Orientation: Knowledge of the factors associated with employee engagement is important for practitioners and researchers in industrial/organisational psychology in South Africa. Research purpose: The objective of this study was to investigate the factors associated with employee engagement using two models, namely the personal engagement model of Kahn (1990), and the work engagement model of Schaufeli and Bakker (2004). Motivation for the study: Scientific knowledge is needed regarding the factors that are associated with employee engagement. Research design, approach and method: Survey designs were used with two samples taken from various South African organisations (n = 467 and n = 3775). The Work Engagement Scale, the Psychological Conditions Scale and the Antecedents Scale were administered for purposes of study 1. The Utrecht Work Engagement Scale and the Job Demands-Resources Scale were administered for purposes of study 2. Main findings: The results of study 1 showed that two psychological conditions, namely psychological meaningfulness and psychological availability, were positively associated with employee engagement. Work role fit was the best predictor of psychological meaningfulness and employee engagement. The results of study 2 showed that all job resources were positively associated with employee engagement. Organisational support and growth opportunities were the best predictors of vigour, dedication and absorption. Pratical/managerial implications: Interventions to increase employee engagement should focus on work role fit. Job resources, including an intrinsically rewarding job, organisational support and advancement opportunities should be made available to increase employees’ engagement. Contribution/value-add: This study isolated the most important factors associated with employee engagement in South Africa.