the worst case, employee annexation can be very destructive when the head office attributes the annex’s low engagement to its poor performance… when its poor performance is really due to its poor communications.