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Gaining this kind of insight is what we do with each of our employee survey clients, carrying out deep dive analyses of their results to pinpoint those key drivers, and to identify the signals among the noise in their data.

As you’d expect, such trends typically differ from one organisation to the next but there is commonality too. In fact, in delving into the aggregate level survey data from our benchmark, we found some interesting trends relating to engagement, empowerment and enablement – the ‘three Es’ we believe make up the holistic employee experience. Here’s a summary of what we found and a few observations…

Managers are THE story

The findings reveal (or perhaps reinforce) to us that line managers really are pivotal to the employee experience. While instinctively and likely through our own personal experiences, we know managers play a big part in how we feel at work, their prominence in this data was still striking. Managers were the most common key driver of empowerment and enablement, as well as figuring highly (in fifth place) on the list of engagement key drivers.


And, speaking of engagement, leadership figured as the most common key driver, followed very closely by wellbeing and growth. Trend-wise, while growth and career development isn’t too much of surprise to see here, the prominence of wellbeing is certainly more noteworthy.

As an aside, while we haven’t gone back into historical data, it seems certain that this has become a far bigger driver of engagement since 2019. What’s more, it also features high up the list on empowerment and enablement drivers too.

Key drivers of engagement - ETS benchmark


After managers – who were found to be the biggest driver of empowerment – inclusion was a very close second. This validates the massive emphasis organisations are placing on fostering inclusive cultures and creating an environment where all employees can be their authentic selves and can feel they belong.

Next and very much going hand in glove with that was employee voice, reinforcing the importance of giving employees different forums (including but not limited to engagement surveys) to have their say.

Key drivers of empowerment - ETS benchmark


Managers were again found to be the most influential driver of enablement, but there was more of a split after that with job demands, learning and development and resources all equally common factors here. And, anecdotally, of the ‘3 Es’, enablement is the one more organisations appear to be struggling with based on the survey scores we are seeing. This is perhaps to be expected as organisations are still pivoting as they try to adapt post Covid, working out the tech, policies, processes and training their employees need in order to thrive.

Key drivers of enablement - ETS benchmark


It seems obvious to conclude from these insights that employees’ priorities have changed. And that may well be true to a point. But it is also true that lots of the fundamentals that underpin a positive employee experience remain just that. While we should also caution (again) that the exact drivers and mix of drivers differ from one organisation to the next. Which is why it is so important to ensure your survey is giving you a clear signal on what is most important for your people.