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Employee Life Cycle Part 10: Deepening Employee Engagement

Paychex HR consultant Margie Bassford examines not only how you can define employee engagement at your business, but also how you can attract and retain an engaged workforce.


Discover more about the employee life cycle:

Part 1: Paying Employees

Part 2: Proper Employee Documentation

Part 3: Human Rights & Discrimination Laws

Part 4: Paid Time Off

Part 5: Employee Behavior & Performance

Part 6: Workplace Safety

Part 7: Employee Handbook Policy

Part 8: Employee Discipline & Termination

Part 9: Attracting & Retaining Talent


We all want hard-working and motivated employees. But it's no small feat to ensure that your workforce is challenged, interested, and connected with their work.

We refer to this as employee engagement, but there is no single defining factor that results in an engaged employee. In fact, the question - what does an engaged employee look like? - is something only you can answer because engaged employees can mean many things to many businesses, such as someone who contributes new ideas, an employee who hits certain productivity metrics, or a worker who uses their skills to contribute to the team's goals.

Although you are responsible for defining employee engagement, there are some similarities shared by the most successful workers across industries.

They provide feedback and suggestions for how to improve your business. They seek new opportunities instead of feeling disgruntled about lack of work. They inspire clients, partners, and coworkers to feel passionate about your mission. And they refer friends and colleagues as potential hires.

No matter what engagement looks like at your business, it's important that you define and communicate expectations. From there, management should take active steps to represent that behavior. Your company's leadership plays a critical role in helping set the tone for how employees approach their work, establish employment mindsets, and find satisfaction in their work.

As we mentioned before, preventing employee turnover starts at the beginning of the employee life cycle. Proper hiring processes are critical to finding employees that fit well with your organization. Communicate your mission or vision clearly to candidates. Be clear about what your company does as well as your values.

And don't underestimate the power of the manager-employee relationship. Train your managers to establish and maintain positive relationships with their direct reports, as well as recognize signs of disengagement. They should proactively address indications an employee may be feeling disconnected before they escalate.

From there, you and your managers should make continuous efforts to keep employees engaged. Consider the following.

Part of employee engagement is a clear career path. Keep professional development opportunities for each position in your organization in mind.

Employees often feel engaged when their contributions, ideas, and efforts are recognized and respected. Ask for feedback and ideas from everyone in the business.

Give employees, both tenured workers and those with less years of experience, opportunities to learn and grow their skills.

And lastly, there's a great deal to learn from employees who leave. Knowing if there is anything that could have been done to make them stay may help your company keep other employees engaged and remain with your organization.

Thanks for watching. To learn more about more aspects of the employee life cycle, please visit

* This content is for educational purposes only, is not intended to provide specific legal advice, and should not be used as a substitute for the legal advice of a qualified attorney or other professional. The information may not reflect the most current legal developments, may be changed without notice and is not guaranteed to be complete, correct, or up-to-date.

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