Regardless of the thriving labor market, employee engagement issues don’t seem to be getting any better. The year 2022 showed that 60% of employees felt disengaged, while 19% reported being miserable. Accordingly, the turnover rate has only increased, leading to overspending on employee replacement.

This issue also leads to quiet quitting (at least 50% of the U.S. workforce), which can be even more harmful than leaving a company for good. While quiet quitters are not necessarily the problem for some organizations, others cannot settle for getting the bare minimum results while paying full-time salaries.

But the good news is that any manager can break the cycle of disengagement and low performance. All you need to do is choose and stick to one of the proven employee engagement models to boost employee morale.

This article will shed light on the most popular strategies and opportunities an employer can utilize to ensure employee engagement. Moreover, you’ll learn about the exact steps and best practices for their implementation.

What is an Employee Engagement Model?

An employee engagement model is a systematic approach to building within your employees a strong sense of belonging, job enthusiasm, and commitment to the company. Each particular strategy is based on the drivers of engagement relatable to most employees, regardless of the industry. In most cases, the essence of such models is in cultivating care for employees’ happiness at the workplace and building an environment of empowerment. 

You can find plenty of engagement models, but you should choose one that considers your organization’s unique needs and characteristics. It should be flexible, adaptable, and able to evolve as the company grows and changes. As a result, a new approach to interaction with your employees will positively transform your company in a variety of ways.

The Value of Following an Engagement Model

  • Higher performance. Genuine care about employees’ well-being at work drives increased motivation and commitment, resulting in greater performance. A study shows that such companies experience an 18% boost in productivity.
  • Enhanced profitability. Boosted performance and decreased turnover rates can lead to cost savings and amplified profits for the company. As a result, you can see a 23% increase in profitability.
  • Decreased turnover. Engaged employees are often more satisfied with their work and less likely to leave their positions. This leads to an 18% and 43% decrease in turnover for high and low-turnover companies, respectively.
  • Elevated corporate image. Companies with highly engaged employees are frequently viewed more favorably by customers, talent, and potential partners, which builds a decent reputation.
  • Happier workforce. Engagement models foster satisfaction and fulfillment by prioritizing employee well-being. The more content employees are with their work, the more positive the working environment becomes.
  • Stronger communication and cooperation. When employees are engaged, they’re more likely to communicate and collaborate with their coworkers. Hence, your team members build stronger bonds and achieve more slam-dunk victories for your company.
  • Improved decision-making. When employees are engaged and invested in the company’s success, they are more likely to make decisions in the organization’s best interest.
  • Boosted creativity and innovation. Engaged employees are often more open to new ideas and are also more likely to bring creative solutions to the table, both of which lead to increased innovation and growth.
  • Superior customer service. Engaged employees are often more passionate about their work and dedicated to providing excellent customer service. A study even showed a 10% increase in customer loyalty due to boosted employee engagement.

7 Popular Employee Engagement Models

The professional models below were created by psychologists and experts in professional growth. Each offers a range of approaches, from psychological frameworks to data-driven metrics, so you can choose the one that suits your company best.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Renowned psychologist Abraham Maslow introduced Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in 1943, which remains relevant today. According to this model, human needs are arranged in a hierarchical order and must be fulfilled in a specific sequence for people to reach their full potential. 

In the workplace, employees must have their basic needs fulfilled, such as a safe environment to work in,  to be engaged and motivated. This allows employees to concentrate on their psychological needs, such as belonging, self-esteem, and self-actualization.

The X Model

The X Model is a visionary approach to employee engagement that unlocks the full potential of your workforce. This model aims to create a work environment that ignites passion, fosters professional growth, and drives motivation by focusing on these four powerful drivers:

  1. Experience. This driver focuses on creating a workplace that is not just a job but a source of joy and fulfillment. To achieve this, offer opportunities for professional development, foster a supportive culture, and promote a healthy work-life balance.
  2. Exposure. This driver allows employees to expand their knowledge and skills through cross-functional training and participating in exciting new projects and initiatives.
  3. Expertise. It’s essential to provide employees with the tools they need to apply their skills and knowledge. Give them greater autonomy and decision-making power, and watch as they thrive.
  4. Expectation. Set the stage for success by establishing transparent expectations for your employees’ roles and providing the resources they need to fulfill them. 

Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory

Also known as the Motivator-Hygiene Theory, this widely used employee engagement model was first proposed in 1950 by psychologist Frederick Herzberg. This theory highlights motivators and ‘hygiene’ factors as two main elements that form employee satisfaction.

‘Hygiene’ factors, such as salary, job security, and working conditions, are essential for employees to feel satisfied, but they don’t necessarily lead to increased motivation. On the other hand, motivators, such as recognition, growth opportunities, and a sense of achievement, are the factors that most powerfully drive engagement.

Engagement Pyramid

This model focuses on building engagement from the bottom up and is based on three critical levels:

  • Primary engagement. This level fulfills employees’ fundamental needs by providing a secure and safe working environment, fair compensation, and clear role expectations.
  • Discretionary engagement. This level gives employees chances to expand their skills and knowledge through training and development programs, opportunities for career advancement, and recognition for their contributions.
  • Inspired engagement. This level motivates employees to surpass expectations by nurturing a sense of purpose, building a supportive work culture, and encouraging a healthy work-life balance.

Gallup’s Q12

Gallup’s Q12 advocates 12 fundamental elements for promoting a positive and productive work environment. Using a research-backed survey, employers can assess all the components and ensure their employees are emotionally invested in their work.

 For instance, here are some of the statements that exemplify an engaged employee:

  • I know what is expected of me at work.
  • At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
  • In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.
  • There is someone at work who encourages my development.
  • At work, my opinions seem to count.

One of the strengths of the Q12 model is its ability to pinpoint specific areas for improvement. For example, you can implement a ready-to-use survey system like into your working environment and systematically gather employee feedback. This tool also generates statistics on various elements of teams’ engagement to reveal all possible blind spots. Thus, you’ll be able to work on the aspects that require immediate attention.

survey questions by

The Kahn Model

The Kahn Model posits that cognitive, emotional, and physical types of employee engagement are equally required for deep involvement in one’s job. Cognitive engagement is characterized by focus, concentration, and intensity, while emotional engagement is marked by joy and a positive affective state. Finally, physical engagement is defined as work intensity or energy density expended on the job. 

This theory also identifies safety, meaningfulness, and availability as three essential factors that drive work engagement. In practice, you can apprehend and apply this concept in the following ways:

  1. Psychological availability. Ensure employees feel mentally and emotionally ready to engage in their work through job security, a sense of belonging, and a supportive work environment.
  2. Engagement climate. Drive engagement with solid leadership, effective communication, and opportunities for growth and development. Regular one-on-one meetings will serve this purpose well.
  3. Discretionary effort. Encourage employees to go above and beyond by promoting a culture that values extra effort and contributions. For example, you can empower your employees with bonuses for proactivity and extra achievements.
The Kahn's model

The JD-R Model

The JD-R Model balances work demands with the resources to meet them to create a dynamic and engaged workforce.

Job DemandsJob Resources
The physical, psychological, and emotional aspects of a job, such as heavy workloads, tight deadlines, and high-stress levels, which could drain an employee’s energy and motivation.The tools and support provided to employees to meet their job demands. Resources such as a supportive work environment, growth opportunities, and autonomy help employees cope with challenges and maintain engagement.

How to Implement an Employee Engagement Model

A suitable model can drive engagement, motivation, and, ultimately, the retention of your best talent. But where do you start?

  1. Get buy-in from all levels of the organization. Request input from managers and employees to ensure that everyone in your company is on board with a new model. If someone is not, make time to explain the benefits.
  2. Communicate the changes in detail. Provide training and resources to help employees understand the new engagement model and how it applies to their work. Make sure that all the implementation steps are clear to your teams.
  3. Establish clear and measurable goals. Setting clear and measurable goals will help track progress and make necessary adjustments.
  4. Provide ongoing support. Offer personalized support to employees to help them adapt to a new system. This could include one-on-one coaching, mentoring, and ensuring that your team members have all the necessary resources to adjust to a new working model.
  5. Regularly evaluate and upgrade the model. Assess the effectiveness of the new model often and make adjustments as necessary. Collect feedback from employees to better meet their needs.

5 Ways to Make Transitions Smoother

Getting used to a new routine is often challenging for both an employer and an employee. Sticking to essential practices when adopting a new way of operation should smooth out this experience.

  • Help employees feel included. Involve employees in the process and seek their feedback and input.
  • Lead by example. Model the behavior you want to see in your employees.
  • Be consistent. Apply your engagement initiatives daily and remind employees of their importance to the company.
  • Celebrate success. Recognize and encourage the achievements of your employees to foster continued progress.
  • Continuously improve. Regularly assess your engagement initiatives and make improvements as needed.

Measuring the Efficiency of Employee Engagement Models

It’s essential to take the pulse of your engagement initiatives to see if they’re healthy and making a difference. Here are some valuable metrics and possible challenges to prepare for the model assessment.

Metrics to Use for Tracking Employee Engagement

  • Employee satisfaction and engagement surveys. Regularly collecting feedback allows you to quickly be aware of any drop in engagement.
  • Retention rates. High retention rates indicate that employees are engaged and motivated. But even if this rate is low, you still have to consider external circumstances like the market state and employees’ motivation to leave your company. 
  • Productivity and performance metrics. The amount of work your employees do indicates their energy levels, which directly correlates with engagement. High performance also means a better sense of well-being and an optimal work-life balance.
  • Absenteeism and turnover rates. Highly engaged employees tend not to miss too many days of work. If one of your team members starts to take sick leaves on a regular basis, it’s best to ensure the problem is not related to their job satisfaction.

What Challenges Might You Face?

It isn’t easy to objectively assess your chosen model’s efficiency since various factors can influence the result. Still, if your new model doesn’t meet your expectations, a couple of common barriers can show you why.

  • Resistance to change. Some employees may resist changes to the workplace, making it difficult to gauge the impact of engagement initiatives accurately. This usually means that communication wasn’t efficient enough.
  • Lack of resources. Taking regular surveys and tracking the effects of a new model can be recourse-intensive, leading to inaccurate results. It’s best to use methods that don’t take too much time or human force, like digital survey systems.

Track Employee Engagement With

As companies seek to improve employee engagement, survey tools like Beams are becoming increasingly essential. Beams offers features that can take engagement initiatives to the next level and significantly benefit your company.

With seamless integration into Slack, it enables managers to collect feedback on employee engagement effortlessly, as well as receive detailed statistics. Anyone from your team can also use the recognition feature, allowing coworkers to exchange fun gratitude badges for outstanding work. As a result, you can foster a positive and rewarding culture in the workplace and increase employee engagement as well.

Schedule a free demo to check out the transformative employee engagement tools.