Employee Engagement

Understanding the Four Enablers of Employee Engagement

4 enablers of engagement

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During their research and establishment, Engage for Success could not find a ‘One Size Fits All’ approach for employee engagement, but noticed four key common factors that need to be addressed. They called these elements ‘The Four Enablers’ and used them as pillars for companies to integrate their current outlook toward employee engagement.

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What are the Four Enablers of Engagement?

Engage for Success state that the 4 enablers of engagement are Strategic Narrative, Engaging Managers, Employee Voice, and Integrity. But how can these categories engage your employees and leverage innovation?

Strategic Narrative

Creating a Strategic Narrative allows your employees to see where you have been, what you’ve achieved, and where you plan to go. MacLeod states that these narratives need to be ‘A story that helps your people feel they belong in the organization and makes them want to stay. A story that involves your people in the next chapter. A story that brings meaning and purpose to people’s working lives’[1]. Your strategic narrative should be an essential part of creating a community within your workplace, it will play an important role in how the culture of your office is formed, and how it will grow as more people enter the organization.

If this narrative is not engaging for your employees, then they will not invest their time into the growth of the business. If this narrative does not give your employees a clear vision of the future, then they may be hesitant to stay as this may create doubt about their potential within your organization. Instead, this narrative, like your company values, needs to be seen in the day-to-day workings of the office. If you state that in the future you’re looking to expand, invest time in hearing what your employees think is the best way to go about future endeavors. This creates a unified vision across your organization that will be visible to your customer base.

Engaging Managers

4 enablers of engagement: engaging managers

Employee engagement is not something that can be handled solely through the implementation of new systems and processes and does not apply solely to low-level staff. MacLeod and Clarke noticed that within companies that had high levels of employee engagement, there were also engaging managers. According to Engage for Success, these managers ‘focus their people and give them scope, treat their people as individuals and coach and stretch their people’[2].

An engaged manager will invest the time to see how best to support each member of their team. This demonstrates to employees that they are seen as individuals working towards a collective. This will decrease the feeling of exclusion that can be attributed to lack of recognition, meaning that employees will feel more confident within the workplace and thus more likely to contribute to wider issues.

Employee Voice

4 enablers of engagement: employee feedback

A survey can tell you how your employees are feeling at a moment in time but does not give them constant methods to express why they are feeling that way. Focusing on this single point in time closes channels of communication, which can leave your employees unheard and disengaged. Engage for Success define employee voice as when an organization understands that its people are ‘central to the solution, to be involved, listened to, and invited to contribute their experience, expertise and ideas’[3]. An employee’s voice is not necessarily about what they have to say, but rather giving them the opportunity to say them and demonstrating a willingness to listen.

The reaction to your employees’ voice is integral to any attempts to achieve engagement. If there are methods in place for employees to present ideas but there is fear of retribution, then they will not speak up. Not all employee feedback will be positive, and management needs to be ready to collaborate and engage with their employees in response as negative feedback offers an opportunity to evaluate and adjust policies, processes, or the environment. Thus, an employee’s voice can be the catalyst for change in your organization.


The integrity of your company is essential to engaging your employees, especially if you’re asking them to contribute to your business transformation. Personnel Today wrote ‘If an organization’s values are not reflected in day-to-day behaviors of managers or colleagues then it will be interpreted as a corporate spin exercise and will not be trusted by employees’[4], and as previously discussed in our blog focused around disengagement and innovation trust in management is a major contributor to disengagement.

One way to ensure that your organization’s values are reflected throughout your business model is to create a space in which your employees can feedback, giving them a voice on wider company issues. Alongside this, there needs to be a level of transparency when handling this feedback. Processes need to be created where employees can see how their feedback has progressed and how management has decided to act on them.

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How to use The Four Enablers of Engagement

Approaching all 4 enablers of engagement might seem like a daunting task for your organization, but understanding that these four principles intersect and overlap constantly; one cannot happen without the other, will create a domino effect for your efforts. The smallest change such as approaching innovation from a company-wide perspective rather than a top-down initiative will cause the first tile to fall.

Putting innovation management software in place can be a good way of encouraging employee engagement and giving your people a voice.


[1] https://engageforsuccess.org/strategic-narrative
[2] https://engageforsuccess.org/engaging-managers
[3] https://engageforsuccess.org/employee-voice
[4] https://www.personneltoday.com/hr/four-key-enablers-to-employee-engagement/

FAQs for Four Enablers of Engagement

What are the four drivers of engagement in MacLeod and Clarke’s model?

The 4 enablers of engagement identified by MacLeod and Clarke are:

  • Strategic narrative
  • Engaging managers
  • Employee voice
  • Integrity.

Why is employee engagement important?

According to research by Gallup, ‘highly engaged business units realize a 41% reduction in absenteeism and a 17% increase in productivity’.

The cost of a disengaged workforce is real and includes increased sickness absence, reduced productivity, and poor customer experiences. However, an engaged and empowered workforce is productive, happy, and thriving to achieve organizational goals.

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