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Steve Medd of The Winning Formula

Expert opinion: Six key factors that effect employee engagement

You will no doubt have seen the term “engagement” bandied around very frequently over the last few years. It is in danger of just becoming the latest buzzword that will eventually drift out of fashion.

I sincerely hope that this is not the case as engaged employees are critically important if you want to create a high performing organisation.

Engagement has become a hot topic because modern employees are no longer just happy to unquestioningly carry out the orders of their managers. We now operate in a world where people are much better informed about the business that they work in and are much more likely to challenge decisions that they either do not understand or which don’t make sense to them.

In the groundbreaking work by Daniel Pink, he makes a very good case for why people perform much better when they are intrinsically motivated i.e. motivation from within, rather than being extrinsically motivated e.g. being given a bonus for performing well.

The idea that we are more motivated when we have an inner drive or passion to do something is nothing new and we all know it to be true about any task that we personally undertake.

Where engagement is important in a growing business is that it is essential that everybody buys in and is committed to the plans for growth. If there isn’t a high level of engagement with the business growth strategy, it has little chance of succeeding, no matter how well crafted it is.

Let’s now look at the six key factors that will impact the buy-in and commitment from your employees to your plans for growth:

Job Security With Appropriate Reward And Recognition
Before you can expect your employees to become engaged with your plans, they must first feel that their job is safe and that they are being paid appropriately for the work that they do. If these elements are missing then you do not have the foundation to get them performing at the highest level as these fundamental needs override all others.

Knowledge And Skills Required To Carry Out The Job Function
It’s obvious, but every member of your team must possess the right knowledge and skill to perform at the level you need them to. A company must have a culture of learning and development and invest in the training of everybody to ensure that they are not restricting their growth potential. Any employee who lacks the skills to perform well will not be engaged in their work.

Good Relationships With Other Colleagues
As highly social animals there is nothing more disengaging for all of us than not getting on with those we work with. This is where open and honest communication must be fostered, both within teams and inter-departmentally to build strong, supportive relationships that benefit everybody.

Direction On Where The Company Is Heading In The Future
We all want to be inspired and feel that we are part of an exciting journey. This is where the vision and the company strategy are key. They must motivate the whole organisation, push them to perform at the highest level and make clear the benefits to everyone if they are achieved.

Participation In A Stimulating Work Experience
The work itself must have meaning and be more than just the physical tasks that we carry out. There must be a greater cause that we are working for and it is the leadership’s responsibility to create an environment where people value the work that they are doing and understand the benefits that they are providing to their customers.

Trust, Respect And Communication At All Levels
If any of these three elements are missing, you will undermine all of the hard work you have done on the other five factors. We all want to feel valued and it is trust, respect and communication that allows us to feel this way. Again, it is the leadership’s responsibility to ensure that all of these key elements are in place and are adhered to by everybody throughout the organisation.

None of the factors mentioned are anything that are new to you or you wouldn’t associate with a thriving business. But like common sense, the implementation of all six is rarely common practice.

Address each of the six factors and you will enjoy high levels of engagement. Underperformance on any of them will result in difficulties in the workplace.

Steve Medd is a business growth specialist with over 29 years experience in both the public and private sectors. Find Steve at