Employee engagement has been a hot topic in business since the 1990s. Now, with teams more geographically distributed than ever, and employees facing increased uncertainty in their roles, employee engagement is again in the spotlight.

In LegalVision’s experience, engaged team members are willing to go the extra mile for their clients and teammates. They proactively think of ways to improve our systems and processes and share their ideas with the right people. They are culture champions internally and advocates of LegalVision as an employer externally. For these reasons, and many more, high employee engagement is a business imperative for LegalVision.

But creating and fostering an engaged team does not happen by chance. There is a lot more to it than allowing your team to bring their dogs to work, or putting on Friday night drinks. It requires consideration, action, commitment, reflection and investment. In this article, we explore:

  • the four key pillars of employee engagement;
  • how to measure engagement in your business; and 
  • what leaders can do to enhance employee engagement in their businesses.

4 Pillars of Engagement

Start by looking holistically at the overall employee experience at your business, addressing the following four key pillars of engagement:

  1. strong foundations of employment;
  2. meaningful and challenging work; 
  3. effective management and leadership; and 
  4. connectivity and belonging.

1. Strong Foundations of Employment

Think of the foundations of employment as hygiene factors for your employees. These are:

  • a safe workplace
  • fair compensation;
  • job security; and 
  • clear expectations.

If you fail to provide these foundations, you have not met your employees’ basic needs, and they will be disengaged from Day One. As such, getting the foundations of employment right in your business is critical to giving yourself the best chance of establishing an engaged workforce.

2. Meaningful and Challenging Work

Providing meaningful and challenging work to your employees starts with your business’ mission, vision and values.

  • Do your employees know and understand your mission and vision?
  • Are they motivated and inspired by them?
  • Can they see the values of the business being lived on a day to day basis?

Team and business alignment is an important element of employee engagement, so ensuring everyone is on the same page should be a priority. Review the tasks people are performing along with their level of responsibility.

Consider these questions:

  • Are tasks and responsibilities well defined, and suited to the skills and experience of people employed to perform them? 
  • Are employees given a reasonable level of autonomy to perform their duties? 
  • Is there scope to increase the level of complexity within a role, to provide new and challenging work for employees to aid their development? 

Closely monitoring the performance and capabilities of your team members will allow you to structure their roles and responsibilities in the most engaging way possible, enabling growth and unlocking opportunities for career progression.

3. Effective Management and Leadership

As a manager and leader, you can set the tone for what is acceptable in terms of performance, behaviour and contribution in your business. Inspiring managers and leaders, who truly care about the success of the team, and are willing to put in the time and effort to support those around them, will help engagement levels soar.

Further, effective managers and leaders instill confidence in team members, as they know that the business is in safe hands. For these reasons and more, hiring, nurturing and retaining effective managers and leaders should be a key focus in every business.

4. Connectivity and Belonging 

The final pillar of employee engagement is connectivity and belonging. This pillar involves much more than providing fun events or cool perks to your employees. At the crux of it, this pillar emphasises the importance of creating opportunities for your team members to:

meaningfully connect, to feel like they are valued members of your business, and like they truly belong. 

Achieving high levels of connectivity and belonging requires focus and commitment. It is not something that should only occur during difficult or uncertain times.

There are many actions businesses can take to achieve high levels of connectivity and belonging. You can:

  • foster open communication and transparency among all levels and in all circumstances; 
  • facilitate frequent opportunities to connect, either formally or informally; 
  • ensure your team represents diversity of culture, thought, professional and lived experience; and 
  • provide genuine support and guidance to team members in the good times and bad as part of cultural norm, not something that happens once a year on a national day of celebration or commemoration. 

These are just a few examples of how you can build employee engagement through connectivity and belonging and allow your team members to thrive.

Measuring Engagement

Now that you understand the four key pillars of engagement, it is important to know how to measure engagement in your business. The most effective way to do this is to conduct an employee engagement survey. Employee engagement surveys ask questions that get to the crux of how employees are thinking and feeling about their jobs, managers and leaders, the business, and their career goals. 

Several providers in the market offer different solutions. For example, formal surveys to be completed on a biannual basis, or weekly pulse checks that are sent to employees’ mobile phones.

Questions to Consider

Regardless of the employee survey solution you opt for, ask yourself the following questions first:

  1. What are we measuring? Every survey does not have to cover every pillar of employee engagement. This is especially true if you survey your team one a regular basis.
  2. Who are we inviting to participate? Generally, new starters will have little to add to an engagement survey, so it might not make sense to invite them to participate. The same applies to employees who work very infrequently. 
  3. When is the right time to run the survey? Launching your survey during a busy time, such as the end of the financial year, will likely have an impact on your completion rate. Plan ahead to give your employees the best opportunity to provide their feedback in the given time frame.
  4. What will we do with the feedback? Asking for feedback and doing nothing about it is a surefire way to decrease engagement levels in your business. Once you have digested the feedback, prepare an action plan, share it with your team, then execute. 

Many survey providers offer industry benchmarks that you can use to compare your results. This is a fantastic way to see how your business is tracking compared to others in a similar situation. If a benchmark is not available, use your own results as a benchmark, and aim to improve your scores each time you survey your team.

Key Takeaways

While we have outlined the four key pillars of employee engagement in this article, it is important to note that employee engagement is not a one size fits all approach. What is important to one employee will likely be very different from the next. Managers should get to know their team members, including their career goals, how they like to communicate, and how they like to be recognised. 

By understanding what makes their team members tick, managers can provide tailored employee experiences and give the business the best chance to achieve high employee engagement across the board.


For assistance with employment law matters, LegalVision’s experienced employment lawyers can help. Call us today on 1300 544 755 or complete the form on this page.

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