The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently reviewed current trends in federal employee engagement. By analyzing data from Federal Employee Viewpoint Surveys conducted between 2006 and 2014, the GAO developed a list of the six practices federal employees identified as the strongest drivers of employee engagement. Though the exact results of the study are specific to the federal government, the list is one that all organizations, private or public, large or small, could draw from to improve their culture of employee engagement. The six key drivers (in order) are as follows:
1. Constructive performance conversations.
This was identified as the strongest engagement driver in the GAO study. Regular feedback that is candid and constructive proves critical in helping employees understand the greater goals of an organization, as well as maximize their own contributions to those goals.
2. Career development and training.
More than ever, employees see their jobs as opportunities to develop their skills for use in their lives outside of work, as opposed to just using them for advancement in the workplace. Employees who are offered these opportunities in their jobs have a higher chance of being engaged.
3. Work-life balance.
Supervisors who understand and support employees’ need to balance other life issues alongside work were identified as key to employee engagement. Workplace policies around telecommuting, as well as child and elder-care resources, contribute to this driver as well.
4. Inclusive work environment.
This driver includes elements such as a supervisor’s ability to work well with employees of different backgrounds, as well as organization-wide strategies to promote opportunity and understanding in the workplace.
5. Employee involvement.
Employees were found to have higher levels of engagement if they felt that they had ownership and influence in office decision making. Two-way communication between management and employees is thus an important factor.
6. Communication from management.
Similar to employee involvement, this driver is concerned with the regular and timely communication of information from management to employees about what is going on in the organization.