HR Strategy

It Takes a Village: New Research Suggests Employee Engagement Doesn’t Belong Solely to HR


Tiffany Gamblin

| Apr 30, 2018

Continuous employee engagement is a big responsibility that historically has been assigned solely to HR. But new research shows what HR leaders have suspected for quite some time; getting employee engagement right requires everyone in your organization working together.

According to a recent survey from, roughly 75% of respondents believe that company culture and relationships with supervisors impact employee engagement levels the most. Perhaps it’s why the HR professionals surveyed said immediate supervisors and senior leadership were more responsible for engaging employees than the HR department.

It makes sense. After all, senior leadership often establishes and drives company culture, and front-line managers influence their employees’ day-to-day experience more than HR ever will. Simply put, company leaders – either indirectly or directly – shape the majority of employees’ daily experiences at work. And a positive employee experience has the power to truly engage employees.

Does this mean HR is off the hook? Has all this talk about employee engagement in the HR space been for naught? Far from it. Why? Because the leaders in your organization are employees, too.

HR’s evolving role

 Front-line managers must understand how important engaging employees is. They need to:

  • master the ability to recognize when great employees are planning to leave
  • understand how to get great employees to stay
  • be adept at resolving conflict
  • understand the differing personalities on their teams
  • facilitate performance among those differing personalities
  • understand how to encourage and develop the next generation of leaders


Senior leaders need coaching, too. They need to understand how to make their workforce feel purposeful, connected and heard. They need encouragement and constructive feedback as much as many other employees.

And who better to help facilitate the development, engagement and retention of talent than your organization’s human capital management experts?

HR’s direct impact

 Of course, we know there are times when HR directly impacts the employee experience because they influence what the employee is going through at that time. Depending on the size of your organization, your HR team may shape your recruiting, hiring and onboarding processes, which means you also have the power to improve the process and employees’ experiences in that stage of their journey.  HR may also lead training initiatives that continue to develop employees or facilitate employee appreciation events that help employees feel appreciated. Additionally, HR often leads the performance review process and can help encourage leaders to give honest feedback and expectations during that time.

Ready to evaluate your processes and quickly develop tactics to improve them? Download our free Employee Engagement / Experience Toolkit!

 If it truly “takes a village” to improve the employee experience – and as a result, engage employees – the payroll and HR software you use should be easy and convenient for everyone to use. It should:

  • help streamline the onboarding process for the HR team and new hires
  • enable front-line managers to keep track of performance reviews and pay scales
  • empower employees to access training and professional development opportunities, anytime, anywhere
  • help leadership keep their finger on the pulse of the company through anonymous surveys

Getting everyone in your organization to work together toward continually engaging employees is possible. The right tactics and a powerful technology partner can help you establish the processes and effectively facilitate the communication you need to inspire and motivate employees throughout their entire employment lifecycle.

About the Author

Tiffany Gamblin

Tiffany Gamblin is an HR manager at Paycom. Since joining the company in early 2016, she has implemented innovative benefit strategies and communication, as well as developed and delivered an immersive “HR Leadership for Management” training program across the organization. A Senior Certified Professional (SCP) of the Society for Human Resource Management, Gamblin obtained her bachelor’s degree in 2013 from the University of Central Oklahoma and has more than eight years of HR experience in a generalist capacity, with a focus on benefits administration and HR training.

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