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Employee engagement · 

8 minutes

How to Improve Employee Engagement with 16 Engagement Ideas

Cormac O'SullivanPiggy

Understand the drivers of employee engagement, how you can improve them, and how you can ensure your efforts improve business results.

Drivers of Employee Engagement

Before improving the levels of employee engagement in your organization, it's essential to understand what drives employee engagement. Revising the way things are done within your organization can improve your culture significantly and boost employee engagement. The key to a motivated workforce is ensuring your employees understand what they're doing and why they're doing it. On top of that, making employees aware of the value of their work always boosts engagement.

Purposeful Work

Employees feel more engaged when they feel that their work has a purpose and makes a difference. Companies can use employee engagement programs to connect work to a larger mission and purpose. These programs help to highlight the value of employees' work by giving them frequent rewards and recognition.

Clear Expectations

Employees need to have clear expectations and goals in order to feel engaged in their work. Companies can use employee engagement programs to communicate clear performance expectations and provide regular feedback to employees. This will make the job of employees much clearer, but will also add to their motivation. Without knowing what is expected of them, employees cannot become motivated to complete something - no matter how highly engaged they are.

Recognition and Rewards

Employees are motivated by recognition and rewards, which can include everything from verbal praise to monetary incentives. Companies can use employee engagement programs to implement recognition and reward systems that acknowledge employees for their hard work and achievements. The great thing is that companies can directly tie their rewards to behaviors that drive business results or company culture. This way, the solution benefits both the organization and the employees.

Growth and Development

Employees want to feel that they are growing and developing in their careers. Companies can use employee engagement programs to provide opportunities for training and development, mentorship, and career advancement. This benefits the organization by furnishing employees with more skills, but it also makes employees feel appreciated and invested in.

Supportive Work Environment

Employees are more engaged when they work in a supportive and inclusive environment. Companies can foster a positive work environment by promoting initiatives that support employee well-being. Examples include team-building activities, wellness programs, or even just ensuring that employees maintain a good work-life balance.

Company Performance

Employees are more engaged when they feel that the company is performing well. Why? First of all, it makes employees feel as though they're contributing to something positive. Additionally, it boosts morale and gives employees validation.

Companies can use employee engagement programs to communicate key business metrics and celebrate successes with employees. Make sure to celebrate successes with your employees and show appreciation to improve your employee experience.


Managers can show appreciation to their employees through recognition, giving clear objectives and expectations, and feedback and support. Invest in your managers by providing training and development opportunities, and ensure they have the tools needed to be successful. Make sure your managers are taking the necessary steps to engage employees, but they must be given room to. Ensuring your organizational culture isn't too hierarchical will automatically help with employee engagement and relationships with management.

Organizational Culture & Employer Brand

Employees are more engaged when they work in a positive, inclusive, and value-driven culture. That's just the most intuitive conclusion. Engagement or rewards programs can help to promote and reinforce company values, encourage teamwork and collaboration, and celebrate diversity and inclusion.

While these may seem like minor things, inclusion and openness in your culture encourages employees to buy into your initiatives more. A strong employer brand doesn't just increase employee engagement, it will also helps with attraction and recruitment of new employees.


Employees are more engaged when they have autonomy and control over their work. Companies should allow employees to take ownership of projects, make decisions, and have a say in how work is done. Additionally, it is essential to give employees freedom to collaborate with team members if you're serious about increasing employee engagement. This creates a better atmosphere within your organization, but also results in increased productivity and synergy.

Skill Alignment

Employees are more engaged when their skills and strengths are aligned with their job responsibilities. Employee engagement programs can be used to provide training and development opportunities for employees. While employees get the feeling of being invested in and appreciated, the value of employee development feeds back into your business.

Enablement and Resources

Employees need the right tools, resources, and support to do their jobs effectively. Companies can use employee engagement programs to provide employees with the equipment, training, and support they need to be successful. Furnishing your employees with the right knowledge and resources will improve not just your employee experience, but also your customer experience. You can learn more about the benefits this has for your organization in our article on the service profit chain.

Employee Engagement Ideas

#1 - Implement regular check-ins

Schedule regular check-ins between managers and employees to discuss goals, progress, and any concerns. This can help build a strong relationship between employees and managers, while increasing employee engagement.

#2 - Create a mentorship program

Develop a mentorship program that pairs experienced employees with new hires or employees who want to develop new skills. This can help employees learn and grow while feeling valued and supported.

#3 - Give recognition for innovation

Recognize and reward employees for innovative ideas that improve processes, products, or services. Giving recognition for, and encouraging, qualitative improvements or milestones will give employees a greater reason to engage with your business.

#4 - Encourage employee-led initiatives

Encourage employees to lead initiatives, such as diversity and inclusion programs. Other examples of employee-led initiatives include sustainability efforts, health initiatives, or volunteer programs. Although not directly work-related, this will increase employees' sense of ownership and impact.

#5 - Celebrate workforce diversity

Promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace by hiring a diverse workforce and creating an inclusive culture. Value and respect differences rather than pretending they don't exist, and promote individuality across your employee base. Forcing your employees to fit into a box won't engage them.

#6 - Keep it authentic

When you're giving employees recognition or rewards, or even communicating with them, keep it authentic. Without an authentic approach, you'll never manage to engage employees - even with rewards. If you can't give personal or authentic recognition or rewards on a frequent basis, make it less frequent. It's about quality over quantity here.

#7 - Foster, don't manage

Rather than 'managing' employees and barking orders at them, act as a coach. Foster their talent, furnish them with tools to progress, and give them opportunities to do so. Putting trust in your employees and allowing them to reach their full potential will motivate them more than anything. Plus, your overall productivity will grow while your employees achieve fulfillment.

#8 - Use feedback, don't just collect it

Using employee feedback is different to just sending out a survey. Pulse and sentiment surveys are used extensively in organizations across the world.

But is the feedback used as extensively? It would appear not. If you ask for employee input, there's always an expectation that the feedback will be implemented. Failing to implement feedback is wasteful and leaves employees feeling as though their opinions aren't valued.

#9 - Pay attention to individuals

Your employees are individuals, so treat them as such. This doesn't mean customizing and personalizing every last thing for each respective employee. Rather, it simply means acknowledging that you can't just take a one-size-fits-all approach here. Employee engagement software that allows you to record and analyze employee data will help with this.

#10 - Offer stock options

This may not be an option for every company, but it is a fantastic option to have. Rewarding employees with stock options not only gives them a feeling of involvement and accomplishment.

This also motivates employees far more than regular financial incentives. Why? It gives them even more ownership over both their work and switches their perspective of their job as more long term.

#11 - Directly ask employees for ideas

'Directly' is the operative word in that sentence. Too often, companies ask employees for advice or feedback on current initiatives. What companies should be doing is hosting open feedback opportunities for new ideas - not just feedback on current ideas. This will give employees a feeling of being listened to far greater than when they send back an automated feedback form.

#12 - Avoid strict hierarchies

The greatest barrier to employee engagement is a strict hierarchical structure. Employees will struggle to feel engaged if their input is not valued or not welcome in certain contexts. Opening the door for open communication and flattening your hierarchy drives engagement and makes employees comfortable in contributing ideas. Their ideas may even benefit your organization and lead to efficiencies.

#13 - Live your company culture

Company culture isn't just a list of values you write down once and pull out solely for onboardings. If you claim that you foster a certain culture, you have to live up to it. You must buy into your culture and be deliberate about it. Start initiatives relating to your values and culture, involve people, and live up to expectations.

#14 - Perfect your onboarding process

You don't get a second attempt at first impressions, so make sure you perfect your onboarding process. The onboarding process is the first real experience an employee has with your company. It's your opportunity to make them buy into your company culture, engage with their colleagues, and become productive for your organization. You can boost engagement during the onboarding process and set your employee up for success by involving rewards and gamification.

#15 - Foster a transparent environment

Transparency is very simple if you're transparent from the start. It can be daunting for many companies due to pay or contract differentials, which one can understand. However, keeping your employees in the dark will ultimately leave your employees feeling disengaged and undervalued.

#16 - Have fun

Regardless of all the professional techniques and engagement strategies, having fun at work will boost employee engagement more than anything else. When launching initiatives or thinking of rewards for employees, go beyond just luncheon vouchers. Introduce more fun to your organization with things like happy hour drinks on a Friday evening or fast food Friday lunches.

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