Employee Engagement: The Definitive Guide

Everest Guerra

Everest Guerra

Employee Satisfaction

Employee engagement has been the subject of countless studies and theories since the dawn of industry - how do you get your employees to care about what they’re doing so they produce the highest quality work? Engagement with their work doesn’t stem from a worker’s desire to make the money they need to live. Contrary to what many believe, a monetary incentive isn’t a driving factor for employee engagement.

Employee engagement measures how someone acts in the workplace, not how much they like their workplace. An engaged workforce generates valuable business results, so it’s crucial to make every effort to give your employees what they need to feel engaged in the workplace.

Our guide will provide the information and strategies needed to ensure an engaged workforce committed to the business’s goals and mission, resulting in a more efficient, successful organization.

Topic Overview

In the past, many organizations have relied on employee engagement strategies that focus on rewards such as pay increases, bonuses for hitting goals and on holidays, and allowing employees to have flexible work hours. It’s since been found that feeling-based relationships have the most significant influence on employee engagement, causing them to work effectively and act as ambassadors for the organization. Employee retention also improves as engagement improves.

This guide will define employee engagement, explain why it’s a goal worth expending time and resources to achieve, what it can cost your business to neglect engagement and strategies you can implement to improve employee engagement.

Employee Engagement Defined

For this guide to be the definitive one you’ve been looking for regarding employee engagement, you’ll need to have an accurate understanding of what employee engagement is and what it isn’t. To transform or optimize your business into the type of company that exemplifies employee engagement, you’ll need a thorough understanding of the concept.

Engagement is the emotional commitment your employees have, and want to have to their job, their team’s goals, and your company’s mission. An engaged workforce is the driving force behind the value generated by a business - it’s the means behind the positive results. On the flip-side, a lack of employee engagement typically results in negative or declining business results.

Studies on employee engagement across industries show that feeling inspired, valued, empowered, and confident in your role are the key emotions that lead to engagement.

The Goal of Employee Engagement — Why is it Important?

The goal of employee engagement goes beyond just increased bottom lines. An engaged workforce is a workforce that is actively invested in the success of an organization’s goals. They don’t just work for the company; they are a part of the company, and the company is directly tied to how employees define themselves.

Positive emotional connections employees feel towards their employer result in employees feeling a sense of ownership for their company’s goals. They’re more likely to stick with the company and deliver higher quality work in a shorter period of time than disengaged employees.

The Principal Factors of Employee Engagement

A multitude of factors impact employee engagement and the most effective, engaging employers invest time and resources to ensure they’re adequately providing each factor to their staff. Overall, companies with high employee engagement are 21% more profitable. Hand-in-hand with an engaged workforce, a Gallup study found that highly engaged workplaces have 41% lower absenteeism, leading to higher productivity.

All the more reason to ensure you’re providing your workforce the factors they need to be top performers.

  1. Purpose

Enabling employees to experience purpose in their work inspires them to be more engaged, motivated workers, which leads to experiencing a greater degree of fulfillment. The Covid-19 pandemic has been a catalyst, leading to the realization by many executives that employee desire for purpose impacts their ability to successfully recruit and retain top talent.

Gartner surveyed 3,500 workers around the world in October 2021, and of those surveyed, 65% said that the pandemic has made them rethink the place that work should have in their life. People have become more aware of the role their employment holds, and more are choosing to leave positions that don’t provide them the satisfaction of purposeful work.

  1. Ownership

Employees gain psychological fulfillment at the end of each workday if they have a sense of ownership over their company’s goals and how their job functions impact these goals. Workers who feel their contributions directly impact the success or failure of a project and are motivated to reach successful outcomes feel ownership and are more engaged with higher employee performance.

  1. Flexible Work Schedules

Most people appreciate flexibility in the workplace. It signals to employees that you trust them to complete their work and aren’t going to be looking over their shoulder every step of the way, micromanaging their every move. Flexibility is a huge component in the feeling of freedom, promoting a better work-life balance, and the trust it implies in an employee’s ability to get their work done is a strong factor in engagement.

  1. Communication

85% of employees say they’re most motivated by effective internal communications from management that keep them updated on company news. An employee’s awareness of company goals and the challenges faced by the company, combined with how their clearly defined role will help reach goals and surmount challenges, leads to a motivated employee.

  1. Growth and Development

Most workers aspire to learn new skills, grow, and improve themselves through their contributions to their workplace. If you’re not offering opportunities for employees to advance their careers, you’ll likely struggle with a lack of engagement and struggle with employee retention.

Only 29% of employees ranked themselves as “very satisfied” with their available career advancement opportunities, a necessary component for many professionals. Who wants to work somewhere where they have no opportunity to grow with their company and move upward through the ranks?

  1. Recognition

Many employees that have quit or are planning to quit their jobs in search of new employment cite a lack of recognition as a key reason for leaving. [69% of employees surveyed](https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/11-employee-feedback-statistics#:~:text=Did you know that receiving,efforts were being better recognized.) by Hubspot said they would work harder if they felt better appreciated by their company and management.

By recognizing the contributions of your team members on a manager-to-employee level and among their colleagues, you can make a big step towards improving employee engagement and retention. Along with further engaging employees, regular recognition has been shown to inspire teams to make an effort to work together more effectively.

Employees who receive little or no feedback or recognition from managers are much more likely to disengage from their work readily.

  1. Company Values

Clearly defined company values help ensure that all employees from the top down are engaged and working towards the same goals. Along with clear personal roles, employees need to know how their work impacts and supports company goals. Knowing how it all fits together makes for a more engaged workforce.

  1. Work Relationships and Environment

People have an inherent need to belong. Healthy, non-toxic, cordial relationships with other employees help to create a positive work environment. Employee happiness is 23.3% more correlated with peer connections than relationships with direct managers.

Healthy relationships between managers and employees are necessary, though, with half of all employees leaving positions citing they’ve chosen to leave because of their manager.

Benefits of Employee Engagement

Research across industries shows why employee engagement is essential. Employers that take the time and resources to pursue engagement initiatives have employees more inclined to work hard and solve problems. Employees will also grow and develop their skills and effective workflows faster, get along better with colleagues and customers, and companies will have a greater degree of employee retention.

  • Increased Employee Performance: Research by the SHRM Foundation found that employees engaged in their work are likely to want to help the company achieve its goals.

  • Higher Rates of Employee Retention: An engaged employee is 87% less likely to leave their job, according to the Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology at Work. Employee retention saves money and time on recruiting new talent, training them, and scaling their productivity.A study found that 81% of employees would consider leaving their job for the right offer, even if they weren’t actively looking for a job. Because of this, doing everything you can to retain top staff should be a priority.

  • Higher Reported Job Satisfaction: Engaged employees are happy employees, and happy employees nearly always have a higher job satisfaction rate than unhappy employees. Being engaged by what you must do to live (hold a job) almost always results in satisfaction. Unsurprisingly, being apathetic and disengaged with your employment rarely correlates positively with job satisfaction.

  • A Better Customer Experience: A study by Gallup found that a highly engaged workforce contributes to a 10% increase in customer ratings and a 20% increase in sales.

  • Higher Customer Loyalty Rate: As you may have expected, customers giving higher ratings and purchasing more are the result of highly engaged employees and are likely to remain customers.

  • Increased Revenue: The same study by Gallup found that highly engaged employees contribute 21% more profitability, 41% reduced absenteeism, and 59% less attrition, all of which lead to increased company revenue.

Cost of Neglecting Employee Engagement

The cost of neglecting employee engagement is the opposite of the benefits of fostering an engaging work environment for employees. You’ll have a higher turnover rate, employees disconnected from and uninterested in reaching company goals, and a much more difficult time reaching successful business outcomes.

Remember that employee engagement doesn’t come down to the monetary incentive of working for your company. People want to feel needed, respected, and like they are directly impacting the achievement of company goals. Failing to provide your employees with the engagement factors they need to be their best selves in the workplace will negatively impact your organization.

Next, we’ll discuss ideas for employee engagement and employee retention strategies that will soon have your organization recruiting and retaining top talent while boosting revenue, job satisfaction, customer experience, and more.

Driving Employee Engagement

The good news is that your organization can implement many strategies and employee engagement activities to maximize the engagement factors you provide to staff and improve the likelihood of an engaged, productive, efficient workforce.

Begin With Coaching Company Leadership

Managers are the bridge between higher management and employees. Company leaders must have team-building skills and the ability to motivate workers and sustain motivation. Good leaders can understand and engage employees.

Gallup found that employees with highly engaged managers are 59% more likely to be engaged than those supervised by actively disengaged managers.

Recognize Efforts and Contributions

Employees recognized for their efforts and contributions are motivated to continue working hard. Employees will likely stay with an organization and build company loyalty when they feel appreciated. Peer-to-peer recognition is just as important as recognition from leadership and, in some ways, much more beneficial.

Encourage Both Professional and Personal Development

As an employee engagement idea, encouraging professional and personal development is a valuable tactic that shows your workforce you care about them both in and out of the office. They’re not just another cog in the machine.

76% of employees are looking to grow in their careers. You can provide them with professional development courses, workshops, seminars, and certifications. Another great way to help employee development is by encouraging employees to pursue passion projects.

Ask for Feedback, Then Act on It

59% of employees report feeling more engaged by their work environment when invited to provide feedback on projects, goals, and other business operations. People crave feedback for themselves and want to know that their feedback about something is valuable.

Employees don’t just want to be asked for feedback that goes into a folder never to be looked at again; they want their ideas, suggestions, and issues to be listened to and acted on.

An “open-door” company culture helps to foster feedback and communication. If people aren’t being listened to, many will choose to go where they are listened to.

Well-Designed Onboarding Processes

Companies with excellent onboarding processes can look forward to an 82% boost in employee retention and a 70% boost in employee productivity. Thoughtfully designed onboarding experiences are a great way to build trust with newly hired talent and prove that the supportive company culture is authentic and will be a lucrative resource to them as they build their career with your company.

Tools for Driving Employee Engagement

Some of the best tools for driving employee engagement come in mobile app form, making them likely to get used by employees navigating the quickly moving currents of the Digitalization Age. So, leverage technology, let your employees hang out staring at their phones, and see how it improves your employee engagement.


EngageWith is an employee recognition and rewards app that integrates with Slack and MS Teams workspaces. Employees receive Kudos and Shoutouts that are converted into points that can be redeemed on your chosen rewards platforms.

Culture Amp

One of the best employee feedback tools available, Culture Amp enables businesses to get a better idea of what matters to their employees and what leadership and operational steps they can take to boost engagement, employee retention, and employee performance metrics.


15Five is one of the top performance management platforms focused on providing a human-centered approach that helps managers become more effective while boosting employee engagement.

15Five handles performance appraisals, performance evaluations, and OKRs, among other comprehensive, intuitive engagement-boosting tools.


Trello has fast become one of the top project management services available worldwide. It’s simple, intuitive, and ideal for managing a team or department. Users can see at a glance what is currently being worked on by other team members and the project status.

Engage, Reengage, Repeat

Our guide to employee engagement is intended to answer the question for middle managers and business leaders, “is employee engagement important?” with indisputable facts demonstrating how vital a thoughtful approach to engagement is.

You should now be prepared with strategies and tools that will help your organization increase employee engagement and thereby increase your employee productivity and effectiveness and positively impact revenue.

To learn more about employee engagement and how the experts at Stitchi can help drive your business’s employee engagement factor, visit us today.

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