10 employee engagement ideas that work
When it comes to employee engagement, there’s no single approach that will work for every business. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution. That’s because every business is unique, with its own brand, culture, structure and mix of employees. However, there are many proven strategies that will get results and make a noticeable difference to your organisation.
We have included some of the very best employee engagement ideas. Pick the ones that best suit your business and work them together to improve employee engagement to retain your workforce.
1. Start with a plan
Why? A defined employee engagement strategy is the blueprint guiding you to success
Start as you mean to go on. With a detailed outline that defines your business goals in communicating with staff and plans the activities required to achieve these goals.
What is employee engagement, as applies to your business? Do you need your staff to be able to adapt to upcoming change? Or maybe you need your employees to work better together as a team? Every organisation has different challenges to face and this will affect the strategy you decide on.
Once you have your plan, it will be need to be executed. Make sure you have all the resources in place. Then pack your plan with creative employee engagement ideas to get your staff fired up with energy and enthusiasm.
2. Connect the silos across your organisation
Why? When all employees feel aligned, it leads to a sense of engagement
So often, that “information is power” attitude manifests itself as a reluctance to share and interact. Suddenly silos are popping up all over the place. According to a Queens University study , 39% of employees are feeling the impact of a lack of collaboration.
This becomes more prevalent the larger your organisation becomes. If you open a new office or start franchising out your brand, it becomes harder to maintain business alignment.
The key to effective employee engagement is to ensure that everyone knows what the right direction is (the goal) and what their part is in getting there (their role). Everyone needs a view of the bigger picture.
Source: Queens University - Communicating in the workplace
3. Inform your audience
Why? A steady flow of information helps to connect directors with those at the coalface
The best employee engagement improvement ideas always start with information. You need to create free flowing channels of information to share the strategic direction and company vision.
Directors make decisions on how to run a company daily and employees are the ones who live and breathe the impact of these decisions. Without understanding the what and the why, employees risk not feeling engaged at work.
An employee app is an ideal way to centralise communications. Instead of using disparate channels from a number of sources, you can keep the news relevant and on brand, and essentially, easy to access from one central hub.
4. Listen to your people
Why? Engagement starts with a feeling of inclusion. Listening shows you care.
Implement an employee listening strategy by allowing your employees to voice their opinions. It’s a great way to check the pulse of what matters at the coalface of your business. However, it’s a sad truth that only 30% of staff feel like their voices are heard .
In this age of social media, people now expect to be able to engage in a two-way conversation. This presents an interesting challenge for internal communicators, especially given that many organisations haven’t yet adopted this type of channel internally.
Fortunately, an Employee Engagement App will have these two-way channels built in, easily facilitating the flow of feedback. By opening up channels for discussion – in the right forum and on the right topics – you can go a long way towards improving employee engagement and creating a collaborative workplace.
Source: Gallup 2017 - How to Create a Culture of Psychological Safety
5. Create trust
Why? Employees need to know you are offering an unbiased source of information
Trust needs to come from all levels of the organisation. Leaders need to trust Internal Communications to get things right; to understand when a business can and can’t be open and honest. And employees need to trust Internal Communications to be an unbiased source of information and a conduit for their feedback.
Consider providing stakeholder management training. More so than in other roles, the internal communications team may have to discuss or offer a counter opinion to senior leaders. They need to understand how to do this tactfully and respectfully.
That way, internal communications teams can create effective forums for employee engagement, based on truth and business strategy.
Source: Gatehouse - State of the Sector 2018
6. Be data-driven
Why? Employee engagement strategies need to demonstrate a return on investment
When it comes to ideas for employee engagement programmes, finding a way to show an impact on the bottom line should always be on your list.
This can be a major challenge for something as conceptual as employee engagement. A lack of clear objectives within the organisation creates a grey area that is at risk of being filled with well-intentioned, but ineffective, activity. The fact that 60% of communicators don’t measure the effectiveness of their activity  demonstrates the low priority this is often given.
Determining deliverables is the first step to building a strategic mindset. When it comes to employee engagement, deliverables include everything from feedback and recognition to internal relationships and happiness levels. Don’t forget to measure personal growth and job satisfaction, key components to high engagement levels.
A clear, measurable business strategy should be easy to interpret at all levels of the organisation.
Source: Veronika Mazour - How to measure your internal communications’ effectiveness?
7. Focus on long-term success
Why? Measuring employee engagement should never be a one-time event
Once you have your deliverables in place and you’ve set up monitoring actions, keep going. Whether your deliverables are briefings, channel management, or surveys, you should automate processes where possible to help streamline the department. Employee engagement ROI should be a vital part of your business objectives.
In addition, whenever you launch new employee engagement ideas, it’s essential to get feedback to see if they have worked. You may find that they did, or you may find that they didn’t go far enough. Your plan may improve engagement in one department or section but uncover issues in another.
So, in addition to regularly surveying employees, set up a dashboard to track vital success metrics. Make it easy for yourself - an employee engagement platform will have these dashboards built in and ready to use.
Source: Gatehouse - The definitive survey of the Employee Engagement and Internal Communication landscape 2018
8. Create employee advocates
Why? A genuinely engaged employee is always the best ambassador for your brand
Brands are increasingly turning to their employees as advocates of their products and services. Nurturing brand advocates internally gives your messaging an engaging, peer-to-peer channel. So, as well as being a measurement of engagement, employee advocacy can become the catalyst for greater engagement throughout your organisation.
Employee engagement survey results show that 50% of employees already post messages, pictures or videos about their employer on social media . It makes sense to harness this power, rather than trying to silence it.
These social media stories are then available to the wider external audience and provide share-worthy material. This helps build strong internal relationships, breaks down silos, and encourages more meaningful interaction.
Source: Weber Shandwick - Employee Activism: The next frontier of employee engagement
9. Assign buddies
Why? A buddy scheme will improve retention of new employees and lift engagement levels
Whether you decide on a casual buddy scheme or more formal mentoring programme, this simple staff engagement idea can have a dramatic effect. For new hires in particular, having someone to turn to in those first few weeks can make all the difference between an employee who settles in smoothly and an employee who walks.
Employees who have a best friend at work are seven times more likely to be engaged in their role. Simply by encouraging friendships and connections, you will find that knowledge is shared more freely, collaboration is enhanced and enthusiasm levels rise.
Of all the initiatives to improve employee engagement, this one is the most flexible. There are multiple ways to implement such a scheme, from face to face chats to app-based chatting. Explore which works best for your business.
10. Reward wisely
Why? Incentives need to be clear and defined in order to have the maximum benefit
Give them a bonus and they’ll be happy. Yes? Well, actually no. If you indiscriminately reward staff without linking it to progress and success, you could end up damaging engagement levels.
Employee engagement ideas based on bonuses and rewards need to be handled with caution. Rewards without reason can make staff complacent and under-productive.
Instead, use rewards for jobs well done and progress made. When delivering incentives, make sure it is clear why employees are being rewarded. This way they’ll know how to keep delivering in line with expectations, which will then boost job satisfaction. If you’re wondering how to implement employee engagement, this is an excellent tool to consider.