Engaging Employees at All Levels

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Every company aspires to have an engaged workforce in which employees are involved, focused, and committed to their jobs. Engaged employees are beneficial to businesses because they work harder, produce stronger results, and stay with the company longer.[1],[2],[3]

One of the greatest challenges of employee engagement is to identify each employee’s needs and motivations in order to determine how to best engage them. Complicating this challenge is the fact that some companies may have a disparate workforce that requires different engagement tactics.

For example, research indicates that employees at different stages of their career pursue certain engagements opportunities while rejecting others (see Figure A).[4] Employees in the early stage of their career are interested primarily in opportunities for recognition and networking in order to establish themselves and advance their career. While they don’t have much money to donate at this point in their lives, they’re likely to show up at volunteer opportunities—especially if senior leaders are present. On the other hand, mid-career employees tend to be more pressed for time, sandwiched by caretaking responsibilities for both children and aging family members. These employees prefer opportunities for recognition, education, and getting their family involved. Finally, late-career employees are motivated by the opportunity to build a legacy or mentor a younger colleague and, because their salaries have peaked, they are more likely to contribute financially to important causes.


Of course, age isn’t the only factor that diversifies employee groups. Workforces are also comprised of employees with different backgrounds, expertise, skills, and interests. Strategic corporate citizenship professionals develop programs to account for these differences. For example, a financial firm that invests heavily in training executives to serve on nonprofit boards is also careful to develop a mentoring program to ensure a consistent pipeline of strong leaders. A global professional services company might create an employee volunteer program with enough flexibility to tap into the unique needs and interests of its overseas communities and employees. A transportation and logistics company may take care to develop a suite of CSR communications tactics that touches both employees in the office and in the field.  

To develop a truly successful employee engagement strategy, it is important to properly analyze your entire employee ecosystem and build engagement initiatives based on their interests, motivations, and constraints. To hear more about how companies are building effective employee engagement efforts, watch a recording of our webinar, Engaging Employees at All Levels (member-exclusive resource), for insights from Beth Spurgeon, USA Corporate Responsibility Manager at ArcelorMittal; Ashley Rossman, Senior Manager of Community Engagement at BECU; and Lindsay Cooper, Community Investment Senior Advisor at Capital Power.

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[1]  Gallup. (2013). State of the global workplace: Employee engagement insights for business leaders worldwide. Retrieved from http://www.gallup.com/services/178517/state-global-workplace.aspx

[2] Gallup. (2013).

[3] Bode, C., Singh, J., & Rogan, M. (2015). Corporate social initiatives and employee retention. Organization Science26(6), 1702-1720.

[4] Boone, J. B., McKechnie, S., & Swanberg, J. (2011). Predicting employee engagement in an age-diverse retail workforce. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 32, 173-196.