The basis of engagement: What people want from work

Rogier van der Werf

The difference between box tickers and employees who want to improve companies can be summed up by the following: employees who change companies and exert discretionary effort have (at the very minimum) their basic work needs met, whereas box tickers do not.

The basis of engagement: What people want from work

If organisations are to reach high levels of engagement, then it is essential that they – at very least – are able to meet the basic demands of what employees want from work. Whilst many companies are doing an excellent job, the global engagement figures suggest that many businesses are also failing to cover the basics.

It is not difficult, however, to understand why. Since the turn of the century, businesses have witnessed and experienced several gigantic changes. The technology boom and the rise of the internet has changed the way we live, interact with our environment and communicate with each other. It has also transformed the way people work.

Additionally, there was a global financial crisis that also re-defined the business landscape. Companies had to become more agile, more focused on innovation and competition became fiercer than ever. Businesses had to do more with less resources, as did employees.

Most recently, the changes in the composition of the workforce has had a profound impact on what (younger) employees expect from work and the company they work for. As a result, organisations are having to re-think the way they approach recruitment, employer branding and how they connect with employees.

Global Employee Engagement Index™

A comprehensive overview of employee engagement with benchmarks from 57 countries with essential lessons for your HR strategy .


The four key pillars of employee engagement

One of the key aims of our global study was to investigate what people want from work. If the study helps shed light on this, businesses will have access to the knowledge required to create the basis for a highly engaged workforce.

The study analysed 86 different factors at work. By using the survey data, correlation analysis and employee responses, Effectory were able to uncover what employees around the world want from work. The conclusion of this study found that employees are looking for four key pillars in their work:

  1. A compelling company culture where employees feel they fit in, are appreciated and are proud of what the organisation stands for and does.
  2. An optimal work environment where employees are free to work and perform, do what they are good at and develop.
  3. Exceptional leaders at C-suite level who inspire confidence, keep up-to-date with current affairs and communicate.
  4. Inspiring immediate managers that motivate, use employee feedback and are proficient in people management.

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