People talk a lot about company culture being dead. But the fact is that investing in the employee experience is still important. When you create an environment where people want to contribute to your company’s successes by experimenting with different employee engagement ideas, workplace satisfaction goes up, people are motivated to over deliver, and productivity soars.
That said, keeping employees engaged isn’t always easy. It can actually be a real struggle. Disengaged workers spend more time out sick, are less productive, leave more frequently, make more mistakes, and under deliver. Engaged employees, on the other hand, are more loyal, more productive, less likely to make costly errors, give better customer service, and sell more.
Before we start sharing our 71 favorite employee engagement ideas, however, we want to make something clear. Employee engagement is not the same thing as employee happiness or satisfaction. It would make your employees happy if you bought them all brand new company cars or cracked open a keg every Friday, but that wouldn’t necessarily make them more committed to your company goals. Employees are satisfied when a workplace is just a little better than that of a competitor — which is a pretty low bar.
Real engagement is about commitment and drive. When an employee is truly engaged, they care about the company’s success almost as much as they care about their own work. They like the paycheck they get, but that’s not the only reason they show up to work in the morning. They also feel as though they have a part to play in the company’s wins. Here’s how to inspire those feelings in your workforce:
Make work matter
1. Be authentic
Attracting great candidates shouldn’t mean putting on a show. Many companies showcase the perks they offer during interviews when they ought to be telling candidates about the company’s values and vision.
2. Proactively inspire loyalty
Do your employees feel a connection to your company? Do they care about your mission? When they feel like their contributions really and truly matter, they will be motivated to work hard and stick around when the going gets tough.
3. Establish a core company philosophy
When it comes to employee engagement ideas, this one is easy to implement in theory but very few companies actually put it into practice. Understand and share what your company cares about (besides profit), and your employees will naturally take more pride in their work.
4. Determine department values
How do your customer service representatives put your company’s core philosophy into practice? How does marketing do it? Or accounting? Help workers in every department understand what makes the work they do so important, and they’ll naturally feel more engaged.
5. Assign team values, too
Teams that are given a chance to build a unique identity are more cohesive. Ask teams to create their own values based on your core philosophy, and watch dedication levels soar.
6. Know your UVP
What makes your company different? What sets it apart from the competition. Your employees need to know that they are working for a firm that has a unique value proposition and something to offer beyond just a product or a service.
7. Have a long-term vision
According to the Society for Human Resource Management’s annual Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement survey, 77% of employees believe that understanding a company’s vision for the future is a very important facet of job satisfaction.
8. Hire for fit
The best candidate on paper may not be the right one when it comes to your company culture. Remember that skills can be learned, but attitude rarely changes. Make sure your hires are a good fit values-wise. Never fill a role out of desperation.
Communicate more effectively
9. Look for communications challenges
Employee engagement is closely linked to communication. The best way to ensure that your internal communications strategy is a strong one is to take a long, hard look at it. What does your company do well? Where are there gaps in your internal comms?
10. Put everything in one place
Keeping as much information as possible in Blink’s employee app means everyone in your company can find the resources and information they need whenever and wherever they need them. Finding things more easily = less frustration, meaning more engagement.
11. Set clear goals
Employees who understand what’s expected of them can deliver more value. Blink’s custom feeds help individual employees feel more connected to your organizational goals by giving them a clearer path to success.
12. Create stronger connections in and across teams
Make inter-team collaboration as easy as possible and you’ll see productivity go up. Blink lets your employees collaborate closely within their own teams and across departments.
13. Be totally transparent
Employees are more connected and more committed when they know the direction your company is taking, how it is succeeding, and what challenges it is facing. Having this information makes them feel like a part of something bigger than themselves.
14. Give employees a voice
A lot of employees feel uneasy about speaking up, whether that means sharing an idea or offering up a critique of someone else’s idea, a process, or a timeline. Make sure your company culture encourages employees to speak up.
15. Give constant feedback
Receiving feedback can be scary for employees, but you can take away some of the negative associations’ workplace feedback has by offering up more of it. When feedback isn’t just negative, but also positive and neutral, employees will welcome it more and continue to grow in their roles.
16. Request feedback
Let your employees give the leadership team feedback and really listen to what they have to say. This is one of the fastest ways to find out if whether there are gaps in your internal comms or if employees feel dissatisfied.
17. Actually act on feedback
Not acting on employee feedback makes workers feel like they don’t matter, so commit to giving serious thought to making the kinds of changes that your workforce says it wants.
18. Spend more time with employees
If you’re holed up in your office all day, you can’t get a feel for how engaged your employees really are. Email exchanges aren’t a good enough indicator of how workers are truly feeling. You need to actually talk to them — about work and about non-work subjects.
19. Create an informal company-wide flyer or chat
This shouldn’t be written from the top down or overseen by human resources. Instead, put together a team of employees who are up to the task of creating something fun and engaging. Blink can help you share these flyers or chats with everyone at the company.
20. Listen more often
If you have vital information to share with employees, commit to putting that in each employee’s Blink feed and then use face to face time to really listen to their feedback on important changes. They’ll appreciate that you’ve given them that time.
21. Get some facetime in
Knowing that management is always accessible on certain days and at certain times ensures that employees – especially deskless workers or workers in the field – never feel forgotten. Employees can bring up issues, pitch new ideas, ask for support, or just reconnect.
22. Always communicate the benefits
Adopting technology for technology’s sake causes employee frustration. They have to use it, but they don’t know why. Make sure you explain why new technology is being implemented and how it will make working there better before you make the switch. When employees see the benefits, the change will go much more smoothly.
23. Choose new tech wisely
Research shows that a majority of workers who have access to great technology at work also report feeling engaged at their jobs. Blink’s employee engagement app integrates your existing tech into one easy-to-use platform.
24. Send out an employee survey
One of the easiest ways to get honest feedback is to send out a survey that employees can take anonymously. That way, they don’t have to worry that sharing their feelings will result in negative consequences. With Blink, you can easily create polls and surveys that close the feedback loop.
25. Eliminate interruptions
Pulling employees away from their vital tasks leaves them frustrated and disengaged. Blink lets you curate and disseminate information in ways that respect your workforce’s valuable time.
26. Invest in collaboration tools
Teamwork is engaging — and valuable! One Nielsen report found that ideas developed by groups of three or more people were more than twice as appealing to consumers than ideas that were developed by just one or two people.
27. Gamify communication
An employee app like Blink can be so beneficial to engagement because it works as a social media tool, rewarding people for their engagement and motivating them to do more.
28. Encourage BYOD
The bring your own device movement is not only a money-saver, but also an engagement booster because it lets employees work on the devices they feel most comfortable using instead of forcing them to use equipment they don’t like.
Have more fun
29. Help employees develop social connections
Employees who feel a connection with one another will feel more connected to the company as a whole. Make sure you occasionally give employees the opportunity to spend time together outside of work during the regular work day.
30. Make your company feel more like a community
Passive social activities can also help employees feel more engaged. Video games in the breakroom and communal seating in the lunchroom will encourage workers to gather together.
31. Have break room theme days
As employee engagement ideas go, this one is fairly easy to implement, and you can even tie it to a charitable cause. When people have a chance to get silly and show a little personality, they’ll be more likely to bond with coworkers.
32. Engage people with food
You can do this in a few ways. Maybe you have a weekly catered lunch that provides a little treat to your employees during their lunch breaks. Another option is hosting a quarterly chili cook off or guacamole making contest. When people gather for food, they’re going to share ideas and connect with their colleagues.
Help employees grow
33. Make sure you’re sharing educational opportunities
As employee engagement ideas go, video games and free lunches are good, but opportunities for growth are definitely better. Blink’s app lets you communicate opportunities for professional development to the right people at the right time.
34. Communicate your support for ongoing education
Make sure your workforce knows that you will support them in their efforts to learn new skills or get new certifications. Your employees will be more likely to sign up for educational opportunities if they know they will be given the time to take full advantage of them.
35. Offer coaching
One of the easiest ways to boost employee engagement is to build up employee confidence. Coaching sessions, whether led by management or by someone in your organization who has specific skills they’d like to share, can help make motivated employees even more valuable.
36. Promote and pay for specific courses
Are you investing in your team? Employees are less likely to sign up for skill-building courses if they have to pay for them — even if it’s clear you’ll reimburse them after the fact. When the company finds, shares, and pays for relevant courses, workers are more likely to take them.
37. Keep setting challenges
Employees can’t celebrate their successes if they don’t have benchmarks to hit, so make sure you’re regularly setting new challenging goals (weekly, monthly, and yearly) in all departments.
38. Encourage side projects
Google is famous for giving employees the freedom to devote 20% of their work time to side projects. The caveat here is that side projects should be beneficial to the company, but the larger point is that letting employees think and act creatively encourages engagement.
39. Promote from within
As mentioned above, skills can be learned. Make a point of promoting exceptionally driven employees and you’ll see other workers start going above and beyond.
40. Let workers move laterally, too
Do you suspect that an employee on one team might be more invested and more engaged in another department? Or has an employee expressed that they’d like to try working on another team? Helping employees find what they are passionate about can help you retain talent.
41. Encourage networking
Connections between employees on different teams and between employees and people from other industries can lead to profitable innovations.
42. Remove roadblocks to success
Engagement dips when employees feel like they have to fight just to get the bare minimum done. When the information they need is in one place, their goals are clearly defined, and when they get their questions answered quickly (the way they can in Blink), they can over deliver.
43. Start learning clubs
Less formal than courses, learning clubs promote engagement by giving workers with specific skills a way to share that expertise with their colleagues. These sessions can include work-related skill-building and fun learning experiences. DJ class, anyone?
44. Offer more than money
Bonuses are good, but you should also be investing in your most driven employees. Make sure that your best performers are acknowledged for their passionate support of your company and are given educational opportunities, passes to conferences, and other incentives to keep the momentum up.
45. Host an awards evening
Most people like receiving awards — especially when they receive them in front of a large group, a la the Oscars. Giving out annual or quarterly awards can motivate acknowledgement-driven employees to go above and beyond. You can boost engagement even further by asking employees to nominate their colleagues for awards.
46. Promote praise
Make praise an important part of your company culture at all levels. Give workers a forum where they can acknowledge the accomplishments of their colleagues or give a shoutout to a coworker who was particularly helpful.
47. Celebrate everyone’s wins
There’s no I in team! When one member of a team hits a goal, treat it like a win for the whole team and have a mini party.
48. Celebrate failure, too
This may seem counterintuitive at first, but you have to remember that failure only happens when your employees are trying new things or taking risks. Your employees will be more engaged if they know that they won’t be penalized if a plan doesn’t pan out.
Build more cohesive teams
49. Take team photos
And then hang them where people will see them. Make them creative; you can even turn photo day into a competition to promote team pride. When employees are reminded that they are part of something bigger than themselves, they’ll be more likely to think outside the box.
50. Organize team building activities
This is one of the most old school employee engagement ideas, but team building still works. Trust falls are out, and hanging out is in. Just don’t ask employees to sacrifice personal time. Schedule team building activities during work hours to get the most mileage out of them.
51. Get to know your teammates/employees
Employees who make solid connections at work are more engaged, which means you can promote engagement just by expressing an interest in who your teammates and employees are outside of the office.
52. Trigger a little team rivalry
While you shouldn’t create an adversarial environment at your company (one of the fastest ways to drive down engagement levels), a little rivalry driven by competition can definitely boost both cohesiveness and effectiveness within those teams.
Promote work-life balance
53. Acknowledge that achieving it is tough
A company’s needs and an employee’s needs won’t always overlap, but you can go a long way toward giving your workforce a better experience by simply acknowledging that employees are people with lives outside of the office and being understanding when employees need personal time.
54. Make shift changes easier
Would you rather employees lose an entire day of work when there’s a minor emergency, or just an hour or two? Companies that make it easy for employees to request shift changes don’t have to worry that workers will check out for the entire day. You might even get more than you bargained for out of it.
55. Support volunteerism
Just like your company has its core values, your employees have some of their own. Support them, either by giving workers time and space to volunteer or by hosting company-wide volunteering events.
56. Help employees stay healthier
How much productivity is lost to illness each year? A lot. You can reduce lost time due to illness by promoting a culture of wellness (physical and mental) in your workplace so there are no engagement interruptions.
57. Don’t penalize sick time
A sick employee won’t be truly engaged in their work and may get colleagues sick, too. Make it a company-wide policy that if an employee is sick, they should stay home.
58. Encourage employees to take PTO
They’ve earned it, so they should never be worried that using it will have negative consequences. Be sure employees feel good about using their earned vacation time.
59. Don’t expect a 24/7 connection
Your employees will feel a stronger sense of connection when they can disengage regularly. Be respectful of your employees’ time off and trust that they will catch up quickly when they return from days off or vacations.
60. Model change
If you’re modeling an always-on, 24/7 connection, consider taking a step back and trying to achieve some work-life balance for yourself. When employees and colleagues see you embracing work-life balance, they’ll be more likely to do the same.
Motivate, Motivate, Motivate
61. Experiment with new incentives
Are your performance incentives what employees really want? Why not try offering some fresh incentives and see whether productivity goes up as a result?
62. Bring in motivational speakers
You can get employees jazzed about their work again by bringing in regular motivational speakers or planning creativity workshops that will leave them feeling focused and ready to dig into whatever is on their plates.
63. Send out Monday Motivation
Use Blink’s feed to shoot out weekly quotes, songs, videos, and other fun stuff that will banish the Monday Blues and get people energized for the week ahead.
Optimize the onboarding process
64. Welcome new hires the right way
An excited and engaged new hire can quickly turn disillusioned if onboarding takes too long, is too tedious, or they have to figure out what to do and when with no help whatsoever. New hires are more productive more quickly when you automate the onboarding process with an app like Blink.
65. Assign a mentor for new hires
Let a more senior employee or an experienced team member show your new hire the ropes. Chances are that in the process, they’ll make them feel welcome and excited about their new position.
66. Give new hires bonding time
Feeling alone is not great for engagement, so do everything you can to help new hires feel connected. Make sure that they have a chance to meet their colleagues when they’re onboarding.
Improve the work environment
67. Create an atmosphere of positivity
Is your company culture friendly? It should be. One of the simplest employee engagement ideas to implement is to promote friendliness. Are there things you can change about your processes, your environment, or your day to day schedule that might make employees happier and friendlier?
68. Have some distractions handy
The now infamous office foosball table exists for a reason. It’s a place where employees can play with one another and get lost in a game — which is one of the ways people come up with creative ideas to diminish tough challenges.
69. Respect employee schedules
You probably can’t accommodate every employee’s schedule when you’re planning events, classes, training sessions, and meetings, but if you don’t know those schedules, you won’t be able to accommodate anyone, and everyone will feel disgruntled.
70. Be flexible
What’s more important: an employee’s overall performance and ability to deliver or how long they’re standing behind a counter each day? Operate on the assumption that your workforce is made up of responsible adults who deserve some control over their working lives, and you’ll see engagement go up.
71. Form a workplace design committee
Your workforce knows how they’d like to work, so why not give them some control over their environment? You might not be able to implement every design they come up with, but you can take their ideas into consideration when making changes to your workspace or at least the breakroom.
There are no one size fits all solutions
Remember that fostering employee engagement isn’t just about making a few changes here and there, but rather about considering the entire employee experience. Your goal shouldn’t be to increase employee output, though that will happen naturally. Instead, you should think about ways you can continue to inspire loyalty in your talent pool.
There’s no one simple solution. Technology like Blink makes it easier to give your workforce the tools it needs to succeed, but it can’t do everything. You just have to keep testing new employee engagement ideas until you find the ones that are right for your company and your workforce.
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