employee engagement

6 Ways To Build And Maintain High Employee Engagement

By Baili Bigham

Employee engagement is something that all leaders strive for but can be an ambiguous metric to measure. Academics, psychologists, and HR professionals have disagreed for decades on what actually drives engagement and performance, making it challenging for organizations to understand where they should be investing their time, energy, and money to make positive changes.

To tap into the kind of engagement that fuels performance, leaders and managers must help their people feel fulfilled by their role, fully supported, and connected to the company’s purpose. At first glance, this may seem like a big ask or too complex to do it well, but it’s actually pretty simple.

Here are six practices and tips you can begin implementing today to help maximize engagement across your organization.

1. Prioritize a culture that supports all of your people

High workplace engagement is directly linked to building an inclusive culture. The best companies inspire performance from their people by creating conditions where everyone is able to do their best.

But building an inclusive and diverse environment is not easy and doesn’t happen on its own. If your culture doesn’t actively empower all of your people to feel accepted for who they are, then your work environment will not employ your people to be open and honest, take calculated risks, or bring their unique perspective to the table.

2. Think about performance differently

Performance is an outcome or byproduct; it’s not something that can be managed directly. Boosting performance requires tapping into a deeper, intrinsic motivation. This type of motivation comes from having a genuine interest in your role and responsibilities, rather than the external benefits that may be obtained. Performance is directly tied to how often a person uses their strengths, so instead of unlocking performance, focus on helping people unlock their talents.

3. Help individuals become their best selves

Every person has the innate desire to have their talents be realized and fulfilled, otherwise known as self-actualization. When leaders create a safe space for people to be their true selves, support the development of their strengths, and craft roles that allow them to use those strengths daily; employees can live out their full potential and bring their best selves to work each and every day.

4. Connect individual goals to the company’s mission

When a company and its leaders aspire towards a common goal, success isn’t merely achievable, it’s the natural result. Through the use of company objectives and key results (OKRs), many leaders have successfully created high-performing teams who feel engaged and fulfilled at work. 

While increasing revenue or improving customer NPS are all important places to focus, people are driven by impact. To create meaningful goals, build company objectives that motivate and allow employees to attach their own measurable key results to those objectives. 

5. Recognize and acknowledge employees

When leaders highlight the strengths of their people, they’re far more engaged, productive, and creative. 

Regular recognition can help alleviate some of the day-to-day tension that employees may experience, and can significantly boost morale. In fact, studies show that high performing teams are far more supportive and complementary than low performing ones.

6. Take an ongoing and accurate measurement of engagement

Tracking and analyzing employee engagement has long been misunderstood. Outdated methods, systems, and content leave HR and leadership at a loss to understand results and take the correct course of action. But when engagement is measured accurately, thoroughly, and consistently, you’re able to see which qualities of your organization are hindering performance and which ones are driving it

Check out 15Five’s employee engagement feature, Engagement+, to learn how you can boost the type of engagement that drives performance.

Baili Bigham is the Content Manager at 15Five, continuous performance management software that includes weekly check-ins, OKR tracking, peer recognition, 1-on-1s, and 360° reviews. When Baili isn’t writing, you can find her binge-reading a new book or strategizing ways to pet every dog in San Francisco. 


Know the pulse of your team each week and improve employee engagement with 15Five.


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