15 Employee Engagement Strategies That Work in 2024

Justin Raudys

Employee Engagement

There are six components that surface time and again when it comes to building an engaged workforce, and each is necessary for success. Learn what they are and how to incorporate them into employee engagement strategies at your company.

Employee engagement is so important that some companies pay unhappy workers to quit.

Why? Because it takes at least four engaged employees just to counteract the negative effects from one single disengaged employee, according to workplace research organization Gallup.

In a nutshell, great employee engagement strategies tip the balance in favor of a positive and productive workplace.

We’ll look at why employee engagement really matters and break down 15 of the best employee engagement strategies that you can harness in your workplace.

Looking for an easy and effective way to boost employee engagement? ContactMonkey’s all-in-one internal communications software lets you create, send, and track employee emails that resonate with your workforce. Book a free demo to see how ContactMonkey can optimize your internal communications.

Internal email metrics you can’t afford to miss in 2024

What is Employee Engagement?

Employee engagement is not an easy idea to pin down. It’s an abstract and intangible concept often rooted in emotion. But it has very real consequences for business success.

We can define employee engagement as the level of connection – mental and emotional – that employees experience in relation to their workplace. That includes how motivated employees are in the work they do, their level of alignment with peers and managers, as well as how inspired they feel by the company’s mission.

In order to truly determine employee engagement, it’s important to implement employee engagement strategies that work. This includes being direct and asking your employees about their engagement levels.

Use employee engagement tracking tools like ContactMonkey to measure, monitor, and improve employee engagement at your workplace.

Why is Employee Engagement Important?

When your employees aren’t engaged, it costs your business money. Employee engagement is important because it prevents high workplace turnover, low productivity, and poor customer service.

When your employees are engaged, they are personally invested in the success of the business. This leads to a handful of benefits for both your organization as a whole, and individual employees. Here are just a few of the benefits of employee engagement:

  • Higher workplace productivity levels
  • Less employee absenteeism
  • Increased employee loyalty
  • Greater work satisfaction
  • Improved employee mental health and wellness levels
  • Greater employee retention
  • Better customer service
  • Increased customer loyalty

In essence, engaged employees are more motivated and inspired by their work. This translates into the effort and passion they put into their work and how they speak about your business to clients.

In turn, your employees choose to stay at your company longer, complete higher quality work, and deliver better customer service. Still not convinced? Check out some of these employee engagement statistics for the bigger picture.

By implementing effective employee engagement strategies and employee engagement best practices, your business can get the full benefits of an engaged workforce. From the start of your new employees journey during their onboarding process to their exit interview, always ask yourself am I maximizing employee engagement in this situation?

15 Successful Employee Engagement Strategies

At ContactMonkey, our core product is shaped around helping companies create engaging workplaces. We see the same six components show up time and again when it comes to building an engaged workforce.

Each of these components is a piece of the puzzle—to see powerful results, you must have all elements in place.

Without further ado, let’s break down 15 employee engagement strategy examples that you can implement in your workplace.

1. Building (and showing) trust

Trust is key to unlocking the benefits of employee engagement. It’s so foundational that the Harvard Business Review says, “Employees in high-trust organizations are more productive, have more energy at work, collaborate better with their colleagues, and stay with their employers longer than people working at low-trust companies. They also suffer less chronic stress and are happier with their lives, and these factors fuel stronger performance.”

But trust is not something that comes easily. According to a study published in the Journal of Communication Management, organizations build trust through authentic leadership and transparent communication—two factors that are easy to preach but tough to practice.

How to build this into your strategy
Building something as nebulous as trust into your employee engagement strategy may require a mindset shift.

  • Treat people like owners, not machines. A favorite tenet of Google’s Laszlo Bock, this tactic means giving your staff leeway to solve problems in their own way—along with the psychological safety to try and fail.
  • Assign meaningful work that shows you trust the person. Then back off and let them do it.
  • Employees need to build relationships with each other to create high-trust workplaces. Suggest some of these non-awkward team-building activities to managers.
  • Be as transparent as you can, especially with salaries. When it comes to engaging your employees more, the perception of fair pay is more important than being paid more, surprisingly.
  • Pull back the curtain and be “real” in your communications. When HSBC found that only 50% of its employees trusted management decisions, the company used an internal communications campaign to help rebuild trust. It highlighted real struggles and meaningful victories by employees.

Trust can’t happen without giving meaningful recognition to employees—and constantly employing new and fun employee recognition ideas is a must.

7 ways to get honest feedback from employee surveys

Will your workforce tell the truth? Foster trust and openness with your employees using these tips.

2. Giving recognition

Recognizing when a job is done well—and praising or thanking the person—is a critical performance driver in successful companies. It’s also an essential component of your employee engagement strategy.

Why? Because feeling appreciated makes people feel more motivated at work.

Businesses with employees who feel appreciated consistently outperform others. The O.C. Tanner Group found that recognition was tied to multiple measures of profitability in a 10-year, 200,000-person study of managers and employees.

How to build this into your strategy
Don’t wait for an annual company meeting to recognize people for doing good work. Rather, praise needs to be baked into your everyday culture.

  • Give praise publicly and regularly. Systematically highlight team and individual wins in high-visibility places like your company newsletter and intranet.
  • Managers can give a shout-out to individuals in their 1:1 meetings and smaller team meetings. Just be sure the praise is authentic and specific.
Screenshot of a quarterly happiness check-in survey email created using ContactMonkey's email template builder.

Praising employees is a powerful way to reinforce the behaviours you want to see more, like sharing their ideas, for example. ContactMonkey’s email template builder makes gathering and sharing employee input easier than ever. See for yourself by book a free demo with one of our friendly experts.

Not sure how to congratulate an employee on their success? Try using ContactMonkey’s OpenAI ChatGPT integration to generate unique content based on prompts you provide. Simply describe what you’d like to address and then edit the output text according to your audience.

3. Getting employee input

Want to know what will help your employees be more engaged? Ask them. When folks know their opinion matters, they become more engaged. That’s why gathering employee feedback is one of the essential strategies to improve employee engagement.

A note of caution, though. It’s not enough to just ask—you need to address and implement their input to show you really “hear” your employees. The operational data company Qualtrics reports double the engagement score for employees who feel their company turns feedback into action really well.

How to build this into your strategy
Collect employee input through automation and open communication.

  • Involve employees in decisions. Managers can organize brainstorming sessions and run ideas by knowledgeable members of their teams.
  • Get real-time employee feedback with surveys and internal communication software. ContactMonkey helps you gather employee feedback with pulse surveys, emoji reactions, eNPS surveys questions, anonymous comments, and star ratings. (Check out some of our software’s handy employee satisfaction survey templates and employee engagement survey templates!)
  • Encourage your managers to ask for feedback directly from their team members, too.
  • Create processes for following up on and implementing feedback. You might form a committee to address survey findings. Consider also holding managers accountable for regularly reporting and implementing team suggestions.

To excel at getting your employees to tell you what they think, you need great communication.

4. Improving communication

The Economist found that poor communication is the biggest contributor to failed projects, low morale, missed performance goals, and lost sales. To boost your company culture and performance, it’s worth encouraging active listening and sharing in the workplace.

How to build this into your strategy
Improving communication takes proactive work throughout all levels of your organization.

  • Encourage managers to use regular 1:1 meetings with their direct reports. These can be one of your most powerful tools for building a culture of positive communication and relationships.
  • Empower people to use the best channel or tool for the situation. For example, if your team can’t get together in the same room, make sure they can use video conferencing tools to make non-verbal cues visible.
  • Require people to put aside their phones when talking to others. Researchers found that supervisors looking at their phones during interactions with subordinates undermined trust and discouraged communication.
  • Discuss goals and priorities regularly in your company communications to help keep everyone aligned on the organization’s direction.

Communication will also improve as people accept and value the differences of others in their workplace.

Not every internal communication is meant for every employee. Reducing the amount of irrelevant emails your employees receive is a good way to improve communication and boost email engagement.

Using ContactMonkey’s List Management feature, you can build custom email lists to target relevant employees. Create these lists without needing IT, and integrate them with your Human Resource Information System (HRIS) like Workday and ADP, as well as Azure Active Directory, so they’ll update automatically as employees leave and join your organization.

Best way to build engaging employee newsletters

5. Valuing differences among individuals

A sense of belonging is key to high-functioning teams. To help people feel they belong, you must value the individual differences they bring to work.

Welcoming differences between teams and employees isn’t always easy, but it’s worth the effort to see beyond our biases.

How to build this into your strategy
Build diversity into your teams by embracing differences across your team members.

  • Conduct a diversity and inclusion (D&I) audit to see where your workplace needs to improve its efforts.
  • Create a formal D&I plan—85% of companies with a formal D&I program improved their bottom line as a result.
  • When putting teams together, consider gender, age, ethnicity, geographic location, problem-solving style, personality, beliefs, and more to capture diverse perspectives.
  • Show you value and accept differences by personalizing your company-wide employee communications. Addressing people as individuals has shown time and again to improve engagement numbers and lift morale internally.
Screenshot of merge tags inserted into an email using ContactMonkey's email template builder.

Personalizing your company emails helps build better engagement by showing you value your people as individuals.

Personalizing emails made all the difference for wet infrastructure specialist EPS Water. The company went from no engagement to roughly 70% engagement rates since switching its internal email communications to ContactMonkey. Simply personalizing subject lines made a big difference from the start.

Precision instruments manufacturer Mettler Toledo also found that its internal communications email software limited its ability to personalize communications. Since switching to ContactMonkey, the company increased open rates by 33% for its most disengaged employees. They noted that “ContactMonkey has helped us understand what employees are interested in.”

6. Investing in employee development

If you’re not actively helping your employees grow in their careers, you need to change that now.

Management consulting firm McKinsey & Co reports that helping employees grow in their chosen career path makes them more likely to be energized and satisfied at work. If that’s not enough, opportunities for learning and development (L&D) are one of the most-cited reasons for joining a company. And lack thereof is often a big reason for leaving.

How to build this into your strategy
A successful L&D program needs to be relevant and accessible.

  • Focus on building on your employees’ strengths rather than fixing what’s wrong with them. Their research shows that strengths-based employee development leads to higher employee engagement (and higher profits, among other benefits).
  • Encourage managers to know their staff members well, so they can offer meaningful development opportunities. (Another reason to implement one-on-one meetings at your workplace!)
  • Create an employee stipend for work-related skills development, and make it easy to use. When you lower the barrier to training opportunities, your employees will be more likely to take advantage of it.
  • Offer desirable perks like wellness checks, education programs, flexible work days, paid vacation, retirement programs, and gym discounts that support the well-being of your people. These benefits show that you value the whole person, not just the work self.

Keep in mind that what works for your employees may be different from what worked for those at another company. As you include more employee engagement strategies like those above, make sure to track whether they’re having the effect you’d hoped for.

Learn how to use internal communications software to measure employee engagement and continuously enhance your engagement strategy.

7. Leverage social media

Internal social networking can be a powerful tool for growing your business. But why is social media also so effective at promoting employee engagement?

On one hand, Enterprise Social Networks (ESNs) provide employees with an easy and less formal way to communicate and share personal and professional information. On the other hand, recognizing employees on a company’s external social media platforms boosts staff morale by showing how much they’re valued.

Whichever approach you choose, implementing a social media employee engagement strategy at your workplace can be an easy and effective way to boost employee engagement and retention.

To optimize your social media employee engagement strategy, you have to leverage your existing communications platforms. These should be used to promote social media usage and change employee habits.

Use your newsletter to add links and send messages that drive traffic to your social media platforms. That way, employees who are both new to workplace social media and those who are well-versed in it can get in on the benefits.

Learn how to create a successful employee newsletter with ContactMonkey.

8. Launch events and team-building activities

In the workplace, social events and collaborative activities are vital for employee engagement. They help staff truly get to know each other and learn from one another. This is vital for building trust and connection across the workforce—key building blocks of employee engagement.

For a creative employee newsletter idea, try hosting engaging virtual events in the remote workplace. Here are some examples of our favourites:

  • Online game night: online games like Skribblo or Bingo let your staff really get to know each other as they work together or compete against different teams.
  • Collaborative skills learning: use an online skill-sharing platform or hire a virtual coach to teach you skills such as coding or graphic design basics.
  • Remote potluck dinner: plan out who’s cooking what and showcase your culinary creations over (non-work related) conversation.
  • Virtual wine-down: this one lets your staff unwind, enjoy a drink and chat together.
  • Online scavenger hunts: get employees to find things around their house for points or use one of many virtual scavenger hunt apps like Scavify.
  • Virtual town hall: this event is a great excuse to get employees together, align organizational priorities, and learn about company updates. But virtual town hall meetings can also incorporate fun team-building events like games, employee awards and competitions, and so much more.

Whichever event you choose for your employee engagement strategy, make sure everyone knows about it and can easily RSVP. With an all-in-one internal communications tool like ContactMonkey you can create, send, and track virtual event invites using your employee newsletter. Increase the numbers of eyes on your event invitation by pinpointing the best times to send employee emails.

Find your ideal pricing plan for ContactMonkey

Match your internal communication needs with your budget.

In addition, ContactMonkey has a built-in event management feature that works seamlessly with video conference platforms. So you can create, distribute, and monitor events all in one place:

Screenshot of event and attendee list within ContactMonkey's event overview dashboard.

9. Boost workplace transparency

If there’s a lack of trust in your organization, it’s practically impossible for employees to commit emotionally. And this sort of commitment is just what employee engagement is built on.

To foster an environment of trust, security, and teamwork in your workplace, practicing transparency is essential.

Transparency means being honest with employees, answering their question, and keeping them in the loop about everything that’s happening in the organization. When your staff feel comfortable asking questions and giving upword feedback, it’s a good sign that transparency is thriving in the workplace.

How to build this into your strategy

  • Include feedback options across your internal communications. This way, staff always feel like they can ask questions and clarify concerns.
  • Create anonymous surveys so that employees can feel more comfortable asking questions
  • Conduct focus groups to engage teams in open, honest discussions on a range of topics that are important to your staff.

10. Offer flexible work opportunities

Recent studies suggest that companies offering remote and other flexible work opportunities received 7X more applications. This clearly shows that people value flexible work.

In addition, employees have gotten used to flexible work during the pandemic, and they’re not set on losing the new level of freedom. Moreover, recent studies by Airtasker show that remote employees are more productive than in-person staff.

For all these reasons, offering flexible work is a must when it comes to increasing employee engagement.

How to build this into your strategy

  • Conduct an employee survey to see how employees feel about the current flexible work opportunities you offer.
  • Ask employees how many days a week they’d prefer to come into the office (if any).
  • Use an anonymous feedback box across your internal newsletters to gather suggestions on flexible work opportunities employees want to see (e.g., working from abroad, being able to start earlier and leave earlier to pick up kids from school, etc.)

11. Showcase your company values and mission

Your company’s core values and mission are the backbone behind your workplace culture. They give direction and purpose to your organization as well as its employees.

It’s important to be clear and straightforward about your company’s mission so that employees know their role within it. By communicating these concepts in a lucid and compelling manner, you’ll empower employees to see the meaning in their work.

In turn, they’ll feel a greater sense of purpose in their role, which is a key driver of employee engagement.

How to build this into your strategy:

  • Create thoughtful videos showcasing your brand story, vision, and values. With ContactMonkey, you can include video internal communications.
  • Use unique and consistent employer branding across all of your internal communications. ContactMonkey lets you create branded email templates, fit with company logos, default colours, and graphics.
Screenshot of custom branding settings within ContactMonkey's internal communication tool.
  • Create a captivating careers page such as this one from HelloFresh.

12. Check up on employee wellness

Employee engagement and wellness are both focused on protecting your human capital—your most valuable asset.

Engagement and wellness are inseparable, especially in an age where the workplace is transforming at a rapid pace, and a lot of our familiar comforts have been disrupted.

To ensure that employee wellness is supporting your employee engagement strategy, it’s important to continuously measure and assess wellness levels.

How to build this into your strategy

  • Conduct regular employee wellness surveys.
  • Organize employee wellness days, webinars, and training sessions to normalize discussions on this topic.
  • Add comments boxes into your employee newsletter and ask employees to suggest what resources could help them improve their wellness levels.

13. Invest in effective employee onboarding

To see the maximum impact of your employee engagement strategies, it’s important to launch them from day one.

And that means starting with employee onboarding.

Effective employee onboarding leads to employees that are up to 14 times more likely to understand their role and have  higher job satisfaction. These are results every successful organization needs. Giving each employee the suitable tools to succeed will be worth the investment once you see the rise in employee engagement and retention.

How to build this into your strategy

  • Create a clear and seamless employee onboarding process.
  • Conduct quick pulse surveys at various stages of the onboarding process to see how employees are coping in their first few weeks.
  • Create an employee onboarding HTML newsletter to deliver all the necessary new hire resources in one place.

Learn how to quickly create pulse surveys with our step-by-step guide.

Screenshot of new employee welcome email template created using ContactMonkey's email template builder.

14. Offer additional perks and incentives

In the age of the Great Resignation offering competitive incentives and perks to retain employees is more important than ever. As businesses compete for top talent, recruiters are beginning to offer attractive extras on top of traditional compensation. These bonus perks include gym memberships, professional development budgets, and free lunches (or lunch gift cards) to name just a few.

How to build this into your strategy

  • Find out what perks and incentives your employees are interested in the most. You can do some research ahead of time and conduct a pulse survey using multiple choice options. Alternatively, you can ask employees to comment their own suggestions
  • Conduct an employee experience survey or an employee opinion survey to see how satisfied employees are with your current perks, benefits, and compensation.

Whip up emails your employees want to open

Prove higher clicks and opens with newsletter templates that catch even the busiest eyes.

15. Keep measuring employee engagement

This is one of the most significant and effective employee engagement strategies. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most overlooked. When employee engagement levels appear high, we often enjoy the benefits without assessing what’s leading to the surge. When engagement levels are low, we go into full troubleshooting mode, trying to resolve the issue without inspecting its root causes.

Both of these approaches underestimate the value of consistently tracking employee engagement to make continuous improvements.

Measuring engagement through a combination of employee feedback and quantitative data, allows companies to recognize the characteristics of engaged employees. They can then identify opportunities to improve engagement.

How to build this into your strategy:

  • Conduct regular employee engagement surveys. Ensure that you ask both open-ended employee engagement survey questions and closed-ended ones. This will allow you to collect a wider range of data.
  • Use internal email tracking software to assess employee engagement patterns across your internal communications. With ContactMonkey’s IC software, you can track which individual employees and departments are most engaged with your internal content. You can also track email metrics anonymously to protect your employees privacy.
  • Collect engagement data on your internal communications to see what type of content resonates with employees the most. Try to mimic successful email campaigns, events, and other messages, by using a campaign comparison tool like ContactMonkey.

Are Your Employee Engagement Strategies Making a Difference?

Even the best employee engagement models and strategies are incomplete without a way to measure their impact. Knowing what works and what doesn’t will let you continually make your company a better place to work.

ContactMonkey’s workforce analytics make it easy to collect the data you need so you can make informed decisions that appeal to your people. As our founder and CEO says,“Understanding and supporting what’s important to your employees will always increase engagement.”

Want to learn more about how ContactMonkey helps you build better employee engagement? Set up a free demo. If you’d like to try our employee engagement tools on your own, you can also sign up for a free demo.