The Three Elements of Employee Engagement

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed millions of employees around the world out of their offices and into makeshift home offices as they do their daily work. Around six months into the pandemic, 71 percent of Americans who said their jobs could be done from home were doing their jobs from home.

And because many workers would like to continue working from home at least some of the time, hybrid and remote teams have become the new norm today.

That means a lot of things for workplaces and those who manage them, but one of the most important considerations for remote and hybrid teams is employee engagement. More specifically, how do you keep employees engaged with the work and the company when they’re working from home?

It starts by understanding the employee engagement types. In this article, we’ll address the elements of employee engagement, types of engagement, and the engagement challenges remote and hybrid teams face. Read on to learn more.

What Are the Three Key Elements of Employee Engagement?

To truly understand and increase employee engagement, you need to understand what it’s made of. So, what are the three key components of employee engagement? What makes engagement in the workplace happen? The answer: feedback, recognition, and validation.

1. Feedback

The first component of employee engagement is feedback. Feedback is critical to keeping any employee engaged for the long term. Workers need to know when they’re doing well or falling short, and they need to hear it from someone they believe has their best interests and success at the company in mind.

How remote and hybrid work makes feedback more difficult: Periodic performance reviews and even quick desk-side chats between managers and employees are commonplace in traditional work environments. But in the world of remote work, those chats can sometimes fall by the wayside. The schedule may be too full with other meetings to pencil in performance chats, and there’s no virtual desk for a manager to walk by. Legacy tools for virtual meetings don’t often leave time for spontaneous conversation.

2. Recognition

Feedback is step one, but when it comes to good performance, recognition is the necessary second step to fostering employee engagement. Sincere recognition from a manager — both publicly and privately — goes an incredibly long way in keeping a hybrid or remote employee engaged with their job.

How remote and hybrid work makes recognition more difficult: In the virtual workplace, no one overhears the manager praising the employee or sees the high-five for a job well done. And the meetings that do include all hands usually have an express purpose, one in which public recognition of a single employee’s work may not feel appropriate. Recognition and praise from managers require even more effort than ever before to encourage your employees. 

3. Validation

Validation may sound a little like feedback and recognition, but as it relates to employee engagement types, it’s quite a bit different. To remain engaged, employees need to know that their managers see them as human beings and value them intrinsically. Everything from the morning “How are you?” to the follow-up questions on big life developments contributes to whether a remote or hybrid employee is getting the validation they need to be engaged at work.

How remote and hybrid work makes validation more difficult: Scheduling a meeting to ask how an employee is doing today is awkward and, frankly, not a good use of company time. And hybrid and remote work almost invariably require more meetings to keep everyone on the same page — almost none of which provide many opportunities for managers to validate their employees.

Employee Engagement Types

Hybrid and remote work environments make each of the elements of employee engagement a challenge. But what, exactly, are the employee engagement types that are suffering because of the sudden global shift to remote work?

Cognitive Engagement

Cognitive engagement refers to an employee’s ability to focus on the task at hand. Those who are highly engaged with their work suffer from fewer workday distractions and are more productive.

Emotional Engagement

An emotionally engaged employee is invested in their role and the success of the company they work for. They don’t feel distant from the organization’s goals and fully understand how their everyday work furthers those goals.

Physical Engagement

Physical engagement is about presence — how present does the employee feel while they are working? In other words, does the employee feel that their job is simply happening to them (unengaged) or that they are taking an active role in their job and making moves to further their skills and career (engaged)?

Employee Engagement FAQs

Why does employee engagement matter?

What is it about the three components of employee engagement that matter? One must fully understand these elements to build a company culture and implement measures that support employee engagement to be successful.

What are some ways to recognize remote or hybrid employees for their good work?

There are endless opportunities for how you can virtually recognize an employee for their outstanding work ethic. Some ideas include highlighting them at the end of a virtual meeting with the team, sharing kind words through an email, or sending them a virtual gift card. For more recognition recommendations, read 103 Examples of Workplace Recognition.

Why is it important that employees be engaged at work?

Employee engagement is extremely important to the success of any business. When employees are engaged, they are more likely to exert discretionary effort, perform at their best, and collaborate effectively, and it leads to reduced turnover. 

Preciate: Built To Improve Employee Engagement

Preciate was built to help companies of all shapes and sizes improve work relationships and build a stronger company culture. Despite the difficulties of remote and hybrid work arrangements, the Preciate team has designed our platform to support all employee engagement types.

Our virtual meeting & events platform allows employees to move from group to group within a virtual office to build healthier relationships. Each room can be branded with custom backgrounds and in-room objects to help tell your company story and support your core values, regardless of an employee’s physical location.

Our platform also includes Preciate Recognition, a built-in feature that allows highly visible and customized praise for employees in a team activity feed. Peer-to-peer recognition programs have been proven to be the key to increasing cognitive and emotional engagement. And with improvements to all the standard remote work tools, we address the needs of the modern remote or hybrid workplace.

All of that comes together in one platform designed to increase employee engagement and help companies grow and thrive. Want to learn more? Request a demo of Preciate or contact us today.