Cultivating Employee Engagement in the Workplace - Tilson


Cultivating Employee Engagement in the Workplace

Culture, Leadership & Management | January 2022

Employee engagement is an extremely powerful force that has the potential to impact an organization’s trajectory. However, 70% of workers in the U.S. are not engaged, according to Gallup. 

Since high engagement can lead to success, while low engagement can harm productivity, this statistic should be alarming to employers. 

Engaged employees are more than just satisfied with their jobs, they are committed to the company and its goals. They have passion, pride and energy for their work and their organization, and are willing to go the extra mile on a regular basis. Employees who are truly engaged stay because they enjoy their work and support the company. 

This article will explain how employee engagement is being successfully cultivated in the workplace and suggest engagement improvement strategies. 

Engagement Motivators

Some companies excel at employee engagement, while others need help implementing a useful strategy. Depending on your workforce, an engagement method that works elsewhere might not work for your company. This is why constant communication with employees and strategy re-evaluation is so important. Use employee engagement feedback to help innovate your current strategy. In addition, when making your decisions, consider what the Harvard Business Review says is the underlying factor in engagement—why employees work determines how well they work.

Authors from Harvard Business Review delved further into the research, expanding on psychological theories outlined by Professors Edward Deci and Richard Ryan—co-developers of the influential self-determination theory. The authors expanded on the professors’ famous “six main reasons why people work” and tailored them for the modern workplace: 

  1. Play 
  2. Purpose
  3. Potential
  4. Emotional pressure
  5. Economic pressure
  6. Inertia

The first set focuses on the work itself and instills a sense of importance in the employee. Think about how you can incorporate these motivational keys when developing engagement strategies. 

The second set of motivators, according to the authors, focuses on either “the disappointment or the reward” instead of the work itself. If you are using the latter set of motivators, you are immediately distracting from the work and reducing engagement from the offset.  

Forming Strategies

Employees’ reasons for working have a considerable impact on their workplace performance. The goal with any engagement strategy should focus on getting employees invested in their work, instead of using distracting motivators like harsh penalties for failure or rewards for the number of accomplished tasks. These motivators shift focus away from the work itself. This does not mean incentives cannot be used, but they should be paired with strategies that make employees feel personally rewarded by their work.

First, every organization should assess its current engagement level. This can be done in a number of ways, but should include employee feedback for the best results. Consider using any of the following strategies to get started:

  • Engagement surveys
  • Market research
  • Employee focus groups
  • Brainstorm meetings 

Next, after receiving feedback, compile the information so you can see what employees need to feel engaged at work. For some insight into this matter, Deloitte conducted a study regarding millennials’ motivations when choosing an employer. It found that the top motivators were a good work-life balance, opportunities to progress, flexibility, a sense of meaning from the work and professional development programs. This study reiterates the importance of using motivators that instill workers with a sense of purpose because that is what they need to feel engaged.

Measuring Employee Engagement

An employee engagement survey is a great starting place for any workplace strategy. In order to be effective, it is important to examine all aspects of the workers’ jobs, environment and involvement with the organization. This includes employees’ opinions on management, direct supervisors, co-workers, employer-employee communication, opportunity for advancement, job characteristics and HR policies.

Download our free survey with sample questions to help you get started in creating an engagement survey.

Conducting any survey is useless without taking action based on the results. By identifying areas that are hindering employee engagement, your company can focus on improving those areas to strive toward a more engaged, productive and profitable workforce.


There is no one easy way to successfully engage employees. Some people are more engaged in their work than others, but this information can help bridge that gap. Remember, there is valuable ROI potential for engaging employees, so do not settle for disengagement.

Carefully consider how you plan to engage employees, and craft a method for receiving initial feedback about the company atmosphere. Use this free sample engagement survey as a framework for your own system. Equally important to the feedback is analyzing the data. Make sure you have a plan for implementing the ideas you get from the survey, otherwise there is no point, and employees may feel like their feedback does not matter. 

Finally, Tilson is here to help. Reach out to Tilson to discuss transforming your employee engagement in 2022. 

Check out more HR Insights.





Press Releases

More resources

Sign up for HR insights from the Tilson team.

Skip to content