Mastering the Seven Drivers of Employee Engagement

A few months into the angst of the COVID pandemic, I had an epiphany.

“Holy cow – 2021 is going to the year of turnover.”

I reasoned that the stress, pain, rapid pace of change and overall misery of the pandemic would be more than many folks could take.

The organizations who reacted poorly to the pandemic would stand to lose a vast quantity of their workforce. The ones who did well would still see a high uptick in turnover rates by employees who simply needed a change of scenery. Only the best leaders would be able to retain their majority of their teams.

Much to my chagrin (sometimes it hurts to be right), my intuition was spot on. I just didn’t realize it would be extreme enough to gain the term “Great Resignation.”

There’s no indication the Great Resignation is letting up. If you want to engage and retain your top talent, you’ll need to do these seven things.

Positive Leader Experience

Members of the team are the ultimate customers. As leaders, our customer service matters. Serve them well, and they’ll stick around.

It’s not about being a “great” boss and avoiding being a “bad” boss. Just like customers can have poor experiences at great companies, the best leaders stay consistent.

As a leader, keep in mind that your personal brand is simply the experience others have with you.


Running a marathon at sprint pace. People quit so the work gets redistributed until people quit. No regard for employee’s time and outside of work boundaries.

Challenging times will come – there’s no avoiding them. But on the best teams, challenge ignites collective effort instead of stressing and burning out the members of the team to the point that they look for other options.

Clear Expectations

Did you ever take an exam in school that had different information than you expected to be on the test? If you received a much lower score than you anticipated, you were probably upset! Did you try to get the score amended? Did you get upset? Did you try a lot less hard next time or give up?

That’s typically how people react when they work hard but the expectations for their work were unclear. Sooner or later they’ll be in for a surprise.

Appropriately Paced Change

People only have so much capacity – especially when it comes to change.

Great leaders are able to decipher what is most important among all that is important – and they plan the work of the team accordingly. Winning three battles is always better than losing ten – especially when you can choose which ones to fight.

Opportunity to Learn & Grow

Most people want to be, do and have more tomorrow than today. But it takes growth process to get there. Top talent always has an eye on the next opportunity. This is a good thing. You don’t want members of the team who coast.

The responsibility for career growth lies with each person, but leaders help by providing opportunities and encouragement.

Sense of Belonging

Have you ever felt out of place on your team? How long did it take before you were looking for a new team to be a part of? There’s a difference between being a member of a team and being a valued member of a team.

Everyone deserves a seat (and a voice) at the table.

Connection to Purpose

It’s like an inquisition: “Here’s OUR purpose – tell us how you connect with it!” Instead of “what contribution are you excited to make here and how can we best support you?”

Organizations are under-equipped to address such high engagement and retention priorities. In fact, we have programs that focus specifically on each of these items.

This article is included in the Leadership-in-a-Box® program:

Engaging & Retaining Teams

Bring Leadership-in-a-Box® to your organization!