New Research on Driving Employee Engagement from ITA Group and Chadwick Martin Bailey

Study by Chadwick Martin Bailey offers new insight into the psychology of engagement

Organizations are investing $18 billion on tools to bolster employee engagement, but the return on these investments is unclear. According to the Gallup State of the Global Workplace report, only 15 percent of adult employees are engaged with their employers worldwide.

To address critical issues of employee retention and engagement, market research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey (CMB), a subsidiary of global engagement agency ITA Group, conducted a landmark study in 2018 to understand the psychological benefits that drive employee loyalty.

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CMB’s research, which leveraged scientific insight into human motivation and advanced analytic techniques, surveyed nearly 1,500 full-time employees at U.S.-based companies across a range of industries. The results of the study found that:

  • Five types of psychological benefits are critical to driving employee engagement: functional, emotional, personal identity, social identity and cultural identity.
  • Identity benefits are particularly important, highlighting the need to continually foster employees’ pride, self-esteem and sense of belonging.
  • By identifying the key psychological benefits that should be their top priority for improvement, companies can be strategic in their use of engagement initiatives and focus resources on programs likely to work best.

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“This is in line with what social science teaches us about the kinds of things that motivate behavior,” said Erica Carranza, Ph.D. (Princeton University), Vice President of Consumer Psychology at CMB and co-author of the research study. “Employees across tenure, level and role are motivated by the psychological benefits we identified in this research—and the companies with programs in place to deliver these benefits will reap the rewards of a dedicated workforce.”

Based on the research, ITA Group developed EngageFx, a diagnostic tool that enables organizations to identify their best areas of opportunity to improve the employee experience.

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“This research shows that companies can’t stop at benefits like compensation packages and work/life balance to truly inspire and engage their workforce,” said Christina Zurek, Insights and Strategy Leader, ITA Group. “And while making a bigger push for wellness programs and similar initiatives can help, the most powerful investment a company can make in order to engage employees is to nurture emotional and identity benefits.”