Organizational Culture

What’s Missing From Your Employee Engagement Initiatives?

By Sarah O’Brien

When it comes to getting your team engaged at work, you’ve tried everything. Department fun-runs, ice cream socials, bowling, unlimited PTO, remote opportunities — all of it. This motivates some of your employees, yet you’re not quite getting the reach with your engagement initiative that you’d like, and ultimately your employee retention is suffering.

There is a lot of noise around employee engagement. Surely you’ve seen thought leadership on the subject dotting your LinkedIn newsfeed or popping up in your email inbox, and more than likely you’ve aligned with the leaders of your organization on the benefits of improving engagement.

There are a some basic facets that encompass all engagement strategies:

Emotional Attachment

This refers to an employee’s belief about their ability to contribute to the success of their department and organization.

In practice, this looks like consistent employer-provided feedback, developing employee skills and career paths, organization-focused training and most importantly, healthy and respectful relationships and communication with immediate supervisors and coworkers.


When employees are given the ability to make decisions and be involved in projects that are important to organizational success, engagement flourishes. Contributing and having a stake in the game promotes an environment where employees are statistically more satisfied with their jobs, and thus report high levels of engagement.

Align your team with the organizational Vision, Mission and Values and provide opportunities to do what they’re good at and what they enjoy doing. Employees report feeling less engaged when they feel their work environment is inflexible, or that they’re being micromanaged, and more engaged when they’re a part of a positive and promotional work culture.

Get our free eBook on employee engagement to learn more:

Employee Engagement eBook


Not just the kind that they have to enroll in. Benefits range from healthcare and competitive financial packages to flexible work schedule and environment, bonus structures, gym memberships, coffee bars, etc.


Last, but surely not least, relationships with managers and leaders is a vital arm of employee engagement. Healthy relationships with leaders and managers are critical to the success of other engagement objectives (as listed above) as well as the reported happiness of employees.

Employees should feel that they can communicate well with their leaders, and in turn, their leaders can communicate with and respect them.

But, there is one thing to rule them all…

Those are the more apparent motivations of engagement, but you could be attacking all of those angles perfectly and still be struggling to engage your workforce. Why is that?

Most employee engagement initiatives lack organization. Different solutions are thrown at the problem with the hope that some will stick and work, and boom – engagement problem solved. But in order to ensure you’re addressing the entire engagement issue you need to look at the core of what engagement is really about.

The Platinum Rule: Treat others as they would want to be treated

It’s about your employees. As unique persons with unique and different preferences, needs, strengths and weaknesses.

What is typically missing from engagement programs is a focus on the individual, what makes those specific people feel valued, and the flexibility to provide everyone with a work culture that meets them where they are.

If you’re not considering who your engagement initiatives are for, then they’re likely to be less successful.

The best way to accomplish an employee-focused engagement culture is to get to know your employees better. Personality test and proclivity tests are not only fun ways to learn about ourselves, but they’re great to administer company-wide to promote understanding of the strengths of each employee.

Additionally, if everyone is taking the same test, you can build profiles on the individual, on departments and teams, and even grow to understand your organization better as a whole.

Using knowledge about each and all of your employees to inform your engagement program will guarantee that your initiatives are successful, and accomplish what matters: expressing the value of your relationship with your employees, and vice versa.

Enjoy a 1-minute preview of “5 Ways to Engage Employees” from The BizLibrary Collection below:

Sarah O’Brien researches and writes on a variety of business topics, including workplace dynamics, HR strategies, and training trends and technology.