9 October 2023


I will not quote Gallup in order to emphasise, should there still be a need, how central engagement is in every company, in every organisational context and, also, in every social reflection (for those who want to read what Gallup says instead, here the State of the Global Workplace 2023 Report).

(Small spoiler)

Anyone who works on organisational transformation and innovation, on organisational and individual development, on HR and people development-related areas knows very well how much the buzzwords talent and engagement (with various affixes) are not mere buzzwords but focal points for the future of organisations themselves. And, increasingly, this awareness is now also widespread among those with business responsibilities, arousing the interest of even the least attentive CEOs. No longer the stuff of HR, in short.

In addition, if when we talk about engagement we use terms like involvement, dedication, belonging, it means that when we approach the measurement (and development) of engagement we have to look at behavioural aspects but also at the underlying emotions.

With Futureberry over the last 10 years we have worked on many projects related to engagement and developed our own ‘culture specific’ approach to the measurement and development of engagement which we have called THRIVE.


The founding element of the Futureberry approach is based on the realisation that each organisation has its own specific culture and this results in a system of engagement drivers for people that is different from one organisation to another. Simple.

The objective of the culture-specific approach is to understand the culture-engagement connection and design an engagement measurement system that precisely respects and enhances the uniqueness of each organisation, its identity and value traits and allows for the construction of an engagement development plan based on meaningful information.

In addition, if when we talk about engagement we use terms like involvement, dedication, belonging, it means that when we approach the measurement (and development) of engagement we have to look at behavioural aspects but also at the underlying emotions.


Futureberry’s THRIVE model unfolds through seven steps.

  1. CULTURE: identifying the identity and value traits of the emerging (and desired) culture.

In the HR Time Travel report that Futureberry published in 2022, which was compiled through interviews with 21 HRDs from leading companies in various industries, three prevailing cultural models in the organisations of the future are identified. Charismatic organisations, rhizomatic organisations and agonistic organisations. (If you are curious, you can learn more by reading the full report here — only in Italian :/).

Each cultural model corresponds to specific characteristics and challenges, and obviously different people engagement levers. It is crucial, therefore, to have clarity as to why people join the organisation and why they stay, happy to do so.

Some questions that need to be answered:
What are the underlying values that influence behaviour and decision making in the organisation?
What are the attitudinal profiles of the people sought?
What are the prevailing leadership styles?
Is the organisation characterised by a prevailing culture or are equally defined subcultures present?

The culture check is carried out in various ways, ranging from organisational ethnography and observation of the actual context; analysis of communication, symbols and artefacts; analysis of the evaluation and reward system; direct listening to the people in the organisation.

2. DRIVERS: identification of the specific drivers of engagement based on the organisational culture.

This is the key step in which the specific motivational levers of people in the organisation are identified, beyond — or in addition to — the research and articles on the generic motivations of large samples of the population and generations (for Gen Z, the purpose of salary is more important; today people only want to work remotely; to motivate people, personalised growth plans must be built; etc.).

Here again, there are some questions to ask and answer:
What are the relevant elements of motivation for people in our organisation?
What are the relevant elements of motivation for the people we want to attract?

How to do this: by unbiased listening made up of qualitative research through individual interviews with panels of internal people and gathering information on exit interviews. And also by comparing ourselves externally through benchmarks with models typical of similar organisational cultures.

3. MODELS: definition of detection models.

Phase 3 has as its outcome the design of the models and the mix of survey instruments to be deployed.

The key choices concern four areas, differing in philosophy, impact, depth and effort required:

Primary detection models (ad hoc collected information) vs. secondary detection models (on existing data)
Direct detection models (e.g. surveys) vs. indirect detection models (e.g. data analysis, NIBs, …)
Detection of behaviours (what people do), perceptions (what people say), emotions (how people feel)
Standard vs. custom instruments

4. PROCESS: defining the information gathering process

Again, this involves identifying and defining, in line with the chosen survey models and specific drivers, the most effective process in terms of

Frequency: pulse surveys (short high-frequency surveys) vs. one-off surveys (e.g. annual or biannual)
Target: broad target (entire population) vs. specific target (by populations or by samples)
Depth: quantitative analysis on behavioural or perception data and/or mapping of the prevailing set of emotions in the organisation (the depth of the survey also depends on the decisions on frequency and target)

5. SURVEYdata collection activities

After the design and definition of the process, the actual administration of the surveys — or of the other identified instruments — is accompanied by a sense-making and internal communication activity to increase dissemination and penetration data.

6. STRATEGY: defining the engagement strategy

Defining the engagement strategy means clarifying two major pillars such as objectives and tools.

Objectives: what results are to be achieved, on which population, in how long, with which indicators to measure effectiveness

Tools: what mix of tools to activate.
On this point, it is important to emphasise that engagement is the result of a system of elements affecting the level of people’s emotional involvement:

Consistency between the value system (purpose is another term that is much liked) declared and the one actually pursued
Organisation and processes
Leadership and relational styles
Remuneration system and non-monetary benefits
Performance management, evaluation and recognition system
Growth paths and activities supporting development
Spaces and ways of working
Internal communication
People involvement activities
Internal and off-site events

In short, one does not really develop engagement simply by doing ‘engagement activities’.

7. ACTIONS: defining the action plan

The action plan defines the specific activities to be implemented and the timing; the design of the activities; their implementation; the measurement of results.

By way of example only, actions may concern the redefinition of ways of working, the redesign of spaces, the evolution of the performance management system, the activation of engagement events, the strengthening of internal communication, the development of training and talent management projects.

If you want to find out more about who Futureberry is click here