Not sure why employee engagement ideas are important?

Are you struggling with getting employees engaged?

Having a hard time measuring employee engagement? 

Read on for some of the best employee engagement initiatives that can increase your organization’s productivity and employee retention.

The new year is a great time for a fresh start, right? For many internal communication professionals, this means reviewing what went well last year and what you need to change. 

Now is a great time to be optimistic for the year ahead and start planning ways to improve employee engagement.

Don’t let your internal communication team miss out on this annual overhaul. Constant developments in technology and workplace trends mean user behavior and expectations are changing all the time – and your company should be adapting to this change.

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In 2020, communicators will be challenged to keep four different generations of employees engaged. The workplace has changed considerably since Baby Boomers first joined the workforce in the late 60s. However with Gen Z starting to enter the workforce you can expect even more rapid change. 

First of all, email didn’t even exist when some of your workforce began their careers. And yet some of your employees have never known a world without it! It’s not just the technology that has grown. Expectations about workplace culture and career longevity have changed a lot too. 

So why is employee engagement important?

We looked at the the 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey for employee engagement statistics and the results are shocking. Of those surveyed, 43% of millennials and 61% of Gen Zs plan to leave their company in two years. Just 28% of millennials and 12% of Gen Zs say they plan to stay beyond five years.

And frankly, why wouldn’t they? As of October 2019, the US Unemployment rate is at the lowest it has been since 1969. Many Millenial and Gen Z workers have never experienced a recession, and many find their digital skills are highly in demand. It’s a job-seekers market, and as workplace dynamics continue to shift, employers need to create an optimal employee experience. 

The benefits of employee engagement and empowerment go much further than just making your employees like you. Employee engagement makes your employees more productive.

But how do you actually get employees engaged??

Learn How to Boost Employee Engagement Through Newsletters


Let’s look at 27 drivers of employee engagement designed to help you create an employee engagement action plan. 

  1. Make engaged employees the storytellers 
  2. Amp up your newsletters
  3. Use short pulse surveys
  4. Embrace video for internal communications
  5. Create engaging internal communication campaigns
  6. Allow remote working
  7. Gamify the employee experience
  8. Host company and team events
  9. Offer catered team lunches
  10. Offer employee workshops
  11. Align with a cause or a charity
  12. Offer ongoing professional development
  13. Start an internal podcast
  14. Quantify your employee engagement
  15. Create a health and wellness program
  16. Host an awards ceremony
  17. Start offering healthy snacks
  18. Offer lunch and learns
  19. Encourage healthy work-life balance
  20. Solicit two way communication
  21. Improve diversity and inclusion
  22. Perfect your onboarding process
  23. Offer casual dress days
  24. Monitor employer review sites
  25. Offer a profit sharing plan
  26. Get the team outside 
  27. Leadership office hours

How to Engage Employees: 27 Employee Engagement Ideas and Activities

1) Make Engaged Employees the Storytellers 

Remember the good ole days before the rise of the World Wide Web? We actually read stories in books and enjoyed them.

A lot may have changed since then, but the art of storytelling is still alive and well. Social media has reframed how people tell and consume stories.

With that in mind, it makes sense to figure out how your audience wants to consume your communications. Identify who your internal influencers are.

An internal influencer knows exactly what your average employees are experiencing. How? Because they are one of them! Being able to identify influencers and leverage them is paramount if you want to increase employee engagement.

“If the formal organization is the skeleton of a company, the informal is the central nervous system driving the collective thought processes, actions, and reactions of its business units.”

David Krackhardt and Jeffrey R. Hanson,
Harvard Business Review

So it may be time to share your internal communications crown with your younger employees. This tactic can go a long way in boosting the overall employee experience at your company.

Younger generations in the workplace love to interact and engage so give them a voice and let them be heard.

Give them the platform and the recognition they crave and they will deliver so much more to you in return.

One way you could do this by featuring a hardworking employee in each company newsletter.

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2) Amp Up Your Employee Newsletter

If you’re short on time and didn’t get to plan in advance, then you could engage employees with a fun holiday employee newsletter that really stands out. 

You can use a fun photo of your employees from your most recent holiday gathering. Be sure to wish employees happy holidays and thank them for all their hard work.

Bonus Tip: Be sure to personalize all your holiday employee newsletters. This means addressing each employee with their first name within the subject line and body of the email. With the ContactMonkey Internal Communications tool, you can easily segment employee distribution lists and personalize each email!

Oh, and if you’re looking for employee newsletter templates, you can use our easy to use drag and drop email builder to create beautiful, responsive HTML employee newsletters in minutes!

Create Responsive Employee Newsletters in Outlook

3) Use Social Reaction Icons and Pulse Surveys to Engage Employees

One of the most creative ways to engage employees is to use employee engagement software such as ContactMonkey to create your employee newsletters. ContactMonkey uses pulse surveys and social reactions to facilitate two-way communication with employees.

By adding social reaction icons to your communications, you’ll be able to proactively learn what your employees crave. Here’s what you can do now with ContactMonkey for Internal Communications:

employee engagement ideas

Social Reaction Icons 

Social reactions are emojis that you can easily add to any section of your employee newsletter to gauge employee sentiment. With social reactions now your internal communications team can constantly gather feedback in a seamless way. Best of all, it’s quick, easy, and fun for employees.

Pulse Surveys ✅

With pulse surveys you’ll also get actionable data on your email communications in seconds. You’ll be able to see all of the responses live in real time on your ContactMonkey dashboard.

Like Buttons 

Your employees are already liking content on all the social media platforms they use on their own time. By adding like buttons to your own internal emails, you’ll be able to engage your employees with your content and actually learn what they like.

Comments 💬

Go a step further and enable a comment option as part of your internal newsletter with our email template builder to gather employee feedback in real-time. Comments will enable you to understand exactly how employees feel!  

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4) Employee Engagement Ideas: Embrace the Power of Video

You really need to go above and beyond with your employee engagement ideas if you’re aiming to provide an engaging employee experience for a diverse workforce.

Don’t be afraid to play with video options (and other engaging internal communications tools) to create an authentic and engaged employee experience.

Interview some of your employees on video and showcase this at all your next company-wide events. It’s also a great visual aid to highlight during workshops or embed within your employee newsletters.

Videos are great for anyone struggling with how to engage remote employees. They can be viewed anywhere on almost any modern device. This means that remote workers and field workers have access to this engaging medium.

You can also use video to make company-wide announcements. Even videos filmed on your smartphone are likely to get more engagement than plain text updates. Better yet, get a videographer on board to make a short video on the company culture featuring all employees. After all, who doesn’t love the limelight?

guide internal communications

5) Create Innovative Internal Communications Campaigns

As an internal communicator, you obviously understand the power of leveraging your inner creativity and imagination to create a holistic employee experience. Don’t be afraid to utilize special events to your advantage to launch an epic employee engagement campaign.

Have you heard of AXA’s kick-ass internal comms Valentine’s Day campaign? Witnessing a drop in employee engagement levels, AXA’s internal comms team distributed Valentine’s Day cards to employees. These cards were decorated with the words, “you complete me” on the front. On the back they asked workers to give feedback on what they liked and what they didn’t about their company.

In case you’re wondering how well this strategy worked, 91% of workers found this exercise a valuable use of their time.

Moral of the story: don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to employee engagement.

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6) Allow Remote Working for a Better Employee Experience

Don’t create a company culture where working remotely is not even considered an option. This is 2020 people! Embrace the fact that technological advancements have changed the modern workplace and it may be for the better.

Millennials and other remote workers want this freedom, and many companies are willing to give it to them. A 2019 study by Owl Labs reports that 62% of workers in the USA work remotely at least some of the time, with 11% reporting working remotely once a week. 

According to LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends Report for 2019, 72% of talent professionals agree that work flexibility will be very important for the future of HR and recruiting. Click To Tweet

Giving employees the option to work from home may actually make them more productive and loyal to your company. 30% of workers would be willing to take a 5% or greater pay cut in exchange for flexible working arrangements.

The ability to work remotely makes employees feel less stressed. Plus it decreases the time and money they need to spend on unpaid commuting. The boost to work-life balance is sure to help keep employees engaged.

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7) Engage Employees With Gamification

Game-based learning or gamification can really ignite productivity levels. Introducing fun and play into your organization will enable collaboration and some friendly competition, enhancing employee performance and drive.

You may be scratching your head and wondering if this process involves bringing in a deck of cards?

How exactly is this supposed to make employees engage with their work and actually get more done?

Don’t overthink gamification. 

It could be as simple as adding a trivia contest for each onboarding cohort. This could entail engaging your employees through interactive quizzes on the company’s brand, values and mission statement. The most engaged employees could win prizes. Here are some fun games and activities you can introduce in your office. 

What a fun way to drill company spirit and brand loyalty into the workplace! Talk about creating a stellar employee experience, huh?

Gamify My Newsletters


8) Host Team Events to Drive Employee Engagement

Speaking of fun and games, team events are a great way to introduce some liveliness into the workplace. Hosting different events that enable cross-collaboration and teamwork across departments can inspire productivity.

Some fun employee engagement activities include axe-throwing, bowling, ping-pong or escape rooms.

These employee engagement activities or employee events are great for bonding and creating a culture of fun and excitement. Here at ContactMonkey, we make sure to have fun company-wide activities regularly. It helps us unwind and celebrate our teammates as people instead of just employees.

ContactMonkey employees holding party cups on a boat at sunset

Before your next awesome company event, make sure you send an awesome invitation to match.

9) Host Team Lunches to Boost Employee Engagement

You can start introducing the concept of team lunches with the goal of getting different departments and demographics to interact. When you offer catered lunches for the entire office, you’re demonstrating that you value your employees. As a result they will return that value by staying engaged and loyal to your company.

Lydia, an office manager from Toronto notes:

“I think it’s those little things that make a big difference for employees. They enjoy coming to work, and they feel provided for which incentivizes them to keep working really hard,”

Whether you offer daily or just occasional team meals, this employee activity is a great way of boosting work morale and improving company culture.

Send Snackable Surveys In Your Newsletter


10) Host an Interactive Team Workshop

Another great employee engagement idea to enable a sense of camaraderie within your own internal communications department is to host an interactive team workshop.

You can:

  • Gather industry insights from each other,
  • Learn about what workplace successes and failures,
  • Brainstorm strategies to deploy and execute in the workplace.

Use visual storytelling to brainstorm employee engagement ideas and take them to the next-level. Introduce such team events in every department and watch your company’s employee experience change for the better.

Remember, employees, especially those newer to the workforce, want the opportunity to contribute to their workplace. Employee engagement is easy when you treat employees like stakeholders.

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 11) Cultivate Employee Engagement by Aligning Your Company With a Purpose

In order to build a specific work culture and employee brand for your company, you also need to understand your company’s purpose.

Defining and communicating core company values helps employees understand why the work they do matters. Click To Tweet

For example, if your company cares deeply about sustainability then you should showcase what you do about it. Team up with the Corporate Social Responsibility officer to make a video about your contributions to sustainability. 

Alternatively, encourage participation in corporate volunteering days or fundraisers. This can encourage disengaged employees to see your employer in a more positive light, as well as foster positive memories and team building.

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12) Offer Ongoing Training and Development Opportunities to Engage and Retain Employees

Employees crave learning and development opportunities so make sure your internal communications are catering to that need.

For remote workers, you may consider recording training sessions to facilitate employee onboarding.

Check out this great guide on how to use video for internal comms, including video for training purposes.

13) Start an Internal Podcast for Employees

Podcasts are great for:

  • Reaching remote workers, 
  • Featuring in-depth employee stories, 
  • Measuring employee engagement, 
  • Encouraging professional development,
  • Showcasing company culture,
  • Reaching remote workers.

Read our blog post that outlines how podcasts are great employee engagement initiatives. You’ll also learn how you can start a podcast for employees. 

Definitely add this one to your list of employee engagement ideas!

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14) Introduce an Internal Communication Tool to Track Employee Engagement

Measure, measure and keep measuring! We can’t emphasize this point enough. This is one of the most important employee engagement best practices to adopt in 2019. 

If you aren’t quantifying your employee engagement, how will you ever know if employees are actually engaged? Click To Tweet

Mettler Toledo, an Electrical/Electronic Manufacturing company, uses ContactMonkey to measure employee engagement. Using targeted insights from their newsletters, they were able to identify which employee segments were not opening newsletters and adjust their strategies accordingly. In this case, they were able to change the time their newsletters were sent, which resulted in a 33% increase in open-rates in the disengaged segment. 

If you’re confused on where to start when it comes to measuring the success of your employee engagement programs, you should try ContactMonkey for measuring the success of your newsletters.

Boost Employee Engagement via Our Email Tracking Tool

15) Create a Health and Wellness Program

An employee engagement event centered around health and wellness can be great for improving employees’ morale and workplace productivity.

You can try introducing yoga as part of your employee engagement program to optimize the employee experience. Offering benefits geared towards health and fitness can go a long way towards making employees feel engaged. Some ideas include an in-house gym or subsidized gym membership.


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16) Host an Awards Ceremony to Boost Employee Engagement

When thinking about how to engage employees or making a list of employee activity ideas, be sure to think outside the box.

Instead of a games night or a holiday party, how about hosting a fun awards ceremony instead?

It’s a great way to showcase to employees that you appreciate the work that they do. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be high budget!

According to Response, it can be as simple as rewarding employees on a Friday afternoon. Or coming up with fun awards such as “Most Creative Employee of the Year,” the “One with the Messiest Desk” or “Most Organized Employee,” etc.

You can even spice it up and celebrate the winners in your newsletter, making your awards extra coveted. Everyone likes getting recognition! Consequently, your newsletter are a great avenue to encourage employee engagement!

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17) Introduce Employee Engagement Programs that Focus on Healthy Snacks

Healthy snacks can be a great way for boosting employees’ mood and productivity.

And who doesn’t love free food?

Rather than a pay-to-use vending machine full of chips and candy, try stocking break areas with healthy alternatives such as fruits, trail mix, or yogurt.

The benefits of nutrition on productivity are well known. Therefore something as simple as a fruit bowl goes a long way towards engaging and retaining employees.

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18) Encourage Lunch and Learns to Boost Employee Engagement

Lunch and learns are recently becoming quite popular, especially in smaller companies or on a departmental basis. 

You can invite a motivational speaker from another company to talk about a specific topic! Or you can even get employees to speak about their expertise.

At ContactMonkey, our marketing team hosts a weekly lunch and learn. For an hour, we share a meal, watch an educational webinar or podcast, and discuss the key takeaways. It’s a great way to invest in professional development while also encouraging team bonding.

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19) Improve Work-Life Balance to Engage Employees

Make sure you don’t become one of those offices that expects employees to answer emails on weekends.

That’s a surefire way to kill employee morale and may lead to burnout. 

Younger generations are placing tremendous importance on mental health in the workplace. Fewer people are willing to burn the candle at both ends for a job.

While you could use exit-interviews to identify incidents and patterns of burnout, this doesn’t do much to help prevent turnover. In order to prevent burnout and improve employee engagement, you must be proactive.

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20) Engage Employees With Transparency and Two Way Communication

There are many organizations out there that create a culture of fear. As a result it is difficult for employees to voice their opinions.

Make sure you create a company culture that’s transparent and open. It should enable employees to feel at ease and voice their opinions. 

At Exemplis, a rapidly growing manufacturing company, two way communication is paramount. By adopting ContactMonkey they were able to get feedback on what employees cared about, and were able to tailor their messaging to increase engagement.

 “Giving our team the chance to interact with pulse surveys monthly, comments weekly and ratings frequently has allowed us to informally check in on our team without sending another bulky engagement survey.

– Corey Kachigan, Engagement and Communications Lead at Exemplis

Read the full case study

21) Make Sure Your Company Culture is Diverse and Inclusive

company culture ideas

Be sure to have a comprehensive employee engagement strategy that outlines the importance of diversity and inclusion.

Make sure your company culture is sensitive to the needs and habits of workers from all regions, backgrounds and cultures.

By incorporating diversity and inclusion as one of your core company values, you’re sure to keep employee engagement levels high at all times. This is an often ignored employee engagement idea, but an important one nonetheless.

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22) Perfect Your Onboarding Process

Employee engagement starts on the very first day they sign their offer of employment.

According to a study by BambooHR, 31% of employed Americans report having quit a job within the first 6 months. A third of those respondents report leaving within the first month. Click To Tweet

If there’s a problem with your onboarding, don’t wait until it’s too late. Start engaging your employees as soon as possible. Internal communicators, HR, and management all need to collaborate on onboarding. Company policies as well as work duties need to be communicated accurately during hiring and onboarding. The responsibility belongs to everyone to make onboarding awesome again.

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23. Formal Offices Can Engage Workers with Dress Down Days

Look we get it. When we picture professional attire we’re probably not picturing ripped jeans and a hoodie. Regardless, norms around workplace dress are changing. Over 50% of workplaces in the US allow casual dress regularly, and up to 60% allow casual dress sometimes. Even Wall Street titans like Goldman Sachs have relaxed dress codes. They went from business formal to “a manner that is consistent with clients’ expectations”. 

Now obviously there are exceptions to what is appropriate. Profanity and immodesty are still out of the question, as are outfits which could pose a safety risk for those working with machinery. But for your average office worker, swapping the tie for a t-shirt could boost morale significantly.  Approximately 1 in 3 Americans value casual dress in the workplace as high as $5000 annually. 

Even if your workplace needs to maintain a stricter dress code, consider offering dress down days or casual Fridays. To sweeten the pot, many companies offer dress down days in exchange for contributions to a charity initiative. For example, casual Fridays at some offices come at a minimum donation of $5 to a charity pot. This is a great way to increase employee engagement without impacting the bottom line.

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24. Keep an Eye on Employer Review Sites Like Glassdoor

We live in an age where information about anything is readily available at anyone’s fingertips. In the past job seekers relied on word-of-mouth when considering a potential employer. Today potential applicants have access to global directories of employer reviews.

Disengaged employees may not feel they can speak to management or HR about what is bothering them at work. That being said, nothing is stopping those people from laying it all out anonymously on Glassdoor. If disengaged employees don’t feel like they can communicate with management, you could end up with serious recruitment and PR problems. Click To Tweet

Keep an eye on Glassdoor to get insight into why employees are feeling disengaged. Once you have an idea of where to start, you can prevent disengagement proactively. 

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25. Improve Employee Satisfaction with Profit Sharing Plan

Ever wonder who the most engaged employees are? 

They’re the ones with a stake in the company. 

Several studies indicate that employees who have a profit stake in the company’s success are more motivated and experience higher levels of job satisfaction. Employee Stock Option Plans effectively dampened what employees felt were the poor aspects of a job more so than performance related compensation plans.

Obviously it may not be possible to implement stock options for every single employee. You might consider offering stock options for employees who have been with the company for a long time. This rewards both their past and future loyalty. Plus this is a great strategy to build employee engagement for newer employees as well, as it gives them a benefit to look forward to.

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26. Engage Employees With Excursions Outside the Office

Another low cost employee engagement idea is to break routines and ditch the office sometimes. 

Some teams celebrate reaching goals with excursion to an ice cream shop or a meal as a way to celebrate. Others may take their weekly one-on-one meetings on a walk instead of a meeting room. A change of scenery can go a long way towards keeping employees engaged. 

The reason why walks can help with employee engagement is pretty simple: getting out of the office and going outside can have significant gains in employee health, wellness, and productivity. The simple change of scenery and fresh air is often enough to decrease stress levels. A happy workforce is a productive workforce.

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27. Improve Employee Engagement With Leadership Office Hours

A common reason employees become disengaged is because they lose sight of their department or company’s goals. The other prominent reason is because they feel disconnected from leadership. It’s a common mantra that people don’t leave their jobs, they leave their boss. A lack of a trusting relationship with a leader or manager can trigger an otherwise happy employee to become disengaged.

Luckily, the solution doesn’t have to involve extravagant social parties or a disruption to the work day. Simply holding “office hours” where employees are welcome to come in and express their concerns or ask questions can go a long way towards improving employee engagement. 

Statistically, about ¼ of working hours are spent by employees looking for information. By creating a forum for people to freely ask questions and raise concerns, information can be found more quickly, and employees can even pitch potential improvements to work processes.

Creating an open line of communication will boost employee engagement. The best part is that office hours are a free and easy way to encourage employee engagement.

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Other Employee Engagement Ideas

Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list. There are dozens of creative ways you can engage workers. What will work for you will depend on what makes your workforce unique. Factors that influence the success of an engagement strategy include:

  • Age, 
  • Department, 
  • Education,
  • Location, 
  • Industry.

If you’re in doubt about how you can implement these employee engagement ideas, don’t fret. Get in touch with our employee engagement experts for a free consultation on how you can get more engagement out of your employee newsletter. 

Other Employee Engagement Resources 

The Most Effective Internal Communication Tools to Communicate Effectively On All Levels

7 Hacks for Creating Engaging Internal Emails

Killer Employee Newsletter Ideas

32 Newsletter Content Ideas to Boost Employee Engagement 

14 Epic MailChimp Alternatives for Creating an Internal Newsletter


Do you have other awesome employee engagement ideas you would like to share? 

Have you tried any employee engagement activities from this list? 

We would love to hear from you. Let us know your favourite employee engagement ideas in the comments below or tweet to us. We’re more than happy to hear your monkey ideas!


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