The Missing Links in Employee Engagement

The missing links in Employee Engagement

Indeed an interesting article in The Wall Street Journal, but perhaps not so very surprising. I think the article misses one important factor.

During the last 10 years, Motivation Factor has been working with motivation and engagement. We have developed an assessment identifying the individual’s needs and talents, and we measure the level of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in a given organization. Our methodology is integrated into IDG Research’s Employee Engagement survey Motivizion.

Our experience tells:

  • That you are engaged doesn’t automatically mean that you are a top-performer.
  • If you are low on competences and skills, your performance often will be low, even if you feel engaged.
  • If you are high on competences and skills, and low on engagement, you often will be a low performer as well.
  • The highly engaged, highly skilled employee often end up stressed out with a huge work load, because the management tend to place assignments to him or her. For the management that’s the easiest way to make things happen.

As I see it, skills and professional competences is the “missing factor” in this article. It’s the management’s responsibility to hire in highly skilled employees for a given task, and subsequently make sure they are highly engaged.

To illustrate this, we have developed this model:

But high engagement is a complicated thing. Engagement is a combination of three factors:

  • Extrinsic Motivation: Factors such as money, training, work environment, management support, etc. These are reward types which come from outside the individual.
  • Intrinsic Motivation: Factors such as the extent to which your strengths are acknowledged and put into play, the extent to which your personal needs are met, and the extent to which you find purpose and meaning in what you do.
  • Motivation Capability: This key factor is the individual’s own ability to identify what gives and what takes away his or her motivation – and what to do about it.  It is the ability to know what to pursue and what to avoid in order to become or remain highly motivated.  It is the ability to find and actively connect with the personal meaning and purpose in the job or task.

Recent analysis of the data clearly shows that 55% of employees’ overall engagement is derived from or influenced by external motivators, while 45% is derived from or influenced by internal motivation factors and motivation capability.  This indicates that traditional employee engagement initiatives have been addressing little more than half of the engagement question.

In other words, the recipe for Top Performance remains: Hire in skilled people and make sure they are highly motivated and highly engaged.


Ignite your energy, use your best talents and do powerful, purposeful work.

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