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The 50 Best Employee Engagement Ideas

/ 8.13.18

Most of us are fairly well-versed The-Ultimate-List-of-Employee-Engagement-Ideason the benefits of employee engagement. Engaged employees can increase profitability, decrease turnover and absenteeism, and skyrocket productivity. The tricky part about employee engagement is the action: We might have one or two activities that we think might drive engagement, but after those first few, we run out of ideas for how to engage employees.

 

Well, no more blank minds or I-just-don’t-know-what-to-dos. Not with this list. Read on for 50 employee engagement ideas.

 

This is only part of the ultimate-ness. Want the whole list? Download 200  Employee Engagement Ideas here!

 

Implementing an Engagement Survey

1. Let software do the heavy lifting.

HR has a lot on their plate without the added burden of survey administration and reporting. Use employee engagement software so you can spend more time on positive change with the added benefits of confidentiality, survey methodology expertise, and increased efficiencies.

 

2. Get buy-in.

Buy-in starts at with leadership, but that’s not where it ends. Managers and employees are also critical to a successful employee engagement strategy. To drive buy-in, start with the benefit. How will the program benefit leaders? Managers? Employees? Customize your message and always be selling.

 

 

3. Train your people.

You can’t expect employees to figure out a new engagement strategy on their own. If you’re introducing a new survey tool, expectations, or philosophy, train employees and managers.

 

During the Engagement Survey

4. Make sure you’re actually measuring engagement.

Improving employee engagement is a science — and just because you use a survey to collect feedback from employees doesn’t mean it’s measuring engagement. Many organizations create their own home-brewed surveys; these might be collecting employee feedback, but unless developed by an engagement research professional, it is doubtful that these instruments are truly measuring engagement.

 

5. Keep the survey focused on employee engagement.

Survey what matters most (think actionable survey items about career development, manager effectiveness, or team dynamics instead of 100 survey items about every topic under the sun).  This prevents the employee engagement survey experience from disengaging your employees.

 

6. Collect feedback you can act on.

While this might seem obvious, too many organizations have fallen into the trap of capturing data that isn’t actionable, namely daily sentiment and mood readings. Frequent feedback requests can be annoying, especially when no action is taken. If you want to get feedback more often, administer pulse surveys with a purpose. Innovative organizations conduct pulses two to four times throughout the year to dig deeper into issues that surfaced on their most recent annual initiative while clearly communicating purpose and next steps.

 

After the Engagement Survey

7. Address the results quickly.

The best companies commit to sharing results with the entire workforce in a timely manner. Our experience shows that the best companies send a “thank you for participating” email within 24 hours and a much more detailed announcement with overview results within 30 days.

 

8. Get everyone involved.

Action taken from a survey shouldn’t rest solely on the shoulders of leadership (although they certainly play a critical role in setting expectations). It also shouldn’t be just managers or a certain level of management. The best companies invite all employees to be part of the post-survey process. From hearing results to making commitments, every single employee plays a part in making the culture great.

 

9. Ask for feedback on your survey initiative.

Starting with your second survey, include these items to gauge effectiveness of your roll-out strategy:

  • Senior leadership is committed to responding to the results of this survey.
  • My manager shared the results of the last survey with our team.
  • Our team developed action plans to address issues raised by the last survey's results.
  • I noticed positive change as a result of the last survey.

An Engaging Performance Strategy

10. Communicate, communicate, communicate.

Communication is critical to successful implementation and adoption of performance tools. Employees need to understand the what, where, when, why, and how. Communicate before, during, and after the launch of each tool or feature. And if you think you’ve communicated enough, you probably haven’t.

 

11. Insist on a single solutions.

Find a software that allows users to access all of your performance applications with one login to decrease hassle and increase usage.  Bonus if it connects to your engagement software.

 

12. Integrate with your HRIS.

Relieve the administrative burden of implementing performance management software and make sure your new system integrates with your existing HRIS.

 

Other Office Technology

13. Encourage individuality.

When employees can bring their whole, authentic selves to work, they tend to feel more engaged. Chat apps offer a unique platform where employees can share these personal interests easily, allowing for constant conversations in topic-based rooms. Encourage your employees to create their own unique channels and chatrooms that revolve around their passions outside of the office. From a more pragmatic perspective, you can make it part of your onboarding to recommend or invite employees to special interest channels based on what you learn about them. Or create a list of what chatrooms exist and share it with employees.

 

14. Extend your voice.

Your employer brand voice, look, and feel should be reflected in workplace technology (like in-office messaging apps) to extend the reach of your employee engagement efforts and reinforce your identity. Here are a few quick tips:

  • Brand it: Your organization’s brand has a certain look and feel, so make the communication app you use fit your culture and comply with your brand guidelines.
  • Deliver company news: Create a channel for HR and leadership to use and share vital company information.
  • Echo recognition: When someone has been recognized, share the news through your chat app to increase visibility across departments and virtual teams.

15. Become more accessible.

When employees have questions about things that impact their engagement like benefits, career development, or team dynamics, chat apps can be a great place for them to easily contact others without some of the interpersonal awkwardness that may arise. Quick answers can be delivered, time to talk can be scheduled, and you can direct employees to designated chat spaces with specific questions.

 

Employee Growth

16. Clearly articulate professional development paths.

Today more than ever, offering opportunities for professional development and career growth is critical to engaging and retaining employees. Reassess your employee growth strategy to make sure what you’re offering is engaging and developing employees.

 

17. Ask employees to write their own job description. 

You can do this for the current role and one desired in the future.  This helps highlight what the employee enjoys, what they feel their strengths are, and illustrates how the manager can be a champion. This effort can also help you tailor your employee engagement activities to particular roles, departments, or industries.

 

18. Re-evaluate how you select managers.

Usually managers are chosen based on skill performance only, but ensure that they also have the soft skills needed to coach, invest in, develop, and maximize people. Managers play an integral role in figuring out how to increase employee engagement. 

 

Office Environment

19. Have the right coffee in-stock.

Poll your employees: what coffee do they like to drink? Or do they prefer tea? Cocoa? What type of creamer? This small gesture will go a long way toward ensuring employees are comfortable and functional.

 

20. Choose natural lighting.

Artificial lighting can be detrimental in two ways: it can either be too dim or too harsh. Because the eyes are required to work much harder than usual, dim lighting can cause eye strain, headaches, drowsiness, and lack of focus. Harsh lighting, though opposite of dim lighting, can have many of the same effects. The solution? Natural lighting. Not only does natural lighting make it easier to see, it has also been shown to improve happiness, health, and job satisfaction, all resulting in increased employee performance. If true natural lighting (windows) is an impossibility, consider lamps or bulbs that simulate natural light.

 

21. Make them move.

The placement of your coffee pot and water cooler are essential to a better performing office. Think: what are the routes my employees take every day? Bathroom, coffee pot, and water cooler are the big three. These serve as a way to get employees out of their routine and into more chance encounters. Chance encounters increase organizational familiarity and grease the wheels for creative solution conversations. Additionally, encouraging movement at work can aid in a healthier lifestyle.

 

Remote Employees

22. Take advantage of video conferencing as much as possible.

Schedule staff meetings and incorporate video calls with screen sharing on a regular basis. Video calls should also be encouraged for one-on-one conversations so that different team members foster more familiar relationships.

 

23. Foster social interaction.

Just because your remote workers aren’t located in your geographic area doesn’t mean that they need to be isolated at home. Co-working environments have popped up in various cities and can provide remote employees with social interaction. Such environments are ideal for improving work mentality, fostering innovation, and more. Your normal team building activities for work should also include your remote workers.

 

24. Pay for a visit.

Your remote employees should visit the home office at least several times a year, to cement relationships that are built over the computer.

 

Gig Employees

25. Onboard your contracted employees.

Your gig employees need onboarding, and they need it at a more rapid rate than your average employee. They need to understand what your company does, how your company functions, and what role they play in the strategic plans of the company — this will kick-start their engagement.

 

26. Measure gig employee engagement.

You can’t fix what you don’t understand. While it can be tempting to leave your contract employees out of your annual engagement survey, every single person who works for you should be included. This way, you can understand the unique problems, opportunities, and challenges of that specific population.

 

27. Include gig employees in company milestones.

Gig employees have built your company just like any other employee. Multiple studies have predicted that freelancers will make up at least 40% of the workforce in the next several years, and that population shouldn’t get left out of company milestones. Invite them to your annual holiday party, your regional meetings, and your team lunches. They might not take you up on every invite, but a welcoming environment shows how much you value their contribution.

 

Hourly Employees

28. Be accessible.

Even if employees’ hours don't match up with managers’, there still needs to be face-to-face interaction. How can you invest in different shifts, those who don't usually get the benefit of visible time with managers?

 

29. Host lunches with leadership.

In a large company, and especially when managing multiple shifts, it can be hard for everyone to see and hear consistent messages. Hosting meals with execs provides transparency for both leaders and employees and gives a common space to talk about problems and successes.

 

New Employees

30. Don’t oversell the opportunity.

During the interview stage, did you promise more or better than the reality? New employees will be able to tell in a matter of time, and they’ll jump at the first opportunity to leave. Realistic expectations are the first step in employee retention.

 

 31. Kill the paperwork.

No one wants to spend the first day doing paperwork. See if you can set up the paperwork to be e-signed from home before their first day, or mail them the paperwork and have them do it in the comfort of their own home before they start.

 

Free download! New employee onboarding checklists 

32. Set up a quick win.

Give new hires a real work task to do with a partner or team that can be finished by the end of the day. This will provide a sense of accomplishment and help them start fitting in with the team right away.

 

Exiting Employees

33. Connect your survey data to your turnover data, then pinpoint areas of concern.

First, link an employee’s engagement survey data to turnover data. Make sure to utilize survey software that enables you to match the data sets while protecting employee confidentiality. Then, identify items that most strongly differ between your termed and non-termed employees. Retention opportunities may differ from population to population. If you notice trends among certain groups, follow up with employee focus groups to understand those differences.

 

34. Keep in touch.

Whether you meet once a quarter to catch up, swap holiday cards, or continue to invite them to your annual company event, maintaining a good relationship will do a lot to help your employer brand. It will also show current employees that you value them outside of their employment.

 

Change Management

35. Encourage leaders to take advantage of the failures.

These are critical times where leadership can own up to a bad decision, show vulnerability, and develop employee trust. Don’t gloss over these moments and just move on to solutions. Use change as an opportunity to show that you’re human.

 

36. Clearly define values and recognize employees for them.

When your organization is going through change, it’s important that employees see the organization as a solid entity. There’s no better way to do this than by reinforcing company values.

 

37. Position change management as an ongoing process.

Change management isn’t a ‘point-in-time’ activity that you do once and cross off the list. Make it clear to employees that this will be an organizational journey.

 

Creating a Culture of Engagement

38. Create traditions.

Culture is made up of shared traditions, habits, artifacts, and language. Look for opportunities to create these shared experiences around giving and receiving feedback. At Quantum Workplace, we participate annually in QW Voices, our employee survey and focus group initiative, and monthly GOOD lunches, our manager-employee performance conversations.

 

39. Find your champions.

Make coaches out of the managers who excel at engaging their teams. These are unique individuals who balance investing in people and dominating in their subject matter areas. Help them share their methods with other managers.

 

40. Don't tolerate poor performance.

An organization is only as strong as its weakest link. Employees don’t want to be dragged down by difficult colleagues — they know it will hold them back from achieving their personal and professional goals. An inefficient organization won’t help them shine, and frankly, will be a waste of their time.

 

Giving and Recieving Engaging Feedback

41. Highlight decisions made based on feedback.

When you make a decision or change based on someone’s feedback, let them know. Don’t only focus on communicating the decision or change; focus on the why. “Why did we do this? Because of your feedback.”

 

42. Set the tone from the top.

Like any element that you want to make part of your organizational culture, it starts at the top. Receiving and giving feedback must be modeled. Your leaders must hone these skills and set the example. They must ask for feedback (up and down the hierarchy and sideways) and visibly show that they receive feedback well. And they must do it again and again.

 

43. Make it routine.

When feedback happens routinely, it becomes expected; it integrates into everyday operations; and we get better at it.

 

Communicating for Engagement

44. Ask employees for advice.

Anonymous employee engagement surveys and one-on-one feedback sessions are great outlets for collecting employee feedback. Both are effective modes for targeting organizational and employee issues, such as alignment with goals, personal or professional obstacles, and trust in coworkers and senior leaders. What annual surveys or monthly manager-employees don’t do, however, is allow employees to voice their opinions when it comes to everyday, low-key decisions. Ask your employees for their advice on how to decorate for the office Halloween party, what snacks to provide for happy hour, what color to paint the lobby, etc. Consulting your employees will show you respect their opinions and help you make crowd-pleasing decisions. It’s a win-win.

 

45. Commit to a vision.

Who quits their high school basketball team in the middle of the state playoff game? You’d be hard-pressed to find a single example. Why? Because their vison is staring them straight in the face. They might win, they might lose, but you better believe they’re going stay around until it’s over. To keep employees for the long haul, set a clear vision for individual impact and organizational success.

 

46. Discuss wins and losses in a digestible format.

At the end of every month, have each team provide their wins and losses for that month. Distribute in a company-wide email or newsletter.  This will help employees feel like part of the entire organization team while keeping the focus on company goals.

 

Rewarding Extras

47. Recognize the entire family.

Perks at the office are great, but find perks that impact the entire family of an employee. This will help employees know you truly care about their whole person and the things that matter to them. (Think zoo passes, day care partnerships, care packages when a baby arrives, etc.)

 

48. Celebrate people (not just accomplishments).

You know how important it is to recognize employees for a job well done. But have you ever thought about recognizing your people instead of their work accomplishments? (And we don’t mean saying, “You’re great, Bob,” instead of “Nice work, Bob.”) We’re talking about recognizing who your people are and any milestones they might encounter outside of work, like birthdays, community awards, graduations, or weddings. Get ideas on how to recognize your people in our ebook, 40 Ways to Show Love to Your Employees.

 

Getting Social

49. Rotate team activity choices.

Engaging employees doesn’t mean forgetting how to have fun at work. Each month your team should get together to enjoy the success (or failures) of the past month. Engage your colleagues in this monthly endeavor by making sure they get a say in the activity. Switch it up between happy hours, lunches, boardgame afternoons, athletic events, etc.

 

50. Start a fantasy sports league.

There are many ways to increase employee engagement that don't cost a fortune. Fantasy leagues create a common experience for employees to talk about.

 

 

Whew! You made it through FIFTY employee engagement ideas!

But what did you say? It’s still not enough ideas for you?

If you’re ready for the whole enchilada, click the button below to download!

 

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