The top 4 drivers of employee engagement and commitment

Rogier van der Werf

How can multinationals drive two of the most valued HR themes and in the process take engagement and commitment to the next level?

The top 4 drivers of employee engagement and commitment

One of the goals of our recent study of multinationals was to uncover the biggest influencers of employee engagement and commitment. Essentially, we wanted to know what factors influence the two and as a step further, we wanted to provide HR and multinationals with actionable best practices and insights.

The data used in our study was collected from employee surveys that we conducted with multinationals over the last 18 months. From using correlation analysis, we were able to see the extent to which each employee survey statement influences engagement and commitment.

For practical purposes, we selected the four biggest influencers and also made a division within the four between general influencers and manager specific influencers.

Engaging employees in multinationals

Download the free HR report on employee engagement and commitment in multinationals


The top 4 influencers

General influencers

  • I feel that I fit in at my organisation
  • My work energises me

Manager specific influencers

  • Manager clearly indicates performance objectives
  • If I perform well, my manager tells me so

How employees in multinationals currently feel

  • 79% feel they fit in at their organisation
  • 51% responded that their work energises them
  • 59% stated their manager indicates performance objectives
  • 47% responded that their manager tells them if they perform well

Taking engagement and commitment to the next level

As discussed, our study uncovered four employee survey statements that have the biggest influence on employee engagement and commitment.

In order to make our findings actionable, we also compiled best practices for each of the four influencers. Our hope is that by providing practical and actionable insights, we can help multinationals, CEOs, HR, managers and employees take engagement and commitment to the next level.

Best practices: general influencers

I feel that I fit in at my organisation

  • Make sure that employees are clear about the corporate identity. Employees only know if they feel at home if they know what the organisation stands for (mission/vision) and what is important to the organisation (standards/values).
  • Involve employees in company-wide decisions. This helps to ensure support of the decisions, as well as clarity about employees’ thoughts and feelings.

The role of HR in leadership

My work energises me

  • Ensure a good match between employees and their work. If there turns out to be a mismatch, assistance and/or training should be offered to bridge the gap. In the case of long-term mismatches, every effort should be made to help employees find more suitable work (either inside or outside of the organisation).
  • Pay attention to employees’ development. Stagnant jobs with limited challenges will diminish the energy employees get from their work. It is therefore vital that employees’ jobs evolve, for instance by broadening the scope of work.

3 ways managers can improve development opportunities

Best practices: manager influencers

If I perform well, my manager tells me so

  • Invest in feedback training for managers and teams. The added benefits for everyone far outweigh the initial investment.
  • Positive feedback (i.e. giving compliments) is too often overlooked or forgotten. Challenge managers to give at least one compliment a week.

Is your manager really open to feedback?

Manager clearly indicates performance objectives

  • Make sure employees are clear about which goals must be reached. Creating transparent agreements with employees is ideal; especially as it assures that there is enough support on offer.
  • Consider linking the targets to appraisals or other performance related aspects. In doing so, employees receive regular praise but are also aware of how they are progressing in their targets.

Are good people managers a pain in the ass?

HR’s role in the 4 drivers

HR have a big role to play in employees’ engagement and commitment, In particular, HR can play an important part in employees fitting in at organisations, and it starts in the hiring process. Helping to create initial compatibility between employee and organisation provides a solid basis for engagement and commitment.

Skills can be taught, cultural fit cannot

Prospective employees have to complement an organisation’s culture. At the very beginning of the process, there has to be an immediate feeling from HR that the interviewee matches with the organisation’s culture. Regardless of how big the talent is, if there’s no cultural fit, engagement and commitment stand little chance. Skills can be taught, cultural fit cannot.