What Drives Employee Engagement?


What motivates employees? Is it the smell of coffee in the morning?

Or the excitement of a corporate entertainer coming to visit later on in the day? Or maybe it’s the satisfaction that comes with shredding documents that are no longer needed?

What Drives Employee Engagement

We’re not saying it couldn’t be any of these things. But if you’re looking for the big picture items that are in charge of driving employee engagement, then look no further than below:

See Related: How To Attract And Retain Employees In 2022

Drivers of employee engagement

Engagement drivers are an excellent way of assessing your work environment. So if you notice that employee satisfaction and morale is a little low, consider these drivers of employee engagement and make sure your employees feel supported.

#1. Employee-manager relationship

There’s no question that a work environment is heavily dictated by managers. After all, that’s literally their job.

But when it comes to overall engagement, you want to make sure that managers have strong relationships with employees. Not ones ruled by fear or ridicule.

Can you imagine, as an employee, walking into the workplace everyday dreading running into one of your managers? It may drive engagement – that is, driving it away!

#2. Senior leadership

Senior leaders also play a big role in engagement drivers amongst employees. Even if they’re not always in the workplace.

But they are the ones in charge of creating a company culture. And this becomes present in the hiring process as well.

Especially if senior leadership is in the room when new hires are made. As an engagement driver, it’s just as important for senior leaders to make sure that employees feel valued and welcome.

#3. Career development

Some people gain plenty of job satisfaction out of having the same job for years and years. But others need a little bit more of a path towards career growth to keep them engaged.

That’s why it’s best to impress upon employees that their current job doesn’t always have to mean their permanent job. We’re not saying that you should give them a new job on a silver platter.

But offering them the resources to grow as a team member and professional individual shows employees that you, as a company, are invested in their development. And that’s something that not a lot of employees would want to opt out of.

#4. Meaningful work

We’re all adults here. And it’s okay for us to acknowledge that the occasional existential crisis comes for us every so often.

Resource allocation synthesizes your team efforts into the most cohesive way

So much so that it can affect our employee engagement at work. That’s why if you want engaged employees, you need to make sure that the work you’re putting in is meaningful.

What we put into the world is directly tied to our self esteem and self image. And most employees want to know that they’re putting some good into the world rather than simply acting as a cog in a machine.

#5. Positive relationships in the workplace

The quickest way to engage employees is by making positive relationships with them. And if that doesn’t come naturally to you, there are plenty of ways to help out this engagement driver nonetheless.

For example, bringing in some Clean Comedians to kick off a meeting will help everyone build a sense of rapport. And even after the fact, they’ll have that shared experience to pull from.

Because the employee experience shouldn’t be about giving them the bare minimum. It’s about hiring people with the knowledge that you’re here to engage them as a whole person, not just an employee.

#6. Room for autonomy within company culture

Engagement drivers can obviously vary from employee to employee. But many feel that their employee engagement goes up when they feel they can work autonomously in the workplace.

That is, employees don’t feel like someone is watching their every move. Some of the best employees thrive under this kind of independence.

While others may find that their engagement drivers lie more in a micromanagement environment. So it really is a matter of asking employees for their feedback and determining what specifically drives employee engagement for them.

#7. A fair and equal employee experience

Employee success shouldn’t be achieved by pitting other employees against each other. In fact, being treated as equally important as one another is one of the top drivers of employee engagement out there.

When employees feel like they’re on a level playing field, they tend to view themselves as a team. And that’s the kind of environment you want running your company.

In fact, some common mistakes that a company can make include pitting employees against each other for the sake of inspiring new ideas. And while healthy competition is, in fact, healthy, too much competition can quickly become toxic.

#8. A healthy work life balance

Perhaps there was a time when making work your entire personality was the dream. But nowadays, employees are chasing after that sweet work life balance.

As a company, it’s important to respect that business is just business for some employees. And besides, when employees are looking for work, they’re also looking for key drivers like, “If I need to pick up my kid from school, will my boss be okay with that?”

These are the humanizing factors of a company that have a direct impact on employee engagement. So make sure that your business views its employees as people, not just workers.

#9. Utilizing each employee’s ability

Using employees’ top strengths is a key part of any successful business model. And besides, if an employee has a strength that’s not being used, they may find another company that would find them more useful.

But you can improve employee engagement simply by identifying these strengths. And playing into them.

You never know which employees will give your company a competitive edge. And in doing so, you’ll also be using those employee engagement drivers to your advantage.

#10. The availability of managers

Other drivers that you might not think about include how time is spent and given. That is, how much time a manager is willing to share with their employees.

A recent survey notes these drivers of employee engagement

Let’s say an employee wants to double check on some numbers with their manager. Just to make sure they’re on the right course.

But the manager is nowhere to be found or is otherwise unavailable. That puts a bit of a damper on employee engagement since they’re nobody at the head of the ship steering everybody forward.

#11. Physical and psychological safety

A toxic workplace can be considered one of the anti-drivers of employee engagement, if you will. Because when you’re constantly worried about who, when, why, where, and why, you’re likely not focusing on the work in front of you.

That’s why every employee needs a space to feel completely secure and safe in. Not just for their mental health and wellness.

But for their employee engagement overall. Besides, going to work like it’s a battlefield doesn’t sound all too enticing if you ask us.

#12. Employee perks and other ways to feel valued

There’s a reason reward systems have been around for quite some time. Because people like to win stuff!

Like, say, an evening with a comedy magician. Or a new set of office supplies that they get to choose out.

These perks are great employee engagement drivers as they add a little fun into the mix. And they make for some healthy competition as well.

Bonus: How To Talk About Company Culture

How to boost employee engagement

By now, you know how to measure engagement. But what steps can you take to boost engagement overall?

#1. Implement programs for professional development

Any employee will benefit from some additional development. Whether that’s training on a new system.

Or simply being able to visualize the pipeline through which they wish to ascend. Either way, creating these types of programs will help you engage employees and show them that they have a robust future with you.

#2. Maintain regular communication with employees

Nothing says employee engagement like literally engaging your employees. As in, talking to them.

Communication can be one of the most difficult things to manage, especially in the workplace. But keeping communication channels open is a surefire way to keep engagement levels high.

#3. Set clear expectations for employees and their role

Without clear expectations in the workplace, an employee might feel lost, knowing quite knowing what is appropriate for them to do. So, to combat this, make your intentions clear.

Use these drivers to measure engagement

Employees like to know their role within the collective. And setting up these expectations early on will help them understand where they fit into the entire picture.

Later on, they may want to grow and develop their position and that’s perfectly fine. But having those initial expectations is what sets them up for success.

#4. Offer constructive feedback to employees

The idea of offering feedback might be a little scary for some. Only because they don’t want to say the wrong thing.

But think of it this way: without feedback, an employee has no idea of how they are doing. They don’t know whether to keep doing what they’re doing.

Or grow and develop in another direction. So it’s up to you to offer words of encouragement while also challenging them to better their work ethic.

#5. Provide guidance for individual employees when necessary

People are at the heart of every company. And that’s why it’s important for engagement levels and company health to assess how individual employees are doing.

Some may have different drivers of employee engagement than others. And with those differing needs, the manager needs to be able to accommodate and compromise.

Paying this close attention to individual employees is a great way to make sure that everyone feels heard and respected. Not to mention it gives you the advantage too since you know all the in’s and out’s of the employees there.

#6. Encourage employees to bring new ideas to the table

If you want employees to engage, tell them that they can. Sometimes, they simply need an invitation.

Letting employees know that their ideas are a welcome addition to the company can drastically change your workplace culture. And it can invigorate those on your team who have big ideas to offer.

Besides, employees like to know that they can make a difference in their workplace. So give them the opportunity to do exactly that.

#7. Affect engagement through team building activities

We mentioned earlier that people and relationships are at the core of employee engagement. Well, what’s the best way to create new bonds amongst workers?

Clean comedians can help you boost engagement

With a corporate comedian for hire! Not only will your team get a laugh out of this welcome treat.

They’ll also get the chance to bond with one another through laughter. You might even see their productivity go through the roof after having experienced a laugh riot together!

#8. Demonstrate appreciation through rewards and recognition

Finally, everyone wants to be appreciated. And when we feel appreciated, we tend to put more of ourselves out there (in hopes of being appreciated in the future too).

But use this to your advantage. Reward workers for their hard work and show the rest of the team what can happen when you take on the challenge and succeed.

Not only does this kind of recognition boost morale. It also encourages other workers to work harder so that they can see themselves being congratulated in the future.

Driving employee engagement never felt so good

Employee engagement is like a car. You have to drive it for it to go anywhere. (Okay, yeah, that one was a little cringey, even for us.)

But cringe aside, employee engagement is one of the most important parts of any company. So do yourself and your team members the favor by figuring out what drives your team forward. 

Keep Reading: How Does Humor Help With Mental Health?

Adam Christing is a professional comedy magician, virtual MC, and the founder of CleanComedians.com. He is a member of the world-famous Magic Castle in Hollywood and a popular corporate entertainer, magician, and virtual speaker.