4 C’s Of A Culture with Strong Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is a relatively new term in the business world that can trace its origin to a study by William Kahn in the late 1980s. Kahn studied two different organizations, a summer camp and an architectural firm, to see how engaged the employees were and the reasons behind it. Despite its recency, it is a hot topic in the business world; as it should be.

Companies with cultures of high engagement had a minimum of 24% lower turnover according to Gallup. In this day and age, when employee loyalty is down, high engagement is a shining star.

Having a culture of strong employee engagement will not happen on its own, but you can turn the tide by working on these four C’s.

1. Clarity

Companies with high employee engagement have incredible clarity around a few key areas. The areas they are clear about are mission, vision, and core values.

A mission outlines what the company ultimately there to do, and answers the question “why does this company exist?” The reason this is important is that your team members want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. According to Gallup, 83% of people say it is “very important” for them to believe that their life is meaningful or has a purpose. It is important for their workplace to reflect this.

Clear vision lets the team members know where it is the organization is going. If there is no clarity of vision, employees won’t feel that what they are doing matters, and won’t know if they are headed in the right direction.

Core values communicate how you’re going to get to the end result of your vision. If one of your core values is customer first, this tells you what you that you are not going to put the customer second. Understanding your customer is first, helps to act as a filter in your decision making.

2. Care

While having an effective boss is not the only driver for engagement, it is an important one. Aon’s research shows that having a connected boss and connected senior leadership is critical for a company to have high engagement.

I remember a story of someone I was working with that was incredibly discouraged at work. The conversations were based on constant challenges they were experience based on their boss not caring for them.

In a turn of events, the employee got a new boss who was highly engaged, and the person became much more passionate about their role and their productivity increased.

When an employee has a boss who cares for them, it is much less likely that the employee will want to change companies. Richard Branson has said that “Clients do not come first; employees come first. If you take care of the employees, they will take care of your clients.”

3. Coaching

The desire for professional development is very strong in people. They don’t want to just “do a job,” they want to improve themselves so they can grow. Look at the findings from Gallup on millennials’ desire for professional development.

An impressive 87% of millennials rate “professional or career growth and development opportunities” as important to them in a job… and 69% on non-millennials do the same.

Coaching is a great avenue to provide for the professional development of your people. Though you will need to find your own rhythm, these coaching conversations typically happen 2-4 times per month.

Whether you use a coaching company or empower your managers and directors to do it personally, coaching is key to the future success of your organization. If you want to ensure that your team of employees remains motivated to come to work, you have to keep investing in them!

4. Celebration

When a team member does a good job, they should be celebrated and recognized. This helps to put to bed the question “do they even notice my work?”

Recognition and rewards are the number one driver of employee engagement globally, according to Aon’smost recent comprehensive global study. Companies that have good cultures of recognition have a 31% lower voluntary turnover rate.

The rewards do not need to be expensive. Simply recognizing someone’s hard work publicly, sending a handwritten card, or taking them to lunch can go a long way.

Now that you have an understanding of the 4 C’s of employee engagement, choose one or two areas where your organization or department needs to change. Once you know which areas to work on, secure buy-in from senior leadership, as they are critical to the engagement process.

What is one area of engagement you want to improve on in your company?


There can be a myriad of things trying to get our attention, and consequently pulling us away from the things we want to accomplish.

Over the last few years, I have set many personal and professional goals. My personal goals usually revolve around my key relationships and family goals, while my professional ones are around developing the people and organizations I lead.

I have had seasons where I was failing at accomplishing most of my goals. While I had clarity around what I wanted to accomplish, I was failing on execution. Then a solution came.

While on the phone one day, someone told me that there were some goals if accomplished would help you accomplish many other goals. So instead of focusing on dozens of goals, we can accomplish more if we have just a few goals.

1. Personal:

Is there one goal personally that if accomplished, will help you accomplish your other important goals?

For instance, eating healthy will help you with your fitness and health goals. Another benefit is that you may eat out less, which will help you achieve your financial goals.

For me, my one goal that helps accomplish many others is waking up early. If I wake up hours before the rest of the house, it helps me accomplish my goals in the areas of faith, health, and my coaching business. In fact, I am writing this post while the rest of the house is sleeping.

2. Organizational:

You have probably seen a company or department have ten to fifteen goals they are trying to accomplish this year. So how many of those get achieved? Very few.

Look at the findings of the Franklin Covey group shared in the book  The Four Disciplines of Execution:

If a team focuses on two or even three goals beyond the demands of their whirlwind, they can often accomplish them. However, if they set four to ten goals, our experience has been that they will achieve only one or two. They’ll be going backward! If they go after eleven to twenty goals in addition to the whirlwind, they’ll lose all focus. Confronted with so many goals the team members will stop listening let alone executing. Why is this so? The fundamental principle at work in Discipline 1 is that human beings are genetically hardwired to do one thing at a time with excellence.

The book also stresses that organizations should only attempt to achieve one or two wildly important goals (WIG) at a time.

The less you do, the more you can do with excellence. If you focus on just a one or two wildly important goals in your life and business, you will get more done, by focusing on less.

What is your wildly important goal in your personal and professional life?