Employee engagement is an interesting study. There are many thoughts out there about what makes us 'tick' in the workplace. Does the generation we belong to affect how we are engaged, or is it just our personality preference?
Daniel Pink has written an interesting book that looks at what motivates and engages employees. His book is a must read for those who are trying to understand what engages employees.
One thing that I have discovered through my own research, is that we all need to be valued and respected as individuals in order to feel engaged. Simple things like being greeted, being thanked, asked their opinion and having their ideas acknowledged are so important. Employee recognition isn't actually the big long service dinner or tea, or even merit awards. While they are nice, they mean little to employees who feel that their day to day accomplishments are ignored. No matter the age, 20 or 60, employees want to feel that they are valued as people.
The problem, is that even with this knowledge, many don't actually know how to value and appreciate their employees. Daniel Pink has a great book to get you thinking.