ali khan
Ali Khan
Co-founder
Published On
February 24, 2024
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15+ key drivers of Employee Engagement [+5 Actionable Tips]

Imagine you're the captain of a big ship, guiding it across the ocean. Just like a ship needs all its parts working together to move forward, a company needs its employees to be happy and excited about their work to succeed. 

But guess what? A lot of people at work aren't feeling that way. In fact, a big study found that about 85% of people at work aren't really into their jobs

That's like having a ship where most of the crew isn't rowing! Now, to keep our ship smoothly sailing, we need to focus on the "drivers of employee engagement" - these are like the secret ingredients that make employees love their jobs and do their best

When everyone at work is happy and doing their best, it's like magic. Things get done faster, everyone does a great job, and customers are happy too. 

But making this happen isn't always easy. It's like figuring out the best way to make sure everyone on the ship is rowing together and feeling good about it.

In this article, we'll talk about the key things that make employees excited to come to work and do their best.

We've covered 17 key drivers of employee engagement, like making sure everyone feels heard, making work fun, and saying "thank you" when someone does a great job.

We'll also give you some cool tips on how to find evaluate employee engagement how to make things even better. 

Making work a great place isn't just about making sure everyone is doing their job. It's about making sure everyone feels important and excited to be part of the team. Let's dive in and learn how to make your workplace the best it can be, so everyone feels like they're part of something really special!

What is Employee Engagement?

Employee engagement reflects an individual's emotional commitment to their work and the company they work for. Those who drive employee engagement are motivated to go above and beyond their job requirements due to a deeper connection, not just a desire for job satisfaction or happiness at work. 

It's about creating an environment where employees feel valued, appreciated, and that they're making a real difference.

More Engaging, More Productive.

When employees are engaged, their work inspires, motivates, and energizes them. They are more likely to put in extra effort, go the extra mile, and come up with innovative ideas. 

Engaged employees feel invested in the company's success, take ownership of their work, and care about the organization's objectives. They believe they are making a significant contribution.

“More engaged employees are more creative,

Imaginative, and dedicated to giving clients good service”

It's not just about job satisfaction or happiness at work, but also about how committed and passionate employees are about their work and the organization they work for.

According to a Gallup survey, only 34% of U.S. employees are engaged at work.

A recent Gallup survey revealed that a mere 34% of U.S. employees are engaged at work, indicating that the majority of the workforce is not fully committed to their jobs or organizations.

This lack of employee engagement is estimated to cost American businesses up to $550 billion annually in lost productivity. But why is employee engagement so essential for an organization's success?
Why is Employee Engagement Essential for any Organization?

Employee engagement is more than just a buzzword or superficial concept – it is the lifeblood of a prosperous workplace culture. Disengaged employees are a significant liability.

These individuals may show up to work, but their hearts and minds are elsewhere, merely going through the motions and counting down the minutes until they can leave.

In contrast, engaged employees are fully present, dedicated to their work, and passionate about their company's mission and future.

5 Reasons Why Employee Engagement Matters

5 Reasons Why Employee Engagement Matters

#1. Boosts Productivity

Engaged employees are more productive than their disengaged counterparts. They are eager to exert extra effort to achieve their goals and demonstrate unwavering focus and commitment to their work. 

This increased productivity results in greater efficiency, positively impacting the organization's bottom line.

#2. Increases Work Quality

Engaged employees care deeply about the quality of their contributions. They take initiative, focus intensely, and persist through difficulties rather than cutting corners. They think critically about improving processes and products because they feel invested in the organization's success. 

Engaged team members hold themselves and each other accountable to high standards. With everyone striving for excellence, quality dramatically improves across departments over time when engagement levels rise.

#3. Higher Job Satisfaction

Employees who are engaged experience a sense of purpose and fulfillment in their work, leading to heightened job satisfaction levels. This, in turn, can contribute to improved mental health, a better work-life balance, and higher employee retention rates.

#4. Reduces Employee Turnover

Engaged employees are less likely to leave their positions compared to disengaged employees. They display loyalty and dedication to their organizations, minimizing the costs associated with employee turnover.

Recruiting, training, and onboarding new employees can be both time-consuming and expensive; thus, lowering employee turnover can significantly affect an organization's budget.

#5. Increases Customer Satisfaction

Engaged employees take pride in their work and demonstrate a sense of ownership, going above and beyond to meet customer needs. This commitment leads to enhanced customer satisfaction, helping the organization establish a positive reputation and gain a competitive advantage.

17 Key Drivers of Employee Engagement 

Employee engagement is critical for any organization as it directly influences success. Here are some ways you can improve your employee engagement: 

17 Key Drivers of Employee Engagement 

#1. Communication and Feedback

Talking openly and having caring conversations are key to keeping employees happy at work. When team members feel "in the loop," they feel like they matter. 

Leaders should share regular updates about what's going on, through meetings, emails, texts, or calls. Explain any changes happening in simple, friendly language.

Also, make time to listen. Ask folks what's on their minds and how they feel about work. If you're a Slack user you can send out surveys using Wrenly to get direct feedback from your team. 

Creating surveys using Wrenly
Creating surveys using Wrenly

You can receive honest feedback through Surveys which you can then use to make improvements to show you understand your team and strive to make things better. You can try and test it for free

Employee feedback survey on Slack using Wrenly
Survey questions on Slack using Wrenly

When an employee speaks up, don't ignore it, be sure to always reply! When you circle back and explain if you used their idea or not it shows that their voice counts. Knowing that their leaders care keeps people motivated.

Praise and coaching help too. Thank team members when they pitch in or achieve a goal. Be their cheerleader! Also nicely point out ways they can grow. We all need help at times.   

Keeping everyone informed, listening, praising and coaching are like water and sun to plants - they make people blossom! Simple care and feeding keeps your team growing happy at work.

#2. Culture of Openness and Transparency

Creating a culture of openness and transparency requires the active participation of both senior leaders and employees. 

Leaders must set the tone for open communication by creating a safe and inclusive work environment, where employees feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and ideas.

There are a few key ways leaders can promote open, transparent cultures:

  1. Share company information: Frequently communicate goals, metrics, wins, and challenges. This helps people understand how their work matters. 
  1. Explain decisions: Involve teams in decisions impacting them rather than closing the door. Ask for input. Listen.  
  1. Admit mistakes: Be the first to say "I messed up" or "You had a better idea." This models accountability.
  1. Spotlight issues: Air out difficulties so everyone can problem-solve instead of pointing fingers. 

Being open requires courage and humility from leaders. But the payoff is team members also learn to communicate ideas freely and admit missteps.  

When people feel "in the loop" through transparency, engagement goes up. Teams make smarter choices working together toward a common purpose.

#3. Build Trust & Sense of Purpose

Building trust and purpose keep employees invested in their work. When your teams trust you and feel their efforts matter, engagement improves.

Here are the tips to nurture trust and purpose:

  1. Have integrity: Keep your word, even when it's tough. Admit mistakes respectfully. Lead by example.
  1. Listen deeply: Pay attention to concerns without judgment. Seek to understand diverse perspectives.
  1. Connect work to vision: Explain how each person's contributions deliver value and move the organization forward. 
  1. Allow mistakes: Let people take risks and mess up sometimes without consequence. Psychological safety builds confidence.
  1. Celebrate progress: Cheer wins, no matter how small. Recognize achievements tied to strategic goals.

By lighting the path from daily tasks to higher goals, you equip people to find purpose. When teams trust you've got their backs, they throw discretionary effort into the ring. Engagement compounds when people feel safe to try new things while keeping their eyes on the horizon you steer toward.

#4. Recognition & Appreciation

Showing thanks and praise keeps people feeling happy and motivated at work. When you make employees feel valued for their efforts, engagement improves.

Here are the tips on how you can recognize and appreciate:  

  1. Praise progress: Thank people for achievements large and small. Show you notice their wins along the way.
Using Wrenly to praise and appreciate employee effort
Use Wrenly to give recognition to employees

  1. Vary methods: Appreciate in words, small gifts, e-cards, shoutouts at meetings -- keep it fun!  
  1. Empower peers: Encourage teammate recognitions. This helps spread positive culture in a peer-to-peer way.

  1. Tie to values: Explain how someone's work effort connects back to company values and character.  
  1. Make it visible: Celebrate contributions on announcement boards, Slack, or email blasts so everyone feels valued.

Recognize employee on Slack channels and make them feel valued

A little thanks and praise goes a long way! When you make people feel visible for the human beings they are and the unique effort they give, engagement compounds across your teams.

#5. Career Development

Helping people grow keeps them motivated. When you show employees you care about advancing their careers, engagement improves.

Here are the tips to nurture development:  

  1. Connect strengths to goals: Help people identify natural talents, then set stretch assignments tailored to them.  
  1. Open access to learning: Fund training, mentors, and new project opportunities. Making knowledge accessible drives progress.
  1. Encourage new skills: Empower people to gain lateral experiences too, not just vertical promotion. This builds adaptability.  
  1. Communicate promotion options: Post open roles internally first. Make applying easy and the criteria clear.
  1. Guide long-term plans: Check in on career aspirations. Connect near-term objectives back to the paths people envision. 

Investing in your team’s continual growth helps them feel like your organization can grow with them over the long-haul. Purposeful development keeps engagement high across roles.

#6. Work-Life Balance

Helping people balance work and life keeps them engaged. When you care about your team's whole self, they give their best. When you aren’t keeping work-life balance in mind it’s easy for high-performing teams to feel overwhelmed or burnt out as there is always more work on the plate.

Here are the tips to champion work-life balance:  

  1. Encourage taking breaks: Tell people to disconnect and recharge. Burnout hurts everyone.
  1. Offer flexibility: Allow changes to schedules when family or health needs come up. Short-term flexibility helps with long-term happiness.  
  1. Check workload: Don't overburden people. Make sure expectations match capacity.
  1. Support remote work: Let people work from home when possible. This eases stress.
  1. Listen to challenges: When personal struggles happen, steer folks to helpful resources.
  1. Celebrate whole selves: Praise great work and great living. People thrive when you appreciate the whole person.

When you invest in sustainable balance, employees repay that trust through higher engagement and loyalty. Supporting your team’s well-being makes you a better leader too.

#7. Quality Leadership

Ever had a mentor or boss who just seemed to get it? Someone who not only guided you but inspired you to be your best self at work? That's the power of quality leadership.

Great leaders spark engagement. When you model compassion and support, your teams feel inspired to excel.  

Here are the tips to be a quality leader:

  1. Empower others: Give people ownership of projects. Let them run with ideas without micromanaging. It may be hard to consider, but sometimes your ideas aren’t the best!
  1. Develop team strengths: Learn individual talents and strengths. Help people grow in areas they feel passionate about.
  1. Foster community: Get to know people personally. Build camaraderie through celebrations and team events
  1. Guide with vision: Share what motivates you and where the company is headed. Invite others into your purposeful mindset.

When you lead with empathy, integrity, and purpose, people follow your example. Quality leadership unlocks quality work and engagement across teams. Serve your people well and they will serve your customers better.

#8. Ownership:

Empowerment inspires people's best work. When you give ownership, teams feel engaged in meaningful impact.

Here are the tips to increase ownership and employee engagement:  

  1. Entrust projects: Delegate initiatives fully into someone's hands rather than piecemealing tasks.
  1. Allow autonomy: Let people steer objectives their own way. Don't micromanage processes.  
  1. Validate ideas: Embrace suggestions from your team. Help develop concepts with enthusiasm. 
  1. Share company context: Explain how specific projects fit into big-picture goals. Helps efforts feel purposeful.
  1. Be the safety net: If failures happen, spotlight learnings rather than criticism. Offer to coach redirects.  

With you clearing the path for responsibility, employees shine and realize their full potential. Ownership unlocks discretionary effort as people take pride in achievements. Your empowering leadership lets all realize "I did this" - the key spark of engagement.

#9. Teamwork & Collaboration

Teamwork keeps people engaged and invested. When you foster collaboration, employees feel valued connecting toward shared goals. 

Here are the tips to facilitate productive teamwork:

  1. Encourage cross-functional projects - This builds empathy for diverse roles. 
  1. Host creative group brainstorms - Innovation springs from diverse minds collaborating..
  1. Train on communication styles - Help members understand differences.
  1. Use tools like Asana, Trello, or ClickUp to assign clear responsibilities while allowing flexibility to pitch in.
  1. Set up Slack channels or Microsoft Teams for idea sharing and casual bonding. 
Setting up slack channel on Wrenly for sharing ideas
  1. Gather regular feedback on how teamwork is going. If you’re a Slack user you can give it a try for free.
Gather feedback on team performance using Wrenly

With you nurturing cooperation and bonding, employee engagement improves through connections, learning from each other, and lending one another strength. People want to belong to something bigger than themselves - help make space for that through teamwork.

#10. Company Vision & Values

A compelling vision rallies people to a common purpose. When you define values clearly and live them openly, employee engagement skyrockets through unified direction. 

Here are the tips to bring vision and values to life:

  1. Collaborate on vision: Involve teams depicting the 3-5 year organizational dream and goals. Get imaginative! "In 2025 we will be the #1 provider of AI-powered self-driving transportation..."
  1. Connect meaning: Explain how each person’s work ladders up to powering success. "Tiffany, your work on our real-time mapping algorithm fuels our self-driving tech advantage!"
  1. Train on values: Use stories showing values in action. "The care Tom showed in user testing models our customer-first value daily."
  1. Recognize reinforcement: In company meetings, call out decisions tied back to core values. "Thanks to Jessica for pushing back respectfully on that strategy to ensure quality.
  1. Embed in operations: Reference values in appraisals, promotions, and roadmaps so they stay top of mind. Don't just print posters!

Rally your teams to a shared future purpose. Celebrate small acts reinforcing your principles. That compounding unity will have everyone on board your visionary voyage.

#11. Competitive Salaries & Benefits

Fair pay inspires the best work. When you offer competitive salaries and appealing benefits, teams feel valued for efforts tied to results - fueling engagement.  

Here are the tips to get compensation right:

  1. Benchmark industry ranges: Research prevailing pay rates for each role at your organization’s level. Does compensation match candidate expectations?
  1. Structure incentive plans: Clarify target goals connected to bonuses or equity awards. "Hitting X conversion rate unlocks a $3k annual bonus."
  1. Survey regularly: Ask if pay feels fair considering workload and peer compensation. Adjust if needed.
Asking employee feedback on compensation using Wrenly
Using Wrenly to gather feedback from Employee on compensation.
  1. Praise milestone rewards: Highlight anniversaries and new compensation levels company-wide. "Please congratulate Gianna on her well-deserved promotion." 
  1. Lead with transparency: Communicate a compensation philosophy focused on merit and achievements. Outline raise opportunities.

With you positioning compensation competitively, teams can focus fully on the work, not bills. Employees want to know their excellence moves the financial needle too.

#12. Job Security

Trusting in tomorrow keeps workers invested today. When employees know you’ve got their backs come what may, teams can stay focused on excelling now without distraction — powering discretionary effort over time.  

As leaders, we cannot control all factors affecting job security. But we can control how we support our people through uncertainty. Here’s how:

  1. Forecast goals honestly: Avoid reactionary surprises by assessing market factors regularly, and clearly setting expectations.
  1. Invest in transferable skills: Develop talent’s lasting value through training for adaptable, high-demand roles. 
  1. Clarify vision amid change: If pivots require a transition, explain how each new change and role contributes to overall success.

Of course, promises of lifetime employment are often impossible. But signals of trust in your people’s future and care through turbulence go a very long way. 

With you positioning employment as an enduring partnership, teams can delay external worries and deliver their best work now, paying loyalty forward.  When job security is done right the team knows they’re all in it together, no matter what the external circumstances are.

#13. Innovative Culture

Innovation keeps things fresh and exciting. When you nurture an innovative culture, teams feel energized to create better ways without fear - driving engagement through progress.

Here are the tips to spark innovation:  

  1. Allow time for tinkering: Give space for teams to explore ideas unrelated to core tasks. These bubbles lead to new values. 
  1. Incentivize useful creativity: Celebrate both small incremental and major breakthrough innovations publicly.
  1. Embrace some failures: As long as accountability guides pivots, chalk up smart risks gone awry as learning fuel.

For example, 3M's famous "15% time" empowers workers to use a portion of their role experimenting freely with ideas. This freedom birthed hit products like Post-It Notes! That spirit of creation and incentive for unconventional thinking still energizes 3M's workforce today.  

With you clearing the way for innovation, people feel fulfilled realizing progress over time, not just straightforward task completion. New breakthroughs require bravery; make it safe to try.

#14. Employee Well-Being

Wellness powers top performance. When you support employees holistically, teams operate at full capacity – fueling engagement.

Here are the tips to champion well-being:

  1. Offer useful benefits: Extend perks like counseling, gym memberships, and mindfulness apps. Cisco provides $1500 in wellness funds annually, clearly they know it’s worth the cost.
  1. Promote healthy habits: Encourage movement breaks, proper sleep, and nutritious snack room options. Remind people to recharge.
  1. Understand unique needs: Understand if anyone on your team has unique circumstances and take them seriously.
  1. Be flexible: Accommodate medical demands and disabilities with openness versus rigidity around “standard” arrangements. 

Studies show every $1 invested in well-being drives $4 in productivity gains through boosted engagement. With you looking out for your people’s whole self, they reciprocate with discretionary effort ignoring burdensome distractions. Protect workplace joy and sustainability – human achievement will follow.

#15. Work Environment

The space where we work impacts how we feel about work. When you nurture an uplifting environment, teams thrive unhindered by physical or psychological annoyances - boosting engagement.

Here's how to optimize work facilities and culture:

  1. Evaluate ergonomics: Ensure equipment functions properly to avoid pain or strain. Provide standing desks to prevent long sitting periods.
  1. Add mood-lifting elements: Accent with plants, natural light, inspiring artwork, or inspiring quotes on walls (but make sure it’s not cheesy or tacky). Google incorporates playful decoration for sensory relief.
  1. Promote inclusive interactions: Train on respectful language and conduct to foster psychological safety among all groups.
  1. Gather regular feedback: Ask about aspects causing stress or frustration. Fix leaky faucets, upgrade tools, and reshape policies that aren’t working to the level they should be.

When you enhance physical comfort and interpersonal warmth, people can show up as their best selves to drive innovation. Little touches add up to joyful places where employees want to be - and give their all.

#16. Empathy & Availability

How leaders listen - or fail to - resounds profoundly. When you make time for human connections with empathy, teams feel cared for - boosting engagement.

Here’s how to provide meaningful support:

  1. Ask about their experience: Inquire about what aspects of work energize them versus cause specific stresses or frustrations.  
  1. Discuss goals openly: Understand individuals’ aspirations and purpose drivers to show you want to champion their development path.  
  1. Share about yourself sometimes: Vulnerable personal stories build trust and camaraderie, forging a closer working relationship.
  1. Be flexible yet accessible: Accommodate early/late appointments when possible if the situation calls for it..  

For example, Nike CEO John Donahoe holds monthly small group “Just Listen” lunches with rotating employee volunteers to gain unfiltered insights on culture and wellbeing that then shape people-focused decisions.  

With you as an open, understanding leader, employees know they have a safe space to thrive holistically. This fuels their highest human potential - and your team’s results.

#17. Sense of being Valued

Feeling valued inspires the best work. When people know their strengths and efforts matter, discretionary effort flows freely. 

  1. Recognize strengths: Compliment specific talents and contributions often.
  1. Respect personal needs: Accommodate work-life integration without judgment.  
  1. Embrace unique work styles: Don’t force one rigid approach if it doesn’t optimize an individual’s talents.  
  1. Customize opportunities: Shape roles leveraging preferences and growth goals for engagement.

When you celebrate the value unique individuals offer, they reciprocate by pouring their whole selves into achieving shared goals.

Since we have covered 17 fundamental drivers of engagement now it is clear that employee experience hinges on some universal human needs around purpose, community, transparency, appreciation, and more. 

Assessing how well our organizations currently align with these drivers requires taking a pulse on real perceptions and feelings through multiple listening channels. This brings us to 5 essential evaluation tips for diagnosing engagement accurately and addressing gaps.....

In essence, we first have to define what engagement means and unpack the core elements that motivate discretionary effort when nurtured by leaders. 

Once we grasp these universal drivers, we can transition to practical methods for gathering authentic employee feedback tied back to these drivers. Assessing engagement levels turns Knowledge into Insight and then eventually into Action to course correct. Now let's dive into 5 powerful tactics for taking that crucial first step - listening deeply.

5 Tips To Evaluate Employee Engagement 

Measuring employee engagement is a way to understand how involved and passionate most employees really are about their work and the organization they work for.

#1. Conduct Surveys 

You can create surveys to provide employees to gauge how satisfied employees are with their work, how connected they feel to the organization's goals, and how much they enjoy working with their colleagues.

You can use Wrenly to create a pulse survey and send it out to your employees across Slack. You can ask questions about their job satisfaction, work-life balance, relationships with coworkers, and overall feelings about the company.

Creating surveys using Wrenly
Use Surveys template on Wrenly

Make sure the surveys are anonymous and that you ask open-ended questions to encourage honest and insightful answers.

#2. Hold one-on-one meetings

Another way to measure and improve employee engagement is by holding one-on-one meetings with each employee. Use this time to ask them how they feel about their job, their workload, and the company culture.

#3. Monitor Employee Turnover

Employee turnover is a sign that employees are disengaged and unhappy. If you notice a high turnover rate in your organization, it might be time to dig deeper into why employees are leaving. Exit interviews are the key way to understand the specific instances that drive employees to leave.

#4. Observe Employee Behavior

You can tell a lot about an employee's engagement by their behavior at work. Engaged employees are usually more productive, and enthusiastic, and take pride in their work. On the other hand, disengaged employees may have a negative attitude, lack motivation, and may not show up to work on time.

#5. Offer Employee Feedback

Providing regular feedback to employees can boost employee engagement levels and help them understand how their work contributes to the overall success of the organization.

Conclusion

After covering all 17 key drivers of employee engagement, we bet you're sitting there wondering how any leader can keep all those plates spinning. It's a lot! 

Thankfully, you can use purpose-built tools like Wrenly which integrate directly with Slack to provide timely assistance. Wrenly makes time consuming tasks like  sending and analyzing pulse checks a breeze by automating reporting through AI. This allows you and your HR team to focus on more important initiatives..

Instead of manual analysis, Wrenly offers:

  • Anonymous suggestions to freely share thoughts   
  • Peer recognitions and rewards to recognize wins  
  • AI that detects crucial engagement signals to act on        

With such assistance monitoring engagement signals, leaders can double down on supporting teams.

We’re happy to share more about Wrenly's capabilities tailored to your specific needs in a brief 15-minute discussion or demo. Or directly start for free to kick the tires within your Slack workspace.

Either path aims to inform and equip, not sell or overwhelm. Please reach out with any other questions as you look to sustain stellar employee experiences in this age of uncertainty!

More Articles From Ali Khan

Ali is a remarkable Business Development professional known for his innovative thinking and exceptional ability to win over even the toughest prospects. His dedication, mentorship, and leadership skills have not only shaped various careers but have also made him an invaluable asset to the Wrenly team.

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