Drivers of Engagement

The number one reason people leave jobs is because of an ineffective relationship with their manager. People don’t leave companies or their jobs; they leave their managers. Now, this isn’t a universal truth, but it happens 70 percent of the time, as we find in surveys and when we ask people why they leave. People leave because their manager is not utilizing their greatest strengths. They leave because their manager or management does not recognize their contribution. The bottom line is: unwanted employee turnover happens when a manager is disconnected from his or her people and their needs.

Not all people want to be recognized in the same way. To avoid unwanted employee turnover, managers need to understand that everybody is motivated by something different, and they need to find out what motivates, inspires and stimulates their people in a unique manner—then give them what they need. People do things for their reasons, not yours and, in this 21st Century Workforce, the more people are awake and aware of who they are, the more they demand of their boss and the company they work for.

HR research shows that the motivations for people to stay with a company fall under five families of retention, which is shared throughout The Wealth of Talent philosophy materials. These five families are:

  1. Environment

  2. Relationship

  3. Support

  4. Development

  5. Compensation

To mitigate unwanted employee turnover, people need to see a vision for themselves in the companies they work with. Drivers of employee engagement impact employee retention because people chose to stay or go based on what’s important to them as individuals. Employees need to feel aligned with the company; they need to feel engaged and when a manager appeals to their individual drivers of engagement they can derail unwanted employee turnover.

Drivers of engagement

Alignment is the most important result of effectively utilizing and leveraging the drivers of employee engagement, and it goes hand-in-hand with employee retention. When surveyed globally, employees consistently named the same elements that drive and nurture their engagement and encourage them to stay. The most common are:



  1. Confidence in organization’s future (mission/vision)

  2. Promising future for one’s self

  3. Company supports work/life balance

  4. Safety is a priority

  5. Excited about one’s work


  1. Confidence in company’s senior leaders

  2. Satisfied with recognition

  3. CSR efforts increase overall satisfaction

  4. Satisfied with on-the-job training

  5. Manager treats employee with respect and dignity

If you want to reduce the unwanted employee turnover in your department or your company, you need to find out what’s important to your people, as individuals, and what drives them. When you find out what really inspires people—when you find out what’s important to them in a job, in a company and in their work—and you provide that, you accomplish meeting their drivers of engagement and in turn, strengthen employee retention for the people you want to keep.