Most employees have one or two primary engagement drivers.

By leveraging these primary engagement drivers, managers can get a better understanding of who their employee is and what brings them to work each day. In knowing this, they have an opportunity to work with their employee on strategies that better fit the individual and thus improve their engagement.

5 types of Engagement Drivers


Fun and respect refers to the social relationships cultivated in the workplace. Meaningful relationships and respect are what define a happy work environment for this employee. Friendships at the office increase their engagement and respect from their peers and managers keeps them productive. They are driven by social support and may seek ways to further team relationships by organizing teambuilding activities.

How Managers Can Use This: An employee who is looking for a fun and respectful work environment is a great asset for team building. To engage this employee, consider asking them to help with collaborative projects.


What defines work and life balance varies from person to person according to the demands of their personal lives. Essentially, a work-life balance consists of a successful interaction between the differing components of an employee’s life that are necessary to satisfy their needs. In this view, work and life are not separate spheres, but rather a harmonious intertwining.

How Managers Can Use This: The employee who seeks a work/life balance needs your understanding. Show this employee that you understand their life needs and try to be flexible in accommodating them (within reason). The great thing about this type of employee is that they are usually still willing to do their best work so long as they can accommodate their personal lives.


Recognition is defined as the drive to have one’s achievements, efforts and personal accomplishments acknowledged. Validation makes a person feel good. It helps them to feel more accepted and secure, as well as more comfortable within themselves. Through recognition, they can feel as though they are venerated, valued and desirable. The motivation for recognition often stems from a desire to have a positive impact on the world. In this way, those who seek recognition may do so from a need to know that they are making a difference.

How Managers Can Use This: This employee works hard but is easily discouraged if their efforts aren’t noticed. This type of employee might seem needy, but they are also extremely hard workers. If they know they can get your approval they will work hard for you.


sense of accomplishment is defined by the desire to set consistently and meet high standards of achievement. This desire is motivated by a drive to satisfy the expectations of others and a need to succeed. People who are driven by this are rewarded with feeling as though they have contributed in a meaningful way, which begets their feeling of accomplishment. Even small successes positively influence how these individuals feel and perform. Because of this, they are willing to put out an intense amount of effort over an extended period in the pursuit of their desires.

How Managers Can Use This: For this employee being challenged and being successful are the most important things. To help ensure that this employee can achieve, be sure to give them projects that while challenging, don’t exceed their capabilities.


Being driven by career development, usually indicates that the employee is someone who is working for where they can go tomorrow not where they are today. They have a plan for their career and intend to see it through. They often keep up with industry publications, news and the latest books related to their field. In their drive to develop their career they are motivated by several different factors: moving ahead, feeling secure, being stimulated and gaining independence.

How Managers Can Use This: Motivate this type of employee by showing them how the work they’re doing now will contribute to their future. You can further engage this employee by providing resources and opportunities for them to learn and expand their skills.

Getting to know what drives your employees will help you build a foundational relationship with them so that together, you can create engagement. Remember, every employee is an individual and has different needs and desires. When you get to know your employees as distinctive people, you are better able to work with them to co-create engagement.

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