About the Employee Engagement Model

Development of the Employee Engagement Model

BC Stats built the model based on a deep theoretical and practical knowledge of what contributes to engagement in the workplace. A sophisticated analysis technique, called structural equation modeling, is used to determine which survey questions or groups of questions have the biggest impact on employee engagement. This technique identifies what matters most to employees in influencing their responses to the questions that measure engagement. The initial ‘house’ model was built from an analysis of the survey responses from nearly 20,000 BC Public Service employees in 2006. The model has been re-tested with the results of each subsequent survey to ensure it continues to accurately represent the work environment experiences of employees.

Definition of Employee Engagement

In the context of the BC Public Service Work Environment Survey (WES), engagement is measured by the four survey questions that comprise the three engagement characteristics

  • Job Satisfaction
  • Organization Satisfaction
  • BC Public Service Commitment

Engagement characteristics are developed from four underlying survey questions

Engagement Underlying Survey Questions
BC Public Service Commitment
  • Overall, I'm satisfied in my work as a BC Public Service employee
  • I would prefer to stay with the BC Public Service, even if offered a similar job elsewhere
Job Satisfaction
  • I am satisfied with my job
Organization Satisfaction
  • I am satisfied with my organization

Note: The concept of commitment measures two things. First there is emotional commitment, which is reflected in peoples’ satisfaction in their work as an employee for the BC Public Service. Second, there is behavioural commitment, which is signified through their preference to stay even if offered a job elsewhere. Both dimensions are combined to comprise the BC Public Service Commitment characteristic.

Identification of the Model Drivers and Pathways

Groups of survey questions represent important workplace concepts in the employee engagement model. These groups of questions are called ‘drivers’ because they drive (contribute to or detract from) employees’ level of engagement. Each of the 13 drivers and three characteristics of engagement in the model are made up of one to five survey questions. Not all survey questions end up in the model. For example, the survey asked eight different questions about supervisors. However, the process of model building found that five of these questions predicted employee engagement more than the others. Therefore, the responses to those five questions are compiled to represent this concept called Supervisory-Level Management.

Each of the drivers has connections with the other drivers and engagement characteristics to form over 500 unique pathways that establish the architecture of the model. These pathways flow in a specific direction: starting from management in the foundation, passing through varying combinations of building blocks and ending at one or more of the engagement characteristics in the roof. Understanding how drivers are connected to the other concepts represented in the model helps strategic HR personnel and organizational leaders focus on the drivers of engagement where improvements are needed most.

These pathways are important to trace because they provide a more complete portrayal of the employee experience and help us understand the variety of stories behind employee engagement in the BC Public Service.

Does the Employee Engagement Model Change Over Time?

The purpose of the Employee Engagement Model is to understand what aspects of our workplace influence the engagement characteristics.

While the relationships that exist between the model’s workplace characteristics have remained largely stable over time, it is important to note that the BC Public Service (BCPS) is a constantly changing work environment. Due to the dynamic nature of the BCPS, it has been necessary to make certain modifications to the model in an effort to better represent the public service’s work environment for a particular year. Typically these changes are minor in scope, and only impact the relationships that exist between the model’s workplace characteristics. Occasionally, a more substantial change is needed, and it is necessary to modify, add or remove one or more of the workplace characteristics.

Regardless of the possible changes to the model, BC Stats’ goal is always the same: to ensure that the model continues to provide the best possible means of understanding how employees’ work environment impacts their engagement.

Stability of the Model Over Time

Changes to the model reflect BC Stats’ commitment to ensure that the model continues to provide the best possible understanding of how employees’ work environment impacts their engagement. However, caution is advised when comparing drivers over time. We recommend focusing on the present results. If comparisons over time are needed, we suggest concentrating on the individual question items instead of comparing the driver scores with those published in previous years.


Learn more about the model, drivers and pathways through hands-on user guides.