Employee engagement
is the key to growth.
Time for a revolution

‘Make work more fun’ is our tagline. Our mission, if you will. Employee engagement covers more than just ‘fun’. It’s about team members feeling a connection with the company they work for. About a shared purpose. Sounds very ‘Kumbaya’ to you? It really isn’t. Companies with high employee engagement usually perform above average. The bottom line is in our favor. So read on.

Employee engagement, what’s it really about?

Employee engagement entails a lot, and it’s important. It’s not (just) about job satisfaction. Or happiness at work, although we advocate for that as well. It measures how emotionally invested employees are in their work and their company’s mission. It’s about a connection, shared purpose, commitment, and — as a result — going the extra mile.

At its core, employee engagement is about the relationship between an organization and its employees. Forbes gives this definition: Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals. They actually care, about the company and it’s mission.

Employee engagement is, well, broken. According to Gallup’s ‘State of the Global Workplace’ (2017), only 15% of employees worldwide are engaged in their jobs. They are the ones who drive performance and innovation and move the organization forward.

A whopping 67% of employees are not engaged. They’re putting in the hours, but not the energy or passion. They’re present, but not productive.

Even worse, 18% of employees are actively disengaged. According to Gallup, they aren’t just unhappy at work – they are resentful that their needs aren’t being met. They’re sometimes even acting on their unhappiness. Every day, these workers potentially undermine what their engaged co-workers accomplish.

The fallout from this disengagement is real and costly. Burnout symptoms are on the rise, increasing from 11% in 2011 to 16% in 2017. The cost to the Dutch economy alone is €8.7 billion per year.

There are several key elements to employee engagement:

  • Autonomy. A lack of autonomy at work is an indication that the traditional way of working is failing us. It’s time for a change.

  • Communication. We opt for radical transparency. Everybody needs to feel heard and valued.

  • Recognition. Acknowledgment of efforts and accomplishments boosts morale and motivation.

  • Empowerment. Employees need to feel trusted and given the autonomy to make decisions about their work.

  • Alignment with company values. Everybody on the team should share a similar purpose and connect with the company’s mission and values.

The impact of employee engagement on a company’s success is profound:

  • Productivity goes up

  • Employee retention is higher

  • Profitability rises

In the end, employee engagement is a win-win situation. Staff are happier and feel more fulfilled, and the company benefits from their increased productivity and loyalty.

These companies win at employee engagement


Buurtzorg is a Dutch home-care organization with a unique management model. They have 15.000 staff, 0 managers. Instead, they operate with self-managed teams who coordinate all aspects of patient care. This flat organizational structure eliminates traditional management layers and empowers employees to make decisions.


Haier, a Chinese multinational consumer electronics and home appliances company and over 70.000 staff, has adopted a unique organizational structure known as RenDanHeYi. Staff form self-managed teams that operate like micro-enterprises. This has many benefits. For example, it promotes entrepreneurship and innovation within the company.


Semco, a Brazilian company that started in maritime engineering, is famous for its radical form of corporate democracy. The company operates with a flat organizational structure, where employees are given a high degree of autonomy. They are involved in decision-making processes, including setting their own salaries.


Handelsbanken, a Swedish bank, operates with a decentralized structure. Each branch operates as a separate business unit, making decisions based on its local market conditions. This structure promotes a strong customer focus and high levels of employee engagement.

Morning Star

Morning Star is a U.S.-based tomato processing company. It has 600 permanent staff and 4000 seasonal workers. It runs entirely with a self-management structure. There are no traditional managers, and employees negotiate responsibilities with each other. This structure fosters collaboration and shared accountability.

These organizations demonstrate that investing in employee engagement and adopting innovative organizational structures work. Also in big organizations, or with so-called ‘low-skilled workers’. And it may well lead to high levels of success. It did for our pioneers. And there are many more of them.

This is how us Rebels look at employee engagement

At Corporate Rebels, we’d like to change the way work is done. At least in most traditional organizations. We envision a world where work is engaging, fulfilling, and fun. Employee engagement is not just a ‘nice-to-have’, but a critical factor that drives organizational success.

We strongly believe that when employees are engaged, they are more productive, innovative, and committed to their organization’s goals. These are the people who drive performance and innovation, and move the organization forward.

To help organizations realize this vision, we offer a variety of courses through our academy. By investing in these courses, every organization can take a significant step towards creating a work environment where employees are not just satisfied, but truly engaged. You can learn from the pioneers, like Buurtzorg and Haier. Or you can start methodically, for example, by giving better feedback or run better meetings

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