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Boosting Employee Engagement

Rebecca Kirkman


Hire Up Staffing & Healthcare Services

June 28, 2021

Several Hire Up blog posts this year have pointed to the power of relationships. Today’s blog will further highlight one of the more important connections you can have within your business. Do you have an idea which connection this might be? Here is a hint…

Simon Sinek is an author and inspirational speaker who said,

“When people are financially invested, they want a return.

When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.”

Today’s post will highlight the importance of proactively working to boost employee engagement. The concept of employee engagement was created in 1990 by Dr. William Kahn, a professor of organizational behavior at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business.  Kahn identified that engaged employees are involved within their organizations on three levels.

Kahn’s three dimensions of employee engagement include:

  • Physical: Perform the daily physical and mental aspects of their job.
  • Cognitive: Understand the meaning and vision of their organization and how their behaviors contribute to those associated overarching goals.
  • Emotional: Trust and buy-in of the organization’s goals, as well as feeling a sense of belonging.

So, how do we take this research and turn it into something that can boost engagement? Here are a few suggestions from a SHRM article, written by Carole Worth, entitled, HR’s Holy Grail: The Engaged Employee. This list is helpful when it comes to creating, sustaining, and/or reinforcing connections with employees.

  1. Create and communicate clear values: Your team needs to know how they can exemplify these values each day through their work and how their work directly impacts the big picture.
  2. Be intentional with building culture: Work to ensure you have tied meaning into recognition and reward programs and that your team knows their efforts will be noticed when appropriate. Rewards are not always monetary. A little recognition can go a long way. Worth shares another useful suggestion, “Empower and encourage workers to recognize one another’s achievements.”
  3. Practice good manager hygiene: One of the most important components to job satisfaction relates to how well employees are managed. We all know the adage, “Employees do not quit jobs, they quit people.” Most often, such “people” are their managers. It is KEY to ensure your management team is walking the walk and talking the talk. Consistency and sincerity build trust, a major component in establishing relationships. Employees want to feel that they are supported and valued by their manager and that they can trust them to have their back.

Hire Up Pro Tips on Boosting Engagement:

Train and Empower Your Managers: Another thing to remember when working to boost employee engagement is not to assume all managers understand the important role they play. Getting managers on the same page when it comes to understanding the traits and behaviors successful people managers possess can be a challenge, however, it is not impossible.

Establish a training and coaching regimen for your management team to learn and grow their strengths. Work to create new processes that encourage the types of behaviors you want to see. Communicate often, seek their perspective, and ask follow-up questions that get them to challenge their current view. Help them to see things in a different way. Create opportunities for your managers to work in various work groups, if possible. A change in environment, if even for a short period of time, can allow for a much-needed perspective shift. Seeing things from another side of the business can be eye-opening and help them to see how their usual role, and that of their team, plays into the rest of the business.

Effective people managers serve as necessary ambassadors of engagement by including their teams in on projects and key initiatives. They ask for feedback often and incorporate team ideas whenever possible. These engagement boosting managers communicate in varied ways, both formally and informally. They are transparent in the sharing of information and critical decisions that directly impact the work of the team. They hold regular meetings to inform and create excitement around company initiatives. They meet individually to coach and motivate the members of their teams in ways most meaningful to the individuals themselves.

Be Generous with Your “Thank You’s”

Showing gratitude to your team is one of the better ways to create a sense of belonging and value. A simple thank you can go a long way, and, if you want it to go even further, be specific. Rather than, “Thanks for the hard work this week, John” you might instead think of one or two specific things John did to make a difference. It might sound more like, “John, I want to thank you for staying late on Tuesday. By you helping to process that order before opening of business on Wednesday, you directly impacted our overall sales and we beat plan! Thank you so much!”

John may smile and shrug it off as no big deal, however, your direct and specific thank you can have lasting positive effects for John as well as the organization. John likely feels seen, valued, and appreciated. Sincere appreciation shows a sign of respect. Because John feels appreciated and respected, he may be more inclined to share an idea or a solution to a problem he has noticed. He may also speak highly of his workplace and encourage friends and family to apply. These types of responses are direct examples of behavior from an engaged employee.

The Ripple Effect

The ripple effects of an engaged employee can be seen for miles. Happy employees have less performance and attendance issues. They are engaged and committed to the work they do every day. They enjoy the value they bring and feel appreciated for their efforts. Happy and engaged employees mean less money spent having to replace the unhappy ones.

Happy customers are made because of happy employees. A happy customer will stay loyal to a company because of its service and the people they have representing it. Happy customers make for repeat business and word-of-mouth referrals. Engaged employees often create engaged and loyal customers who are interested in your business and want to see it succeed.

Creating a positive work culture means there is a focus on including and involving people-both customers and employees alike. By bringing people together in a way that allows them to truly see a human side to the business, organizations build valuable and lasting connections. Appreciation, communication, and recognition, are key components to boosting engagement, and therefore, creating a culture that people want to be a part of.

Do you need help finding manager candidates who understand how to assist with building employee engagement? Call us. We have management candidates from a variety of industries who just may be exactly what your organization needs. Call your local Hire Up office. We can help.


There is no doubt that 2021 will bring forth opportunities with which to leverage new and emerging employment trends. Follow the Hire Up Staffing & Healthcare Services Blog to stay connected with a variety of topics aimed to help support you! Whether you are an active job seeker looking for tips and tricks to land your perfect job or an employer looking to fill a challenging position, we are here to help you HIRE UP!



HR’s Holy Grail: The Engaged Employee (

Rebecca Kirkman | President | June 28, 2021

Rebecca Kirkman is the President and Founder of Hire Up Staffing & Healthcare Services. Rebecca’s mission is as simple today as it was when she started Hire Up over 10 years ago: Connecting great Employers with great Employees. Hire Up leads job seekers to their dream careers and employers to their dream team. The true belief in the human connection and that people hire people is a true passion for every Hire Up employee. Rebecca was proudly named the #1 Woman-Owned Business by The Business Journal.