Is Employee Engagement Just for Entry-Level Employees?


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Gamification Design

Organizations are constantly employing new and innovative solutions to keep their entry-level employees engaged. From the moment employees begin training, it’s a constant battle to keep them fully engaged in their work, and for good reason. According to Allan Schweyer’s study on engagement in the workplace, employee disengagement is estimated to cost the US economy as much as 350 billion dollars per year in lost productivity, accidents, theft, and turnover.

Many organizations focus their efforts entirely on engaging entry-level workers in a meaningful way, without investing in their other employees. While entry-level employees are often the most disengaged, employees in all levels of an organization can easily become disengaged, leading to heavy losses for your company. Studies show that replacing an employee costs 30-50 percent of their annual salary for entry level employees, 150 percent for mid-level employees, and up to 400 percent for specialized high level employees. While there’s higher turnover among entry-level employees than such high level workers, losing even one member of upper management can result in huge company losses.

That’s why employee engagement programs are NOT just for entry-level workers. Solutions exist for employees at every level of the corporate ladder. It’s important to recognize though that the solutions that work vary greatly at each level. By understanding different approaches to engagement, you can find solutions that work for all your employees, from entry to C-level.

1. Entry Level

Entry-level employees perform minimally complex tasks. Because many entry-level employees are fresh out of school or previously worked in an unrelated industry, many rely heavily on more-experienced team members to gain insight and experience.

Most employee engagement systems are already directed at these positions, including employee onboarding software. The best systems educate workers on the importance of their contributions to the company as a whole, and reward successful completion of tasks. Because full engagement includes believing in the mission of the organization, it’s important to utilize any employee engagement systems to this end. Without an overriding, overt connection to company goals, any engagement initiative aimed at entry-level employees won’t be effective long-term.

2. Intermediate

Intermediate employees have demonstrated proficiency with basic job functions, have some industry experience, and are able to teach their skills to others. Employees at this level typically require less supervision and are able to take on more responsibilities and projects.

One danger that can cause intermediate employees to disengage is a lack of clear mission. Because these employees often have less supervision than entry-level employees, it’s possible for drifting to take place. As your organization grows and evolves, you want these employees to grow with you, as opposed to staying stagnant or drifting away from projects. One way to engage these employees in an active way is to incentivize them to share their knowledge with entry level or new workers. By encouraging intermediate employees to actively engage new staff members, you simultaneously help increase entry-level employee’s skill-sets, and keep intermediate employees engaged in operational changes. Additionally, this type of engagement can increase staff camaraderie.

3. Middle management

Middle management is the first managerial level of the corporate structure. Beyond overseeing a group of intermediate and entry level workers, these employees assume responsibility for department objectives and goals.

For middle management, much of the engagement focus should be on developing motivated and focused departments that are consistently growing and expanding. If your company has similar departments in multiple locations, a great way to engage those departments is to create a leaderboard based on a metric of overall performance. This could be anything from revenue, to sales numbers, to new clients added. Such competition lets middle managers of different departments benchmark their performance compared to other branches, in real time. In addition, this can be used to drive department growth and change. If a manager is competing against their peers, it will increase their engagement with every employee under them.

4. Upper Management

Upper management employees have extensive industry experience and education. These individuals have experience managing others and accordingly oversee divisions, departments, or subsets of the company.

When it comes to upper management and executive level employees, few, if any, initiatives should be required to engage them in company operations. Instead, the best use of an engagement program or gamification system is for encouraging additional training and continued education. Because they often have a wide array of tasks to perform, upper management can sometimes get caught in the present, and lose focus of the larger goals. By incentivizing and engaging these workers, your organization can continue to challenge such valuable employees in new ways.

5. Executive

Executive employees are typically the ones implementing these exact engagement programs. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t benefit from them as well. One way that executives can challenge themselves to remain engaged in daily operations is to create challenges built around interacting with different departments. Executives can easily become disconnected from company culture due to their separation from lower level employees. By challenging themselves to engage individual workers on a personal level, they can remain more connected and aware of daily operational issues that other employees might miss.

While a wide variety of employee engagement initiatives exist for entry level employees, figuring out new and inventive ways to engage higher level workers is essential to maintaining a unified team. Disengaged employees are crippling to company culture and productivity. Exploring digital engagement options that will resonate with all levels of your staff can help you avoid becoming just another statistic.

Image Courtesy: Kyle Turco/TechnologyAdvice

Keith Cawley
Keith Cawley is the media relations manager at TechnologyAdvice. He writes about gamification, business intelligence, project management, and other emerging technology.


  1. If the higher objective of teamwork, cohesion, and a more proactive culture is customer experience optimization, then the name of the game is employee ambassadorship at all levels and in all functions: To paraphrase total quality guru W. Edwards Deming, everyone in a company has one of two jobs – to serve the customer, or to serve someone who does.


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