Employee Engagement: The Key to Success

Employee engagement is a valuable resource for attaining a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Indeed, the consequences of a lack of engagement are quite costly. According to a Gallup survey (2017)[1] , the lack of employee engagement in the United States is estimated to cost between 500 and 600 billion in lost productivity. In addition, only 67% of employees feel engaged at work.

Fortunately, order to maintain a high level of employee engagement, businesses do have some great tools at their disposal.

Organizing work

Indeed, according to Parker (2017)[2], new forms of work organization offer an approach that has a positive impact on employee engagement. Particularly, a team structure that allows full autonomy to members to organize themselves would increase engagement. Giving employees the opportunity to work with a level of interdependence would also lead to a more organic structure, contributing to increased engagement.

The matrix team is an example. Employees in highly matrixed teams would have a 22% higher level of engagement than non-matrixed employees. This rate would also be 16% higher than low matrix teams. Working in matrix teams improves the “employee experience” and the feeling of being supported by the organization and colleagues.


Culture management has also brought great success to companies such as Pixar, Google, Walmart and IKEA (Cameron, 2011)[3]. Culture is a powerful tool as it is transformational and has an impact on employee engagement. Also, leveraging one’s organizational culture can grow total motivation (MoTo) (McGregor, 2015)[4]. MoTo would maximize positive motivators such as meaning, play and potential. At the same time, it would also minimize negative motivators such as emotional pressure, economic pressure, and inertia. Studies have shown that companies with high MoTo scores on employee satisfaction surveys had higher customer satisfaction and revenue growth (McGregor, 2015)[5].

Transformational leadership

Transformational leadership has been associated with several positive organizational outcomes associated with engagement (Ng, 2016)[6]. Charisma, vision, challenging the status quo, bringing people together, empowering them, motivating them, and managing their talents…. These are all key behaviors of transformational leadership (Tremblay, 2018)[7]. The most effective leaders are those who do not seek to dominate, quite the opposite! They ensure that everyone is involved and that there is a diversity of opinions. They also build trust with employees and reduce barriers. Leaders are interested in what their team members have to say and can facilitate discussion by asking open-ended questions (Cable, 2018)[8]. They are able to have individual consideration for their employees.

In conclusion…

The three elements mentioned above are organizational performance axes (Burke – Litwin, 1992)[9]. They are not to be taken lightly since they require diving underwater to manage them. These axes also need to be well adapted to the needs of the organization and its employees. The effective management of these axes represents an enormous advantage for organizations that wish to stand out and increase the commitment of their employees.


By Andrée Mantha, M.Sc., ICP-AHR, CHRP

HR Blog Editor – Iceberg Management

[1] Gallup, (2017). « State of the American Workplace », Washington, USA, 214 p. En ligne: https://news.gallup.com/reports/199961/7.aspx
[2] Parker, Sharon K., (2017). « One Hundred Years of Work Design Research: Looking Back and Looking Forward », The Journal of applied psychology, vol. 102, no. 3, p. 403-420
[3] Gallup, (2017). « State of the American Workplace », Washington, USA, 214 p. En ligne:https://news.gallup.com/reports/199961/7.aspx
[4] Cameron, Kim S; Quinn, Robert E (2011). « Diagnosing and changing organizational culture: based on the competing values framework », 3rd edition, Jossey-Bass, 268 p.
[5] Mcgregor, Lindsay et Neel Doshi (2015). How Company Culture Shapes Employee Motivation. Harvard Business Review. Récupéré de : https://hbr.org/2015/11/how-company-culture-shapes-employee-motivation
[6] Ng, Thomas W.H (2016). « Transformational leadership and performance outcomes: Analyses of multiple mediation pathways », The Leadership Quarterly, vol.28, p. 385-417
[7] Tremblay, Michel, (2018). 6-370-14 Pratiques de gestion des ressources humaines et mobilisation, Séance 9 : Les leviers organisationnels de la mobilisation : levier leadership (12 novembre 2018), HEC Montréal.
[8] Cable, Dan, (2018). « Why People Lose Motivation — and What Managers Can Do to Help », Harvard Business Review, En ligne : https://hbr.org/2018/03/why-people-lose-motivation-and-what-managers-can-do-to-help
[9] Burke, W. W., &Litwin, G. H. (1992). « A causal model of organizational performance and change », Journal of Management, 18(3), 523-545.