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Charleston Business

Employee engagement isn’t about the perks

Nov 05, 2018 09:31AM ● By Kathleen Maris
By Doug Claffey

So it’s all about the perks at great organizations, right?

I get this question all the time. Espresso machines, massage chairs, and free yoga classes. Surely this makes the difference between a top workplace and just an average workplace, right? Not so fast.

Back in 2006, we set out to determine what truly matters most to employees in the workplace, what engages them, and what sets healthy organizations apart from the rest. Since then, we’ve surveyed more than 50,000 organizations representing well over 17 million employees across the United States. We’ll survey at least another 2.5 million this year alone.

What we discovered — and what our research has proven time and time again — is that it’s not about bring-your-dog-to-work day. It’s not about great benefits. Or not even as much about your manager, the training you’ve received, or even your work/life balance. These are what we call the “Me” factors. And while the WIIFM bucket — the what’s-in-it-for-me — is important and necessary, it’s simply not enough to create a top workplace.

Healthy organizations know it’s the “We” that matters most. We’re talking about:

· Alignment: People working alongside each other toward common goals and with a common purpose.

· Effectiveness: Getting things done the right way.

· Connection: People feel appreciated, their work is meaningful, and they are well informed.

In other words, the We is about cultivating an environment where employees know where the organization is headed, how it will get there, and a strong belief that everyone is in it together. These We factors are at the heart of organizational health.

So how do you know what matters most to your organization’s employees?

Ask them. A reliable, anonymous employee engagement survey will pinpoint where your organization excels, where it falls short, and where you can make an immediate, positive impact on employee engagement. There isn’t a more accurate way to gauge what’s really happening in your organization—and what truly matters most to your employees.

The good news is that unleashing potential does not require a dramatic increase to pay, perks, or benefits. And I can guarantee…it’s not all about the perks.

Doug Claffey is CEO of Energage, a Philadelphia-based research and consulting firm that surveyed nearly 3 million employees at more than 7,000 organizations in 2018. Energage is the research partner for Top Workplaces. Nominate your company as a Top Workplace at

About The Top Workplaces Program:

The Top Workplaces program identifies organizations that excel at organizational health and employee engagement. Greenville Business Magazine, Columbia Business Monthly, and Charleston Business Magazine, in partnership with Energage, formerly WorkplaceDynamics, offers a free assessment through a simple, scientifically sound, and anonymous employee feedback survey.

The Top Workplaces program recruits organizations, walks them through the survey, and creates the list of top-ranking companies. Why participate? Consider the benefits:

Shout out, stand out: Encourage workplace pride. If you work at a great company, give colleagues a morale boost with something to celebrate. And give your employer well-served credit for creating something special.

Assess, reward, and improve: The results from the Top Workplaces survey can help assess the health of companies. They validate achievements, reveal problem areas, and set a foundation for new goals.

Boost recruiting: Attract and retain the best talent. Employees want to work at companies recognized as leaders that operate by a strong set of values.

Raise the business profile: The Top Workplaces logo on company materials and websites helps spread the word about successful work environments. Customers and business partners will take notice. That awareness can help create new business opportunities, too.

Earn public recognition: Achievements are recognized by Greenville Business Magazine, Columbia Business Monthly, and Charleston Business Magazine.

“Top Workplaces is more than just recognition,” said Doug Claffey, CEO of Energage. “Our research shows organizations that earn the award attract better talent, experience lower turnover, and are better equipped to deliver bottom-line results. Their leaders prioritize and carefully craft a healthy workplace culture that supports employee engagement.”

To participate, go to or call (864) 501-9699.

Energage, founded in 2006, is located in Exton, Pennsylvania. A leader in organizational health research and SaaS-based HR tools, Energage has reached more than 17 million employees from 50,000+ organizations through its employee engagement platform, Top Workplaces program, and workplace improvement solutions.

Contact: Bob Helbig, Media Partnerships Director Energage 414.207.1648