Designing to Improve Employee Engagement

Anatomy of an Engaged Employee

Employee engagement is a hot topic. Of course, every company wants happy and engaged employees. But what exactly do we mean by "engagement?"

As described by behavioral scientists, engagement consists of both a behavioral component (to what extent is something occurring) and an experiential component (explicitly characterized by attention, interest, and affect).

Additionally, engagement is influenced by form, format, and tonal qualities of the artifacts or media we interact with, as well as our immediate surroundings (e.g., at home, work, or in the checkout line; alone or with others) and individual characteristics (e.g., motivation, expectations). With that in mind, we can classify engagement as a dynamic state that emerges from a person interacting with their environment and the objects and agents within it over time. Read more about the Art & Science of Engagement.

Employee engagement, as defined by Wikipedia, is a fundamental concept in the effort to understand and describe, both qualitatively and quantitatively, the nature of the relationship between an organization and its employees.

An engaged employee is fully absorbed by and enthusiastic about their work and takes positive action to further the organization's reputation and interests.

Anatomy of an Engaged Employee

According to research, a highly engaged workforce has the potential to significantly affect employee retention, productivity, and loyalty; it is also a critical link to customer satisfaction, company reputation, company profitability, and overall stakeholder value. 

So how can employee engagement be influenced through design?  

Any design process needs to address both what strategies can aid sufficient engagement with the target behaviors and actions to affect outcome achievement and what is most likely to change behavior (in terms of intervention functions and behavior change techniques).

At Mad*Pow, understanding the degree to which a person must engage to adequately change behavior is essential in designing interventions. We design for behavior change. The products and services (i.e., interventions) we develop change peoples' behaviors in the real world. These behavioral changes are linked and lead to the broader outcomes our clients are aiming to achieve.

We believe in striving to design interventions that can provide enough exposure to behavior change techniques while minimizing user burden, fatigue, and attrition. 

It is essential to understand your employees and not just their demographics. It's important to understand their emotional experiences, behaviors, triggers, motivations, goals, and the context of the work they're doing on a day-to-day basis. Understanding all of those things on a profound level is integral to employee engagement.

Love it or hate it, people spend most of their lives working. Those working hours include behaviors, tasks, and interactions that all add up to… experiences. How well the Employee Experience (EX) is designed can have far-reaching impacts on delivering products and services to customers, and ultimately, the Client Experience (CX).

Employee experiences are more than just physical environments and HR benefits – they include understanding the unique needs of people who mediate the experiences of others, whether through direct interaction with customers or through behind-the-scenes roles with downstream effects.

Businesses realize there is an increasing need for innovation in EX beyond old-fashioned ideas of satisfaction surveys and such. Successful organizations can no longer expect individual employees to fit into a system. Instead, they must think about transforming the system and becoming more human-centered to support the needs of employees.

At Mad*Pow, we help companies excel by empowering them with the tools and skills to create highly differentiated, human-centric employee experiences.

  • We consider the entire lifecycle of a person's experience, including all their touchpoints, and then find new ways to deliver value.
  • We understand that no design decision can be isolated from its impact on people, infrastructure, policy, and culture. We take the time to factor in potential expectations and emotional needs to create unique and well-designed solutions, which is no easy task.
  • We employ a systematic approach. We help organizations align business strategy with experience strategy by creating a path that emphasizes people's behaviors at the core of operations. Human-centered design activities help identify what motivates your target audience, what they need, and what should happen next in their journey. These insights fuel creative, design-thinking approaches that allow us to envision new, delightful, and exciting experiences collectively.