Updated: July 19, 2022

Employee Engagement Framework Guide

This is our guide to employee engagement framework.

Frameworks create a roadmap that help organizational leaders improve workplace conditions and elicit top performances from employees. The frameworks on this list help higher management foster a more passionate, committed, and connected workforce.

These models align with employee engagement best practices and employee engagement strategy, and many of these ideas are present in books on employee engagement and employee engagement campaigns.

This guide covers:

  • What is an employee engagement framework?
  • What are the types of employee engagement framework?
  • How do you implement an employee engagement framework?

Here is what you need to know.

What is an employee engagement framework?

Employee engagement framework is a model for motivating and influencing staff. Frameworks break down the act of employee engagement into basic, easy-to-understand concepts. By laying out all the components of a plan, leaders can better understand the elements and visualize solutions. These outlines provide a step-by-step guide to improving the organization. Think of engagement framework like the instructions for building IKEA furniture, only with way less Swedish and no loose screws leftover at the end.

Frameworks provide structure to your plan of action. Once you choose or design a framework, you can select employee engagement activities that suit your group’s needs.

What are the types of employee engagement framework?

Many different types of employee engagement framework exist. Some of the most common include:

  • employee engagement action planning framework
  • employee engagement conceptual framework
  • employee engagement theoretical framework
  • employee engagement management competency framework
  • employee engagement measurement framework
  • employee engagement survey framework

We will explain each kind of framework in more detail in this section.

Employee engagement action planning framework

An employee engagement action plan is a framework that companies use to identify roadblocks and implement solutions. Typically, these plans begin into an investigation into the cause of potential underperformance. Leaders use questions to guide the proposed course of action. These questions might include:

  • Why do we use this system?
  • Is there a better way to perform this task?
  • Are we practicing what we preach?
  • How can we best embody the organization’s mission and values?
  • How are we communicating? Could we improve the quality, frequency, or method of our conversations?
  • What obstacles might be inhibiting our creativity?
  • How can we improve relationships between staff and management?
  • How can we foster an environment of inclusion?
  • What are the gaps in our points of view or perspectives? How can we proceed to narrow these gaps?
  • What can we do to support and empower our employees?

An effective action framework focuses on one subject at a time. Leaders who complete the initial assessment can use the answers to those questions to guide the change. The best plans rely on a few key acts with measurable outcomes. As leaders introduce the shifts, they should observe results and alter course as necessary.

From start to finish, an employee engagement action framework looks as so:

Choose an issue -> Ask a question -> Investigate -> Review findings -> Brainstorm -> Narrow ideas -> Enact solution -> Observe ->Adapt -> Repeat

Employee engagement conceptual framework

Employee engagement conceptual framework overlaps somewhat with employee engagement factors. Conceptual framework outlines different components of employee engagement and aims to show how these elements can affect staff’s ambition, effort, and enthusiasm.

To draw a clearer picture, you can simplify the factors of employee engagement into a few categories.

  • Goal setting: This category covers both personal and organizational goals. High performance depends on employees understanding the objectives of a project or of the organization as a whole. Clear expectations and instructions pave the way for employees to achieve great results. Believing in and connecting with the company’s mission statement provides further momentum. Also, a team member should be able to set professional goals. By supporting the individual’s growth and development, teammates, leaders, and the company compel the employee towards greater effort and enthusiasm.
  • Autonomy:People tend to be more passionate about tasks they choose. Autonomy is an important element of workplace engagement. Having a say makes employees feel more like contributors than subordinates. Not to mention, when companies defer to a team member’s expertise and judgment, the employee gains confidence and can more freely express creativity. Autonomy can come in the form of allowing teammates to choose projects, teammates, approaches, working hours or environments, perks and benefits, causes, and recreational activities. Providing freedom allows employees to design environments in which they can thrive
  • Contribution: Nobody wants to feel like a cog in a machine. Folks want purposeful work, and part of what makes work worthwhile is the feeling that individual contributions play an important role in the organization’s success. Clarifying teammate responsibilities and explaining the function of the role in relation to the bigger picture can help employees understand the value of their work. Employer and peer recognition also helps employees find meaning in their jobs.
  • Relationships: Relationships are a strong driver of workplace engagement. Humans are social creatures, and the desire to belong and maintain social ties can influence workers towards teamwork, dependability, and high productivity. Plus, getting along with coworkers makes a more pleasant work experience. To bolster at-work relationships, you can plan team building games.

By breaking down the process of employee engagement into individual concepts, you can focus your efforts in the areas that need the most attention.

Employee engagement theoretical framework

This framework centers around employee engagement theory, or the idea that employers must present the conditions that enable and motivate employees to do the best job possible. The approach often relies on the work of psychologists, consultants, and other business experts to explain the importance of employee engagement.

One of the most trusted authorities on the subject is William Kahn, who published important work on employee engagement in the early 1990’s. Kahn’s theory asserts that there are three main components to employee engagement: meaningfulness, safety, and availability.

  1. Meaningfulness means that an employee finds value and purpose in an organization’s mission and that the employee believes he or she has an important role in the mission’s success.
  2. Safety means that an employee feels comfortable sharing opinions and behaving naturally without fearing any negative consequences.
  3. Availability means that an employee feels capable mentally, physically, technically, and emotionally to perform the expected duties.

For optimal engagement, all three elements must exist. To raise engagement, leaders can create environments that encourage meaningfulness, safety, and availability.

While there are other theories that relate to employee engagement, Khan’s is one of the most popular and provides the basis for many initiatives.

Check out this guide to employee engagement theory.

Employee engagement management competency framework

Employee engagement management competency framework describes abilities needed to interface successfully with staff and unlock employee’s true potential. Capabilities include:

  1. Conflict resolution: Occasionally, workplace disagreements will occur. How managers navigate those conflicts influences an employee’s commitment to the company and sense of wellbeing. Leaders must practice tact and good judgment, considering all parties’ perspectives yet acting in a manner that is both consistent with company policy and considerate of employee welfare. Feeling heard, safe, supported, and shielded from injustice will empower employees to do their best work.
  2. Team building: Employee engagement depends not only on the worker-manager relationship, but also on the bonds between colleagues. An effective leader fosters connections between teammates so that workers possess a strong and functional support system.
  3. Championing development: Employees want bosses who encourage their growth by offering advice and guidance, presenting learning and advancement opportunities, and supporting the employee’s professional goals.
  4. Integrity: Managers should lead by example. A leader who shows compassion and consideration for teammates, treats individuals with respect and kindness, carves out time to help, displays level-headedness and positivity, values teamwork, and makes outstanding efforts will spur employees to adopt the same behavior.
  5. Expertise and instruction: Good leaders have a wealth of industry knowledge and stay up to date on organizational news. Great leaders know how to convey this information to employees clearly and concisely. Solid communication from management can remove friction and boost employee confidence.

Though there are other qualities that help leaders inspire and motivate employees, the points on the list above are the most influential.

Employee engagement measurement framework

There are many ways you can measure the levels of employee engagement within your organization. One of the best ways to gauge engagement is through a survey, which we will discuss in more detail in the next section. Organizations commonly employ pulse engagement, a strategy that distributes quick and frequent surveys to regularly estimate employee sentiment.

Other methods to measure engagement include focus groups, one-on-one evaluations, entrance and exit interviews, consultant assessments, retention rates, and productivity metrics.

Whatever tactic you use to measure engagement, you should develop a framework to use as an outline. The basic steps to managing employee engagement are as follows:

  • Set a goal: To measure the influence of your compain, you must understand the target. By setting an objective, you can determine to what extent you reached your aim.
    1. Develop traceable metrics: When you know your desired end result, you can devise ways to measure your success. Viewing engagement as a zero sum game with a yes or no answer to the question “did we engage employees?” leaves no room for improvement. Instead, you can develop quantifiable metrics like net promoter score, retention rates, offer acceptance rates, survey scores, and program participation percentages to more accurately assess your growth and identify further growth opportunities.
    2. Decide on timelines: Once you know what you will measure, the next step is to figure out how long and how often you will measure. You should set a timeline for your campaign and set a schedule to periodically evaluate your progress.
  • Communicate the specifics: You are not the sole decider of your initiative’s success. Your colleagues and superiors will assist, observe, and judge the efforts as well. To ensure all parties are on the same page, you should communicate the specifics, including goals, metrics, methodology, and motivations. If your associates understand your standards, then you will be able to get a more accurate read on the situation.
  • Observe and analyze effects: Throughout the campaign you should observe the impact your methods have on productivity, morale, and employee sentiment. While watching the effect, you should revisit your goal and make sure that the changes you see align with your overall objectives.
  • Revise your approach: A dynamic employee engagement campaign adapts to fit the circumstances. By introducing variables and experimenting with different approaches, you can optimize your time and efforts. While measuring and observing the changes in your organization, you should remain flexible and open-minded and revise your approach as necessary to better accommodate your group’s needs.

Measuring your employee engagement campaign is an ongoing act, and will not always be linear. You can return to previous steps or repeat the process as necessary.

Employee engagement survey framework

Employee engagement survey best practices anchor this framework. When crafting a questionnaire, you should keep the survey short to ensure answering takes no more than 15 minutes or so. Questions should be straightforward, use uncomplicated language, and reveal no bias. When writing your survey, you should have a specific goal in mind. Employee engagement surveys can measure many components such as predicted retention rates, communication efficiency, and teamwork. To avoid monopolizing too much of your colleague’s time or losing the staff’s attention, you should limit the length of your questionnaire. For maximum impact, you should select your questions carefully and with a specific purpose. Participation levels may drop if you send out too many surveys, so you should pick a target to focus on, particularly an avenue of improvement you are willing to explore.

Sample employee engagement survey topics:

  • Company culture
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Working hours and environment
  • Leadership
  • Training and development

To encourage honesty, all answers should remain anonymous.

With these rules in mind, you can start a dialogue with your colleagues.

For ideas, check out this list of employee engagement survey questions.

How do you implement an employee engagement framework?

To implement an employee engagement framework, first find the model that best suits your organization’s needs and work styles. The best way to decide on an approach is to research to find the gaps in the current system and create engagement goals. Surveying employees for feedback can be an effective tool for finding potential areas of improvement.

Once you decide on the framework to try, talk with leadership and come up with a plan with clear steps. Design a campaign with a timeline and create a rubric to measure results. Roll out the process in phases, and be sure to monitor and measure progress as the project is underway. Adjust the approach as necessary. Once the framework has been fully enacted, assess the success and write up a report. Many frameworks are ongoing and may become permanent parts of your business operations.

Final Thoughts

Though employee engagement frameworks might seem complicated at first glance, these devices actually simplify the process of providing the conditions necessary for every worker to thrive. By breaking down the approach into distinct elements, leaders can more easily understand all components of an issue and develop a reasonable and actionable plan that achieves results.

For more tips, check out these lists of employee engagement ideas, employee experience books and company culture books.

We also have a list of statistics and facts on employee engagement.

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Marketing Coordinator at teambuilding.com.
Team building content expert. Angela has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and worked as a community manager with Yelp to plan events for businesses.

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