If we consider the economy over the past decade, New Zealand has experienced a period of extended growth followed by one of the worst recessions since the Great Depression.

An analysis by JRA of the key drivers of employee engagement over this period may offer some insight as the economy moves out of recession.

Looking at the period 2000 to 2009, there have been some consistent drivers of engagement regardless of the boom or bust cycles.

"People have some basic and intrinsic motivation needs" says JRA managing director John Robertson. "The internal factors which drive us to do the things because we want to do them or because we believe it is the right thing to do.

"There is also a need to work in a fun, enjoyable workplace where there is clarity in terms of roles and responsibilities. Lastly, employees respond positively to strong leadership."

While there has been some consistency over the past decade, there have also been some interesting changes. In the mid 2000s for example, when the labour market was buoyant, employee engagement levels were more likely to be influenced by the perceived fairness of their pay.

But during the recession, pay has been replaced as a key driver by more intrinsic drivers, such as understanding how one contributes to the organisation's success and feeling valued. Confidence in leadership also became more important whereas a fun and enjoyable workplace dropped in importance.

Organisations looking to maintain or lift engagement during the upturn may need to adapt to meet their employees' changing needs.

JRA will run the 2010 JRA Best Workplaces Survey in association with the Herald from June 1 to August 31. Registrations are now being taken.