Employee engagement strategies

Best practices and activities


Employee engagement strategy

Developing employee engagement requires a concrete strategy.

Once you have given an employee engagement survey and identified the areas in which your organization needs to improve, the next step is to develop a strategy for doing so.

What actions you can take will depend on the size and budget of your organization, but no matter the level, there are concrete actions that your organization can undertake to improve employee engagement.

There are seven main areas that have the most impact on employee engagement:

  1. Work-life balance
  2. Communication and goal setting
  3. Organizational transparency
  4. Autonomy and challenge
  5. Rewards and recognition
  6. Training and learning opportunities
  7. Compensation and benefits

Depending on the results of your employee engagement survey, there will be certain areas in which your organization will want to focus on.

Selecting two or three which are the most urgent is a good place to start.

Employee engagement action plan

After your organization has chosen the areas in which you will focus, it is time to develop an employee engagement action plan.

It is not enough to simply say that you want to improve rewards and recognition, you must develop concrete, actionable steps to do so. This is done by creating initiatives.

For example, if an organization wants to focus on training and learning opportunities, here is how they could develop an action plan:

  1. Organizational leadership decides which area they would like to focus on. In this example, it is training and learning opportunities.
  2. Leadership would then decide who is responsible for leading the action plan. This should be a team from different levels of the organization, ideally made up of employees who show a high level of engagement already. This is a good opportunity to develop leadership skills in employees and to show that their contributions are valuable.
  3. Leadership should agree on a budget, timeline, and meeting schedule for this team. Desired results should be clearly laid out, so that the team has a clear mandate for what they should achieve.
  4. A team is gathered, instructed, and asked to develop a plan. They present this plan to the leadership, with the steps that they will take to achieve their results. For example, they might develop an initiative for upskilling employees by pairing them with senior members of their team. They could recommend using a talent development platform, researching which platforms would work for this purpose, showing a timeline, expected costs, and projecting what the outcome of this initiative would be.
  5. The leadership team will adopt this plan, or make adjustments to it based on organizational needs and goals. The budget is approved, and the timeline is set.
  6. As the team proceeds with this process, there will be regular presentations to the leadership to update on progress, make necessary adjustments, and expand the program, if needed.

Laying out a clear path to how this initiative will be achieved is the best way to ensure its success.

Employee engagement best practices

These ideas and best practices will help you construct your employee engagement action plan and effectively implement it in your organization.

1. Think holistically

Given how much time is spent at work, it’s no surprise that employees want their workplace to be a pleasant one.

This covers everything from the space in which they work to the small perks like coffee and snacks.

  • What are the features of the work environment that you can control?
  • Are there ways that you can make the working space a nicer place to be?

Changing the environment to better suit your employees shows them that you value their comfort.

2. Emphasize respect

This approach is all about the individual value that each person brings to the organization.

You want your employees to feel that both their opinion and work is respected.

An engaged employee is one who is willing to come to their leadership team with their opinion, even if that opinion is negative, because they know that they will be listened to.

This is the best way for organizations to quickly learn where issues are, but will only happen if the employees know that there are no negative repercussions for speaking out.

3. Recognize achievement often and loudly

If an employee feels that their work is not properly recognized, they will quickly lose engagement. What is the point of working hard if no one cares?

This doesn’t mean that each time a project is completed successfully that your organization should be giving out cash prizes, even a simple announcement at a weekly meeting can be enough to energize an employee and make them feel valued.

Management teams should focus on recognizing individual achievements regularly.

4. Increase transparency

It’s no good to work behind the scenes to increase engagement, employees should be updated often about what their leadership is up to.

Using strategies like all-organization meetings, weekly team updates and newsletters, an organization can let employees know that they are taking employee well-being seriously, and are working to make the organization a better place.

Employees will become more engaged simply by knowing that their leadership values them and is working to make the organization a better place.

5. Show employees that you listen

If you want truly engaged employees, your organization has to make the action a priority.

If there are complaints, there should also be solutions proposed and acted upon by the organization.

If employees feel like their complaints, suggestions and thoughts on improvement fall upon deaf ears, they will quickly stop trying to engage.

6. Help your employees understand their role in the organization

A key part of an employee’s engagement is the feeling that their actions help the organization achieve its goals.

To help employees better understand how they contribute, make sure that they understand their role, and how that role is a key part of the overall organization. No matter their specific job, each person contributes to an organization’s success, and from day one, employees should understand their contribution.

7. Empower your managers to coach

Your managers are on the front line of empowering and engaging their teams.

Their role should be one of coaching, advising and nurturing their employee’s growth, rather than simply managing. When you have engaged managers, their employees will respond in the same way.

Employee engagement activities

There are plenty of ways that leadership teams can energize and engage employees. These can range from in-office activities to group expeditions, and, depending on your organization, different ones will be effective.

  1. Have your employees write their own job descriptions.
    Ask them to define their role, and have them carve out some areas in which they would like to take on responsibility. This will give you critical insight on how you can develop that employee, and they get a feeling of ownership over their role.
  2. Have the leadership team turn to employees for advice.
    Upper management shouldn’t be too far removed from employees, and the pride of being asked for help, and being listened to, by upper management can give a real boost to employees. Not only that, you might discover some hidden talents or skills amongst employees that could help the organization. It’s crucial that the advice given is advice followed in this case, you want to demonstrate that employees are heard.
  3. Make sure to create the space inside the office to celebrate work achievements, birthdays, special occasions, and to give exiting employees a proper send-off. Create an organizational culture that celebrates individuals, makes time for fun, and holds people in the spotlight to reward their contributions.
  4. Use out of office activities to activate engagement.
    Escape rooms have become a particularly popular one for smaller teams, as they promote teamwork in a fun, dynamic environment. Team-building activities can be done on a variety of levels, from organizational camping trips to volunteer work, and there are many opportunities to create out of office opportunities for employee engagement.
  5. Start a mentorship program.
    Employees that receive training and skill development feel more valued by their company and will be more engaged. Encouraging upskilling and cross-training will benefit both the company and the employees greatly.
  6. Promote from within.
    If an employee sees a clear path to career opportunities within their organization, they will be much less likely to look elsewhere for them. Show that your organization recognizes the value of its own employees by promoting from within the company whenever possible.
  7. Encourage health, wellness, and charitable actions.
    A healthy business needs a healthy workforce and community. Giving employees access to gyms, green space, even massage therapists can dramatically improve engagement. Try organizing company-wide charitable actions to improve teamwork and community engagement.