Maintaining levels of employee engagement in an economic downturn is a challenge.  While organisations who invest in their employees are successful, they often struggle to engage and retain their star performers. 

What differentiates successful and ineffective employee engagement strategies?


Much of the research on employee engagement (MacLeod & Clarke 2009), point to factors that engage talent: an interesting work environment, a voice in decisions, and clear career path are some of the top priorities.  The MacLeod review suggests that managers consistently fail to meet the expectations of their employees with regards to feedback, defining ‘success’ and decision-making inclusion. 


Many organisations reward their top talent with monetary compensation, arguably failing to understand or address the real drivers for this population. Whilst there is no quick fix solution, understanding what drives and motivates talent is critical to successful engagement.  Below, are six steps for companies can use as a framework to engage their talent:


1.       Define what talent looks like in your organisation and make it measurable.

2.        Ask the talent pool about their interests, motivations and driving factors (this can be implemented through an engagement survey, focus groups, one-on-one with a manager or coach).

3.       Act on that feedback and make the process transparent.

4.       Communicate the vision with employees, and give feedback on how they progress.

5.       Embed performance management and include it within managerial objectives.

6.        Review and manage performance expectations on a regular basis, identify skill gaps and succession plans so that companies can hold onto their talent and offer them a clear progression.


What is the first step?  Identify your talent, then take the time establish what motivates and engages them!