Fall 2016
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The Engagement Playbook
A tactical use of Jabian’s Engagement Framework is to motivate and inspire individuals.

As managers, we all face critical conversations with our team members. It’s one of the most delicate aspects of the job, but it’s important to keep those you manage motivated and inspired by their work.

Understanding and leveraging Jabian’s Engagement Framework can help you uncover ways to get your employees engaged—and help them stay that way. The Engagement Framework identifies six categories of engagement drivers that leaders can examine to learn more about their employees and their organization. When applied to an individual, adjusting these levers can result in meaningful change.

First, let’s examine the six engagement drivers.


Setting a target and achieving it. Learning something new that can be applied. Hitting a personal best. Each of these experiences signifies a growth milestone. When you recognize employees for these accomplishments, you drive engagement.

  • Looks for increasing status
  • Thrives on accomplishments
  • Values recognition
  • Looks toward what’s next
  • Values learning
How to engage this type of employee
  • Set clear goals and reward their accomplishments
  • Consider a title change and/or changes in responsibility
  • Allow this employee to work on a more visible assignment with increased responsibility
  • Send this employee to training
  • Recognize this employee publicly for their accomplishments
  • Consider them for promotion


Building social relationships is a key driver for workplace happiness and engagement. Fostering opportunities for socialization and connection keeps employees emotionally connected to each other and their teams.

  • Values teamwork and relationship with teammates
  • Desires personal connections and closeness
  • Facilitates trust-building and gaining
  • Wants to socialize with coworkers
  • Values influence rather than authority
How to engage this type of employee
  • Create opportunities for socialization (e.g., happy hour, lunch)
  • Provide budget for socialization
  • Plan team-building exercises
  • Facilitate an open dialogue around personal life
  • Arrange their space to create an environment of collaboration
  • Lead with emotion rather than data and facts


Enabling choice for your employees, for example, allowing them the flexibility to manage their own work, choose their teammates, or vary their working locations.

  • Values independence
  • Needs to control their work
  • Wants to choose their work location, teammates, projects, or assignments
  • Wants to choose when work happens
How to engage this type of employee
  • Set guardrails, but not rules
  • Create opportunities for choice (location/teammate/projects/etc.)
  • Give this employee decision authority
  • Plan together, and avoid prescribing activities or imposing decisions
  • Provide the right tools to help them get the job done as efficiently and effectively as possible


Unfairness and imbalance lead to discouragement and, ultimately, disengagement. Leaders who are mindful of equity in the workplace keep their employees engaged.

  • Monitors themselves and others
  • Tends to measure and compare
  • Creates opportunities to take turns; shares the spotlight and rewards
  • Creates opportunities for others
How to engage this type of employee
  • Be clear in how employees are measured and compared
  • Provide opportunities for feedback
  • Listen to what might feel unfair
  • Post open roles; give all a chance to apply
  • Acknowledge, leverage, and celebrate diversity
  • Make sure policies are clear and fair


Physical and mental wellness directly influence engagement; employees can’t be engaged if they are unhealthy, unhappy, or in pain. A steady pace, including the right amount of rest, relaxation, and fun, reduces stress and promotes holistic wellness.

  • Health
  • Work-life balance
  • Fun and entertaining
  • Steady working pace
  • Aware of own limits
How to engage this type of employee
  • Tie their work back to a meaningful purpose
  • Provide adequate capacity for work to get done
  • Provide a wellness budget
  • Host firm-wide health initiatives
  • Create opportunities for fun
  • Institute flexible leave policies


Employees stay engaged when they feel certain and secure about their future and their environment.

  • Needs to be “in the know”
  • Wants to feel safe and certain about the future
  • Desires clarity and specificity in all aspects
  • Prefers to leave little to chance
How to engage this type of employee
  • Communicate early and often
  • Lead with data and facts
  • Provide opportunities to ask questions
  • Be transparent
  • Create a “safety net” and support network
  • Set and clearly communicate concrete targets
  • Provide frequent feedback and course correction

Each individual will weigh each of these drivers differently. This playbook shows you how to meet your employees where they are in order to retain engagement. These strategies will help you identify how each of your employees, coworkers, or mentees weigh each of the engagement drivers.

Test the Six Engagement Drivers

First, if you’re planning a conversation with an employee to uncover why they seem unhappy or unmotivated, it may be worth testing all six of these areas in the conversation to uncover what is going on. But the most important place to start is with a few questions:

Do you feel like you’re getting things done?

Do you feel like you’re making a difference?

Are you growing and learning?

Do you have good working relationships with team members or clients?

Is your work interfering with your personal relationships?

Is it enhancing your personal life?

Do you have the flexibility you need to manage your work and your life?

Do you have the decision-making authority to make a difference?

Are you able to be assertive in your environment?

Are you able to make your own decisions and set your own course?

Do you feel like you know what is most important to your coworkers?

Do you feel secure with your team and your role?

Are you managing yourself well?

Do you reflect on whether you are focusing on the right things?

Do you feel certain about your long-term prospects with the role you are in?

Are you treated fairly?

Are any issues of fairness bothering you?

Are you sleeping well?

How is the pace of the work?

Are you physically active?

Do you have fun at work and at home?

Apply the Drivers to the Answers

Next, consider how you might apply the drivers, linking them to what your employee might be describing. The playbook’s tips can help bring this employee back to a place of engagement.

These ideas are just a few examples of things that can drive engagement. Using the Engagement Drivers contained within the Jabian Engagement Framework provides leaders and mentors with a useful tool to identify what might engage and motivate their team members. By understanding how each individual is motivated by the Engagement Drivers, leaders can then look to the levers around the outside of the framework to generate ideas to make improvements.

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