19 employee engagement strategies that actually work
Why are employee engagement strategies so important?
When an employee is engaged, they genuinely want to see the organisation succeed. They will work hard to produce work at a high standard, they are motivated, and they will go above and beyond for the business.
A company with flourishing employee engagement strategies is an environment where employees are happy, productive and passionate. This creates not only higher quality output, but also more satisfied customers - and who doesn’t want that?
19 employee engagement strategies and ideas for your business
If you want to reap the benefits, try these simple, yet effective ideas to boost employee engagement and see how your team reacts.
1. Support personal growth and encourage learning
Growth and development are the basis of every career. When employees think they’ve got everything they can out of their role, they switch off and start to look for new challenges elsewhere. This means that one of the most important aspects of employee engagement is ensuring that your staff feel that they are constantly growing, learning and facing new challenges.
You can either offer a learning budget, encourage teams to attend conferences, offer coaching and courses, or allow time for personal development during the workweek. One thing remains the same: when you prioritise growth and encourage learning, employees will be more invested in finding different ways to apply newly learned theories and test more skills.
2. Keep company values at the base of everything you do
In life, if we have the same goals and values as someone else, we feel more connected to them. The same is true in work. Place clear and strong values at the base of your company and hire people who match and embody these.
Not only should you hire for these values, they should also be incorporated into all the different areas of your organisation. For example, discussing and working towards these in performance reviews or team recognition sessions will make employees more engaged with the things that make your company unique.
3. Clarify goals and responsibilities
Confusion over what individual roles actually entail is another big factor in falling engagement levels. It’s vital to clarify the goals and responsibilities of each team member because if an employee doesn’t understand something or doesn’t feel that they own the task, they won’t be fully engaged in it.
If you start a new project or assign someone to a new task, explain what this task adds towards and why you think they are the best person for the job. In the long run, more explanation in the beginning will lead to better engagement and greater ownership of tasks in the future.
4. Perfect the onboarding process
In the hiring process, you’ve most likely been looking for someone with the skills and enthusiasm to do the job in hand. But if, some time down the line, it seems that your new hires have lost their energy and are no longer engaged, then the onboarding process can often provide the answers.
From the minute they are hired, companies need to work to engage employees. A strong onboarding process should include a thorough introduction to the company and, if possible, elearnings, modules or training videos. By getting a real feel for the company and seeing how the business’ values tie into everyday life, new employees can get excited and feel a connection to the company before they have even walked through the door on their first day.
5. Keep an open conversation and frequently give feedback
Waiting an entire year for feedback can also promote disengagement and employees may have left before the communication has even been opened. Although as manager, it can often feel difficult to give feedback, at the end of the day your employees want to grow and develop and they can only do this if you give, collect and act on feedback. This is essential to maintaining long-term engaged employees.
6. Don’t overwork your employees
We know that all work and no play makes for a dull life. But not only that, it will most likely lead to a serious case of burnout. To ensure that employees stay motivated, it’s vital that a good work/life balance is maintained and encouraged by the company. This gives time to recharge and be ready to come back into work and tackle a new day with a fresh mind.
7. Encourage staff to work on pet projects
Everyone has different things they’re passionate about and would love to spend more time on. Allow employees time to work on their passions and take ownership of their projects. This will get them engaged in the work and excited about how it benefits the wider company. These projects should contribute to the overall goal of your organisation, but be independently managed by one or a small group of your employees.
Your team will feel super engaged in their pet project as they will be passionate about the work, whilst the results may also provide a valuable solution or idea that could transform your business.
8. Ask employees for advice
Every single member of your team has unique strengths - so use them. As a manager, by asking an employee for help, it shows that you acknowledge their strengths and appreciate them. You will make them feel more engaged, valued and included in the business by showing them that you feel they have something to offer that no one else can.
9. Make wellbeing a priority
When you are healthy in both mind and body, you are more likely to be productive and engaged in day-to-day activities. When not feeling at their best, employees will become stressed and unmotivated. Employees need to have a balance in their life, and good health should always be kept as a priority.
Offering ways of managing wellness, such as the discounted gym memberships available on our Perks platform, will help to boost engagement levels. Good mental and physical wellbeing means that when employees are in work, they will be focused and working at their best.
10. Encourage employees to speak freely
If employees feel that they can’t openly share their thoughts, they may be holding back valuable ideas that could help to push your company and plans forward. Make it known that you encourage employees to speak their minds. Show that you respect their thoughts and follow up on them, and they will be more committed to engage in conversation and share their ideas in the future.
11. Give recognition
Employees need to know that leaders see and recognise a job well done. We are all busy and sometimes it can feel that you don’t get the recognition you deserve for the hard work you put in. As a solution, we created Perkbox Recognition, a simple and easy way to showcase great contributions.
This isn’t just for managers - the platform allows everyone in the company to recognise each others’ hard work and communicate their accomplishments, no matter the size or significance. This ensures that employees are engaged as a team in recognising the efforts of their colleagues, as well as working hard to achieve their own goals. The tool also allows users to set polls to reward and incentivise each other’s accomplishments, and promote a sense of friendly competition between colleagues.
If you want to go one step further, you can set polls in line with company goals and values, and endorse specifically valued contributions to the company ethos. When work is really outstanding and deserving of a material reward, you can choose from a range of rewards, within a budget that suits you. Regardless, whether it’s a verbal or physical reward, by giving and receiving recognition, it keeps employees engaged as they know that their hard work is appreciated around the company.
12. Measure output, not input
Time spent at a desk doesn’t necessarily equal time spent doing work. Move away from measuring success based on how long has been spent on the task and focus on measuring what's produced instead. This shows that you really value the work being done, rather than simply the impression of work. Employees will be more engaged if they know that their work is measured based on quality and the results that this brings, rather than time spent doing it.
13. Ensure that everyone is satisfied in their role
Ensure that your employees have all they need at work. This includes all the tools and resources they need to do their job, but also more simple things, such as a comfortable workspace. You can find out if your employees are satisfied through pulse surveys with Perkbox Insights, as the confidential questions allow employees to be completely honest in their feedback and let you know if they feel that anything is lacking. If people are satisfied and don’t believe that other options are available to them, they will be fully committed to the role.
14. Don’t be afraid of failure
If you don’t try, you don’t fail. But if you don’t experiment (which will inevitably include some elements of failure), then it’s unlikely that new ideas or innovation will occur. Make it accepted in the workplace that not every experiment will be a complete success. Openly share failures - discuss why it was good to try this, talk about what went wrong and how everyone can learn from it. By putting failures out there, it shows that it's okay to try, allowing employees to fully engage and experiment in their tasks without fear.
15. Focus on building relationships between teams
We spend more time with the people we work with, than we do with our friends and families, so it’s important that everyone gets along, from Sally in IT to Paul in HR. Encourage collaboration between teams and set a goal so that everyone can contribute - this will help to build friendships at work. Building strong connections means that people will work more easily and fluidly together. We are more honest with people that we have a close relationship with, and individuals will be more engaged and enthusiastic about reaching joint goals as they won’t want to let team members down.
16. Make sure work isn’t ‘all work and no play’
Of course, work needs to get done, but there should always be room for some fun at work too. Designate areas in the workspace for fun, not work, and this will help to bring out the creativity and build communication in your team. Here at Perkbox, we have ping pong and a pool table to provide some downtime and allow us to reset when we need it. If you can’t change the break room, organise team building activities or plan an event to get everyone together outside of work - you’ll notice the impact of a little light release when employees are back at their desks.
17. Lead by example
Why would an employee be engaged if those above them aren’t? If employees can see that managers and leaders are passionate, motivated and engaged with their work, then it creates an environment where they will be inspired to do the same. Lead by example and passion should follow.
18. Allow some flexibility
Management should never be about watching and controlling someone’s every move. Great managers hold their employees accountable while also giving them the flexibility to work in a way that works for them, as long as they are producing results.
Everyone is different and has different styles of working, so whether you give flexibility in the form of allowing employees to work from home or work at the hours that work best for them, it can make a big difference to employee performance and engagement. As long as the work is getting done, then how it’s getting done shouldn’t be the main concern.
19. Set achievable targets
When faced with a task that seems too big, too complicated or simply unachievable, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and disengaged. Why bother when you feel like you won’t be able to achieve it anyway? Set realistic and achievable targets so when employees reach these one by one, they will feel a sense of accomplishment and look forward to reaching the next target. Make sure that you update targets regularly to keep employees feeling challenged.
Employee engagement strategies are an important part of your overall employee experience. Confused about where they fit in and what else your company should be on top of? No worries! Read Your Ultimate Guide to a Killer Employee Experience to learn more about employee engagement strategies.