Key drivers of employee engagement to build a healthy workplace culture

Employee Engagement
An office team in a very good environment

High levels of employee engagement can lead to everything from increased profitability to less turnover and absenteeism, so it’s clearly worth investing in. But what are the drivers of employee engagement? How can you create such an environment in your workplace?

This guide will help you discover the 8 key drivers of employee engagement with some explanation and examples so you can better understand what to implement and examine yourself.

What you’ll learn

What drives employee engagement?

There’s a lot that can drive employee engagement, but we’re going to narrow it down to eight essential areas. These will cover everything from the onboarding process to the work environment itself.


According to the Harvard Business Review, 59% of workers prioritize flexibility above even salary. Upon further investigation, HBR discovered that what workers really want is “flexibility by way of autonomy.”

In essence, this means employees want the freedom to work in the ways that best suit them, their lives, and their performance. For employers, that means letting go of one-size-fits-all rules.

That could relate to anything from when and how employees can work from home to the hours they work to what they wear in the office. Old-fashioned business practices worried that such freedom would tank performance, but new studies have found just the opposite. Employees with more autonomy aren’t just happier, they’re more motivated and even more productive.


Providing employees with ample opportunity to collaborate can go a long way toward creating an engaged workforce. Why? It’s been proven that collaborating employees are capable of staying on task longer than their solitary peers. That means they’re likely accomplishing more work in less time, boosting overall productivity numbers.

Collaboration also provides opportunities for employees to learn and grow in less structured settings; they also feel less siloed in their daily duties. When employees feel more connected to their peers and coworkers and the work those peers are doing, they can get a better picture of how their own duties fit into the overall mission.

Comprehensive onboarding

Having a comprehensive onboarding experience is one of the best ways to set your new employees up for success. It’s what helps them feel confident in their decision to join the company and helps you feel confident that you made the right decision bringing them on.

It’s also a great opportunity for new hires to learn more about their role. They can learn how it fits into the company’s wider goals, begin the process of building relationships with coworkers, and create a solid foundation from which to grow in their careers.

The key takeaway here should be that onboarding entails so much more than training and a welcome lunch on an employee’s first day. Instead, true comprehensive onboarding is an ongoing process tracked over the course of an employee’s first 90 days and up to their first year!

Purpose & meaning

Purpose and meaning are perhaps two of the most crucial drivers of employee engagement as well as some of the most difficult to create. That’s because the purpose is much more than an employee’s duties; it’s about how that employee sees what they do with respect to the company’s overall mission.

The only way to give this to your employees is through a clear company vision and lots of open communication and collaboration. You need workers to see how what they do matters as part of a big picture beyond simple KPIs.

Pay & benefits

Pay and benefits are probably two of the first things to come to mind when considering what drives employee engagement. That’s because it’s one of the most obvious. Competitive pay and desirable benefits are absolutely key to getting employees in the first place, let alone making them engaged.

That means you need to research the marketplace and your top competition. It also means considering creative ways to build up your benefits package. Some possible offerings include increased vacation time, flexible hours, the ability to work from home, and 401(k) matching.

Empowerment & recognition

Empowerment and recognition go hand in hand. Recognizing employees’ wins, even on a small scale, can go a long way toward helping them feel empowered and, ultimately, engaged. Celebrating their successes gives more weight to those successes, making them more important to the employee.

Empowerment is all about making employees feel capable and encouraged to make decisions, own their work, and grow in a professional capacity. To achieve empowerment, you’ll need to rely on several other drivers of employee engagement, such as professional development and autonomy.

Training & professional development

Training and professional development are great ways to help improve employees’ day-to-day lives as well as help them envision a future. Proper training (including refresher courses) keep employees up-to-date on the best practices.

If you already have in-house trainers such as a sales enablement team, look to them first. If you don’t have one, consider building one in addition to looking to online courses and one-off training sessions you can book for your teams.

Similarly, encouraging professional development could be anything from mentorship programs for employees to meet with higher-ups at your company to stipends for external courses. Some companies even offer tuition reimbursement for additional certifications and degrees. All of this will help prove that your company is invested in its employees and as concerned about their career path as they are.

Work-life balance

A poor work-life balance can have dramatic effects on your employees, causing everything from insomnia and anxiety to an uptick in physical ailments. No one can be all work, all the time without taking serious hits to their mental health. That’s why it’s important for employers to proactively work to rectify this.

Start by creating a culture where employees don’t have to fear taking time off. In fact, they should be encouraged to! After all, paid time off is part of their compensation package for a reason.

This doesn’t mean no one ever works long hours or has a busy schedule, merely that employees don’t feel penalized merely for having a life outside of work. Sometimes that can include flexible hours for childcare or appointments. Sometimes it could be as simple as managers reaching out proactively when an employee seems to be struggling.

Drive employee engagement with digital content experiences

Employee engagement is a difficult metric to measure, but these key drivers are areas to focus on if you want engagement to improve long-term. With these drivers framing your efforts, you’re well-equipped to create a happier workplace. But what tools should you equip yourself with?

Zoomforth offers a great way to start creating the kinds of informative and engaging digital content experiences that can help boost your employees’ engagement. The intuitive design platform comes equipped with customizable templates, drag-and-drop tools, custom style guides, and tons of multimedia content and integration opportunities

Request a demo from Zoomforth today to get started creating the onboarding microsite your new employees deserve!

Stay in the know

Subscribe to our newsletter for design inspiration, tips and best practices. Get event invitations, free resources, and details of upcoming feature releases.

You might also like