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.
Not sure why employee engagement ideas are important?
Are you struggling to engage employees?
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 📈
Our 27 Employee Engagement Ideas:
- Make engaged employees the storytellers
- Amp up your internal newsletters
- Use short pulse surveys
- Embrace video for internal communications
- Create engaging internal communication campaigns
- Allow remote working
- Gamify the employee experience
- Host company and team events
- Offer catered team lunches
- Offer employee workshops
- Align with a cause or a charity
- Offer ongoing professional development
- Start an internal podcast
- Quantify your employee engagement
- Create a health and wellness program
- Host an awards ceremony
- Start offering healthy snacks
- Offer lunch and learns
- Encourage healthy work-life balance
- Solicit two way communication
- Improve diversity and inclusion
- Perfect your onboarding process
- Offer casual dress days
- Monitor employer review sites
- Offer a profit sharing plan
- Get the team outside
- Leadership office hours
What is Employee Engagement?
Employee engagement is how attached or invested someone feels to the company they work for, and their role within the organization. Overall, employee engagement is related to higher performance and better business outcomes.
Three key drivers of employee engagement are:
- Committed and trustworthy managers and senior leadership
- Meaningful work in a role
- Positive relationships with co-workers
Employees are people first, and therefore need human support in the places they work.
State of employee engagement in 2020
In 2020, internal 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 1960s. However, with Gen Z starting to enter the workforce, you can expect even more rapid change.
Why is Employee Engagement Important?
We looked at 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.
Quite frankly, why wouldn’t they? As of October 2019, the U.S. unemployment rate is at the lowest it has been since 1969. On the bright side, many Millenial and Gen Z workers are finding their digital skills are in high demand. It’s a jobseeker’s market, and as workplace dynamics continue to shift, employers need to create an optimal employee experience.
As an employer, the benefits of employee engagement and empowerment go much further than just having employees like you. Employee engagement makes your employees more productive, which positively impacts your bottom line.
27 Ways to Boost Employee Engagement
1. Employee Engagement Ideas: Employee Storytellers
Remember the good old 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 internal audience wants to consume your communications and 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
Younger generations in the workplace love to interact and engage, so give them a voice and let them be heard.
One way you could do this by featuring a hardworking employee in each company newsletter. Share their latest achievement or milestone, as well as their story with the company.
2. Employee Engagement Ideas: Amp Things Up
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.
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.
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.
If you’re looking for employee newsletter templates, ContactMonkey offers an easy to use drag-and-drop email template builder to create beautiful, responsive HTML employee newsletters in minutes!
3. Employee Engagement Ideas: Emoji Reactions and Pulse Surveys
One of the most creative ways to engage employees is to use software to measure employee engagement. Not only can you use ContactMonkey to create your employee newsletters, but our internal email tool uses pulse surveys and emoji reactions to facilitate two-way communication with employees.
By adding emoji 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:
You can easily add emojis to any section of your employee newsletter to gauge employee sentiment. With emoji reactions, your internal communications team can constantly gather feedback in a seamless way. Best of all, it’s quick, easy, and fun for employees.
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 in real time on your ContactMonkey dashboard.
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.
Go a step further and enable a comment option as part of your internal newsletter with our email template builder Comments will enable you to understand exactly how employees feel, and anonymity will encourage more transparent responses.
4. Employee Engagement Ideas: 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 also a great employee engagement idea for anyone struggling to engage with remote employees. They can be viewed anywhere on almost any modern device, making it easy for remote workers and field workers to 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?
5. Employee Engagement Ideas: 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 internal communications 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 ideas.
6. Employee Engagement Ideas: Remote Work
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 United States 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.
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.
7. Employee Engagement Ideas: 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.
8. Employee Engagement Ideas: Team Events
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 ideas include: axe-throwing, bowling, ping-pong, and escape rooms.
These employee engagement activities 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, rather than just as employees.
Before your next awesome company event, make sure you send an awesome invitation to match.
9. Employee Engagement Ideas: Team Lunches
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, a Toronto office manager, 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.
10. Employee Engagement Ideas: Workshops
One of our favourite employee engagement ideas for enabling a sense of camaraderie is hosting an interactive team workshop.
You’ll have the opportunity to:
- 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 team events in every department and watch as your company’s employee experience changes for the better.
Remember that 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.
11. Employee Engagement Ideas: Company Purpose
In order to build a specific work culture and employer 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.
For example, if your company cares deeply about sustainability then you should showcase what you do about it. If applicable, 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.
12. Employee Engagement Ideas: Training and Development
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.
One of the biggest trends for employees looking to join a new organization is having access to paid learning and development opportunities that not only help them to be better in the role they’re pursuing, but also be able to advance their careers in the future.
Check out this great guide on how to use video for internal communications, including video for training purposes.
13. Employee Engagement Ideas: Podcasts
Podcasts are on the rise for popularity. They’re a great way to absorb information on a long walk or car ride, and can also be a great way to learn about something topical in your profession. Being that they’re an accessible way to share information, there’s no harm in considering them as a medium for internal communications.
Podcasts are also great for:
- Reaching remote workers
- Featuring in-depth employee stories
- Measuring employee engagement
- Encouraging professional development
- Showcasing company culture
- Reaching remote workers
We love podcasts so much, we’ve even written a blog post that outlines how podcasts are great employee engagement initiatives. You’ll also learn how you can start a podcast for employees.
14. Employee Engagement Ideas: Internal Email Tracking
Measure, measure, and measure some more! We can’t emphasize this point enough. This is one of the most important employee engagement best practices to adopt, and internal emailing tracking can help.
If you aren’t quantifying your employee engagement, how will you ever know if employees are actually engaged?
Mettler Toledo, a manufacturing company, uses ContactMonkey to measure employee engagement. Using targeted insights from their employee newsletters, their internal communicators 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, give ContactMonkey a try!
15. Employee Engagement Ideas: Health and Wellness
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 wellness can go a long way towards making employees feel engaged. Some ideas include an in-house gym or subsidized gym membership.
16. Employee Engagement Ideas: Awards Ceremony
When thinking about how to interact with employees or making a list of employee engagement ideas, don’t be afraid to think outside the box.
Instead of a games night or a holiday party, how about hosting a fun awards ceremony?
It’s a great way to showcase to employees that you appreciate the work that they do, and it doesn’t 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,” or “Most Organized Employee.”
You can even spice it up and celebrate the winners in your newsletter, making your awards extra coveted. Everyone likes getting recognition and feedback! Consequently, your internal newsletters are a great avenue to encourage employee engagement.
17. Employee Engagement Ideas: Healthy Snacks
Healthy snacks can be a great way for boosting employees’ mood and productivity. Plus, 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.
18. Employee Engagement Ideas: Lunch and Learns
Lunch and learns are becoming quite popular, especially in smaller companies.
You can invite a motivational speaker from another company to talk about a specific topic, or get employees to speak about their expertise or passions outside of work.
At ContactMonkey, our marketing team hosts a bi-weekly lunch and learn. For an hour, we share a meal, watch an educational webinar or listen to a podcast, and discuss the key takeaways. It’s a great way to invest in professional development while also encouraging team bonding.
19. Employee Engagement Ideas: Work-Life Balance
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.
In particular, 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.
20. Employee Engagement Ideas: 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.
Exemplis, another one of our customers, puts a great deal of focus on two-way communication.
“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
By adopting ContactMonkey, they were able to get feedback on what employees cared about, and were able to tailor their messaging to increase employee engagement.
21. Employee Engagement Ideas: Diverse Company Culture
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 one of the most ignored employee engagement ideas, but an important one nonetheless.
22. Employee Engagement Ideas: Onboarding
Employee engagement starts as soon as an employee submits their offer to your company. You are responsible for using the employee engagement ideas available to you to make sure their first impression is a good one.
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.
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.
23. Employee Engagement Ideas: 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 U.S. 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.”
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.
For your average office worker, swapping the tie for a t-shirt could boost morale significantly. 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.
24. Employee Engagement Ideas: Employer Review Sites
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.
Keep an eye on Glassdoor to get insight into why employees are feeling disengaged, or to find employee engagement ideas from current and past employees. Once you have an idea of where to start, you can prevent employee disengagement proactively.
25. Employee Engagement Ideas: Profit Sharing
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.
26. Employee Engagement Ideas: Team Excursions
Another low cost employee engagement idea is to break routines and ditch the office sometimes.
Some teams celebrate reaching goals with excursions 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 positive impacts 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.
27. Employee Engagement Ideas: 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 becoming 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.
According to McKinsey, 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.
Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list of employee engagement ideas. 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:
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.