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Employee engagement: 3 companies that get it right

Laura Leavitt

Remote Expert & Writer

From the outside, a company with high employee engagement looks like they have it all figured out. They have excellent talent rising through the ranks and proactive, productive employees at all levels. 

This isn't unattainable. Dig a little deeper, and you'll find patterns. The qualities that fuel top companies' employee engagement levels are predictable. And you can put them into practice in your own company.

3 high employee engagement companies and how they do it

We looked at the companies with the highest overall satisfaction ratings on Glassdoor with hundreds of reviews. From there, we were able to isolate the key reasons why employees felt fully engaged at these workplaces. 

1. Bain & Company

Bain & Company is a global management consulting firm. They ought to know about corporate culture. After all, a lot of their work is in helping other companies reach their full potential. 

They’ve written various studies on employee engagement, including this piece on building a winning culture. And they practice what they preach, as is shown in anonymous reviews.

Standout examples of employee engagement in Brain & Company:

  1. Many reviews mention the opportunity to “learn and push yourself.” Employees don’t like to twiddle their fingers doing nothing. Instead, feeling like they are learning something every day invigorates them. 
  2. Employees love the people they meet at Bain & Company. Employees mention the great people, the dynamics on their teams, and the smart people often. When you feel like a member of a positive and engaged team, it’s easier to follow along and be engaged yourself.
  3. Even negative reviews state that long hours are standard for consulting companies. Many reviews highlight that there is better work-life balance at Bain & Company than at other jobs in the industry. That’s the key comparison. If an employee is surveying the places they could work, does yours have the strongest work-life balance, given the rigors of the work?

Find the employee reviews on Glassdoor.

2. HubSpot

HubSpot is a company that creates sales management software that is used all over the world. They created and continually revise a “Culture Code” to make sure they are making HubSpot a great place to work. 

HubSpot deliberately hires employees with “HEART.” This acronym stands for humble, empathetic, adaptable, remarkable, and transparent. HubSpot’s reviews showcase other ways they have become a high employee engagement company.

Standout examples of employee engagement in HubSpot:

  1. The name of the game is “high expectations, high support.” Multiple employees mentioned how the job was difficult but that they always had someone to turn to. They were offered resources and given the time they needed to accomplish big things. 
  2. Multiple reviewers state that “the product is unmatched.” They believe they're selling the best software on the market. For roles that involve sales, there’s no better way to promote engagement than to give them something top-tier to sell. 
  3. One reviewer summed up another aspect of the culture as “friendly, spirited, and productive.” Others described it as “friendly competition” in the company. Not every employee loves competition. Still, an engaging company has both high goodwill between employees and a spirited feeling. They’re outdoing themselves every day to make the whole team better.

Find the employee reviews on Glassdoor.

3. eXp Realty

eXp Realty is a rapidly growing brokerage. They innovated on a traditional realty office by foregoing the brick and mortar and letting agents work from anywhere. 

eXp Realty offers a helpful set of online tools to keep camaraderie high among agents. They also highly value training and support from a large IT team as the real estate business grows more technical every year. In addition to all these changes to the old “way of doing things,” they have gained the following patterns in their reviews.

Strategies from eXp Realty for great employee engagement

  1. Compensation is a major part of why employees stay with a company. eXp can offer a higher percentage commission to their agents. They have lower overhead than traditional brokerages. Multiple reviewers mention the compensation choice represents resistance to “business as usual.”  It shows a real commitment to the agents themselves. 
  2. The employees that thrive at this company are independent thinkers and independent workers. They love getting the support they need. Employees mention that they like the freedom to work on their own by default and reach out when they need something. Many workers will feel engaged by a workplace that trusts them to do their own work in general and just ask for help as needed.
  3. eXp reviews mention that the transition from other companies allowed agents to be coached. They like to receive feedback from team members on how to improve their service to clients. Coaching is a valuable tool used in many high employee engagement companies. 

Find the employee reviews on Glassdoor.

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Common threads in companies with high engagement

There are patterns when analyzing companies with highly engaged employees. Many of these are seen in literature from research done by Deloitte. The study showcases 5 broad categories of how to improve employee engagement. Companies want to provide: 

  • Meaningful work. All three companies we highlighted here focus on hiring and retaining employees who like the work. They understand the value provided by the product. Companies also focus on having the best available product. In turn, employees are energized by the opportunity to participate.
  • Positive work environment. Reviews mention “good culture” or “lots of positivity.” They are often referring to a variety of ways that getting to work feels good. It’s everything from the flexibility to set your own hours to being recognized for your achievements via a virtual platform. It can also include a diverse and equitable workplace.
  • Opportunity for growth. It could be through the strong promotion structure mentioned at Bain & Company. Or you might thrive in the independent opportunity for unlimited high commissions if you build your client base at eXp Realty. Regardless, employees feel engaged when they know they are supported. They need to grow, learn, and gain higher positions or compensation.
  • Trust in leadership. Some reviews on Glassdoor also mentioned negative things about these three companies. We noticed it was often related to changes in top leadership. Engaged employees stick around because they value the approach their leaders are taking. Teams believe in the mission and vision at the top. They also believe that leaders are there to inspire them while being transparent and honest.

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Everything starts with great managers

The fifth element of the Deloitte study is supportive management. If you want to start anywhere with becoming a high employee engagement company, start with management. Here are just a few ways you can get started.

Encourage managers to:

  • offer more specific positive feedback. This helps employees feel seen and valued.
  • keep their eyes and ears open for new opportunities. This could include professional development, training, and other support.
  • offer clarity and explanations on new directions being taken by upper leadership.
  • listen carefully to team concerns and ensure that response happens.
  • adjust workloads and the variety of work done by each team member. This can make the work more fulfilling and attuned to personalities.

Four ways to get started with engagement

If you're not sure where to start, we recommend you dive deeper into our other articles on engagement:

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