Setting up an employee engagement culture

Friday, 5 July 2024 02:54 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


In a strong employee engagement culture, employees should feel valued

Employee engagement is more than just a buzzword; it’s a critical factor that defines the success and sustainability of any organisation in today’s competitive landscape. Employee engagement is about employees feeling a passionate connection to their workplace and fully committing to the job. Hence, one feels fully engrossed and absorbed in their work with a burning desire to make a positive impact on the organisation’s reputation.

Employee engagement transcends mere job satisfaction by focusing on employees’ ‘emotional and intellectual’ involvement in creating unique value for all stakeholders. An engaged employee genuinely believes in the company’s purpose and goals and understands how their contribution fits into the larger picture. Engaged employees are typically more productive, which can significantly enhance a company’s image and profitability.

The historic moon landing on 20 July 1969 is a typical example of engagement and dedication. When President John F. Kennedy addressed Congress on 25 May 1961, he declared, “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth.” This mission had two critical components: the intellectual challenge for NASA’s scientists and the emotional drive of American pride.

A powerful anecdote illustrating this engagement involves President Kennedy’s subsequent visit to NASA, where he encountered a janitor mopping the floor. When asked, “Hey, what are you doing?” the janitor responded, “Mr. President, I’m helping put an American on the moon.” This story epitomises employee engagement, where even the smallest role is seen as crucial for the success of organisation’s mission. The janitor felt both emotionally and intellectually invested in the mission, recognising the importance of his 


A thought to ponder for all of us: “Are we clear about the bigger purpose of our organisation? How significant is my role in achieving the overall objectives? To what extent am I willing to put my heart and soul into my work?”

If we look at the holistic picture, do our most important resources—the staff—feel that their ‘little acts’ in performing a task have a ‘bigger meaning’ to the overall achievement of the organisation? Are they ‘excited’ to come to work and perform to the best of their abilities?

How to establish an employee engagement culture?

Six basic attributes:

Willingness: Hire people passionate about their jobs and ensure they are placed in roles that leverage their strengths. Every employee has unique preferences and work styles, which are only known to them, enabling them to perform at their best. Aligning their job roles with their interests and strengths ensures they remain focused and passionate.

Innovativeness: Encourage staff to think outside the box, developing solutions and finding new ways to improve productivity. Welcoming innovative ideas and challenging the status quo can drive significant improvements. Hence, “it is not being done here in this way so far…” should be the best qualifier to trying doing things in a different way that may create more value. When employees feel connected to their work, they are more likely to share creative ideas, benefiting the entire team.

Feedback: Create an environment where staff can freely give constructive feedback. It is vital to listen and act on this feedback. In the process, organisations should be receptive to take the ‘message’ in to consideration than the ‘messenger’. Ignoring employees’ opinions can lead to frustration and disengagement. 

By valuing their input, organisations can foster a culture of continuous improvement.

Recognition: In a strong employee engagement culture, employees should feel valued. Recognition is a fundamental human desire, and it should be part of the company’s culture. 

Regular appreciation and recognition can motivate employees to perform at higher levels. Recognised employees develop confidence and a willingness to take on more responsibilities, driving better results for the organisation.

Autonomy: Empower staff by granting them the authority to make decisions that benefit the business. Reducing the ‘fear psychosis’ around decision-making encourages employees to act in the best interest of all stakeholders. Empowered employees are more likely to engage deeply with their work and the organisation.

Profitability: Consider profit as a ‘byproduct’ of a well-established employee engagement culture. Engaged employees are willing to go above and beyond to achieve goals, keeping stakeholders’ best interests in mind. Research shows that highly engaged employees are more productive and cost-effective. Their sense of responsibility and accountability can drive significant organisational success. Ultimately, profit becomes the applause they receive for their well-engaged performance.

By fostering a culture that emphasises willingness, innovativeness, feedback, recognition, and autonomy, organisations can create an environment where employees are highly engaged and motivated to contribute to the company’s success.

(The writer is a sought-after ‘Customer Experience’ specialist in Sri Lanka. Over the last 28 years he has conducted nearly 3,300 inspirational and educational programs for over 800 organisations in 11 countries. His work can be seen at

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