For more than two decades, workforce researcher Eric Chester has been helping companies win the war on talent by creating a dynamic and compelling workplace culture.
He’s published four best-selling books, with a fifth out soon. In his book, On Fire at Work: How Great Companies Ignite Passion in Their People without Burning Them Out, Eric shares what he calls the “Seven Pillars of Employee Engagement,” the things that employees expect and seek out from their employers. It’s what drives engagement and what organizations should focus on to succeed regardless of their industry or company size.
The Seven Pillars of Employee Engagement
In short, Eric’s pillars are:
- Compensation—money, perks, benefits, and work/life balance
- Alignment—meaningful work at a company with values that mirror their own
- Atmosphere—a workplace that provides a safe, upbeat, enjoyable experience
- Growth—opportunities to learn new skills and advance in their careers
- Acknowledgement—feeling appreciated, rewarded, and sometimes even celebrated
- Autonomy—encouragement to think and act independently and make decisions
- Communication—being informed and listened to
Addressing the Pillars
We sat down with Eric and asked him to share insight on these pillars and what managers should consider when addressing each one. Here are the highlights:
“Alignment is important. What does your company stand for? What does it do? Are you a company that’s more about making money or making meaning? What are your specific core values and goals as an organization? Do you articulate that to your employers?”
“The reality is everybody in your organization wants opportunities for growth. You have to be really diligent when it comes to training your people. Train even if that means that learning a new set of skills will cause them to leave, because even if you don’t, they’re going to want to leave anyway. People want to stay where they feel like they’re learning. That could be your competitive advantage. When people are constantly learning, they are constantly growing, and they never feel bored. Build that into your culture.”
“No employee wants to be micromanaged; they want autonomy. Think of the ‘American Dream.’ The dream is to own your own business. And not necessarily to make money, but because people want to call the shots. They don’t want a boss with a finger in their face all day.”
“When it comes to communication, how long does it take for a decision that’s being made in the boardroom to get down to the frontline level? How does communication flow within your organization? Not just top to bottom; how about bottom to top? Giving your employees a voice in the direction of the organization helps them see your goals as their own.”
“I consider acknowledgement to be the most important pillar. Do you give your employees more than paycheck? If they go above and beyond, is there someone there to recognize them and tell them they’ve done a good job? Acknowledgement shouldn’t just be positive. If they fall off track, how are you going to make sure that it gets corrected. You need to carefully lay out expectations and hold them accountable. Reward them when they do a good job and guide them to do a better job. I think that right there is fundamental. It actually surpasses compensation in today’s world.”
Want to learn more?
Watch our webinar on-demand: Ignite Passion in Your People without Burning Them Out
In this 45-minute webinar, Eric Chester will take a deeper dive into the Seven Pillars. He will present real-life examples and tried-and-true practices from organizations that have successfully addressed the needs of employees to achieve a highly engaged workforce.