What are the Key Drivers of Employee Engagement?

In Brandon Hall Group’s HCM Outlook 2021 Study, 70% of organizations rated assessing and driving employee engagement as important or extremely important. Engagement ranked second — just two percentage points behind fostering an inclusive workplace — as the top people priority of the year.

Brandon Hall Group defines employee engagement as an outcome based on all the experiences an employee has with an organization. But there are many competing definitions of engagement and some organizations see the level of engagement simply as the result of their annual engagement survey. Organizations define, measure and address engagement in many ways.

Percentage of organizations that see each definition as valid

The high priority around employee engagement is at least partly due to the fact that only 15% of organizations believe their workforces are highly engaged. On the other end of the spectrum, 34% of organizations believe their workforces are only somewhat or actively disengaged. This is a huge problem for employers because engagement is linked directly to performance indicators such as productivity, customer satisfaction and retention, and talent retention.

  • Do you have a deep understanding of the everyday experiences employees at all levels of the organization have at work? 
  • Does your workplace culture foster positive everyday employee experiences? 
  • Does your organization have strategies to impact how employees experience the organization, such as leadership development and career development? 

Each employee has unique experiences and viewpoints about an organization, so understanding the impact of those experiences on an employees’ approach to their jobs can be challenging. Brandon Hall Group places employee experience drivers into six buckets:

  • This involves employee’s physical, emotional and financial health. Do employees have the tools they need to track and improve their wellness and well-being? Do employees believe the organization enables them to do their work in ways that allow them to balance work with personal responsibilities and priorities? 
  • This is the connection employees have to your organization. It includes feeling managers are invested in their success, empowerment to connect with peers, being part of a workforce that reflects the community and customers, and believing the organization welcomes their opinions and ideas — and acts on them. It can even extend to the company providing them with the right tools for working remotely. 
  • This ranges from employees having equitable compensation to getting recognition for meaningful contributions, to having autonomy on how they do their work, and receiving frequent feedback and coaching.
  • Employees want to develop their skills and expect the organization to help them. Do employees have Individual Development Plans? Do they believe the organization understands their strengths and development needs? Do they feel they can access learning the way they want it on any device? Do employees sense the organization has prepared them to be effective collaborators in work teams? 
  • Employees want the organization to invest in their careers in ways that meet their aspirations as well as the organization’s goals. Are there multiple career paths — horizontal and vertical? Do managers have periodic career conversations with their team members? 
  • Is the organization transparent about its mission, vision and priorities? Does the organization seek input from employees and turn feedback into action? Does the company share business results and other relevant data with employees? 

The quality of experiences contained in these six buckets contributes to the overall employee experience, which determines the level of engagement. Employees must feel their work results in mutual benefit for themselves as well as the employer. 

Brandon Hall Group Strategy Briefs answer the critical questions learning, talent, HR and business leaders must address to manage their human capital. To tackle these critical questions in more detail, we built tools, frameworks, research summaries and business builders based on up-to-date research and case studies for you to implement best and next Human Capital Management (HCM) practices. To gain access to these valuable resources, contact [email protected].

Leading minds in HCM choose Brandon Hall Group to help them build future-proof employee-development plans for the new era. For more than 27 years, we have empowered, recognized and certified excellence in organizations around the world, influencing the development of over 10,000,000 associates and executives.

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Mike Cooke

Chief Executive Officer of Brandon Hall Group Mike Cooke Prior to joining Brandon Hall Group, Mike Cooke was the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of AC Growth. Mike held leadership and executive positions for the majority of his career, at which he was responsible for steering sales and marketing teams to drive results and profitability. His background includes more than 15 years of experience in sales, marketing, management, and operations in the research, consulting, software and technology industries. Mike has extensive experience in sales, marketing and management having worked for several early high-growth emerging businesses and has implemented technology systems to support various critical sales, finance, marketing and client service functions. He is especially skilled in organizing the sales and service strategy to fully support a company’s growth strategy. The concept of growth was an absolute to Mike and a motivator in starting AC Growth, in order to help organizations achieve research driven results. Most recently, Mike was the VP and General Manager of Field Operations at Bersin & Associates, a global analyst and consulting services firm focused on all areas of enterprise learning, talent management and talent acquisition. Tasked with leading the company’s global expansion, Mike led all sales operations worldwide. During Mike’s tenure, the company has grown into a multi-national firm, conducting business in over 45 countries with over 4,500 multi-national organizations. Mike started his career at MicroVideo Learning Systems in 1992, eventually holding a senior management position and leading all corporate sales before founding Dynamic Minds. Mike was CEO and Co-Founder of Dynamic Minds, a custom developer of software programs, working with clients like Goldman Sachs, Prentice Hall, McGraw Hill and Merrill Lynch. Also, Mike worked for Oddcast, a leading provider of customer experience and marketing solutions, where he held a senior management position leading the company into new markets across various industries. Mike also serves on the Advisory Board for Carbon Solutions America, an independent sustainability consulting and carbon management firm that specializes in the design and implementation of greenhouse reduction and sustainability plans as well as managing the generation of carbon and renewal energy and energy efficiency credits. Mike attended University of Phoenix, studying Business Administration and Finance. He has also completed executive training at the Chicago Graduate School of Business in Chicago, IL.