Employee Engagement: The Ultimate Guide For Success In 2024

Alex Cleary

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Employee engagement is the key to unlocking lasting success for your business. But if you’re still wondering ‘what is employee engagement anyways?’ then consider this guide your required reading. 

You can have the best product or service in your sector but engaged employees differentiate average companies from great companies. Prioritizing employee engagement is essential for any business to grow, succeed, and lead.

We’ll examine everything that goes into creating a stellar business environment to nurture engagement. Culture change does not happen overnight; to improve employee engagement you need an ongoing strategy that can adapt with your business and employees.

By the end of this blog, you’ll be an employee engagement expert ready to share new ways of connecting employees to their roles and to each other. You’ll be able to measure your success and show exactly how internal communications helped improve your workplace engagement levels.

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What Is Employee Engagement?

Employee engagement measures how connected your employees are with each other and your business.

Employees who are highly engaged will give more effort because their work matters to them. They view your business’ success as a product of their personal success, and this connection allows both parties to flourish.

Why Is Employee Engagement Important?

Engaged employees not only complete their assigned work, but they’ll look for new challenges and opportunities to improve your business. The importance of employee engagement cannot be overstated.

Think about it like this: an engaged employee looks at their day-to-day tasks and thinks about ways to do them better. While an average employee follows procedures without asking questions, engaged employees ask questions and suggest improvements to existing processes so that work can get done better and faster.

Benefits of Employee Engagement

Besides an overall increase in employee satisfaction and productivity, highly engaged employees bring a lot to the table:

  • Passion for success and the success of the team members.
  • Higher employee retention rates to reduce to overall turnover.
  • Initiative to take on new challenges or responsibilities.
  • Critical perspective on existing business practices; always looking to improve.
  • Proud of their work and workplace; an excellent spokesperson for your company.

For the number-crunchers, check out our blog post on employee engagement statistics to get the hard data on workplace engagement benefits.

Types of Employee Engagement

Your employees aren’t robots; they face different challenges at home and at work that can affect their overall engagement at your business. We can break down employee engagement into different categories to get a better idea of how your employees connect with their jobs and their coworkers.

Consistently engaged

Nurturing consistently engaged employees should be the goal of all your workplace engagement initiatives. Consistently engaged employees take their work seriously and find meaning in it. They’re more likely to volunteer for tasks outside their role, to be close with their coworkers, and to contribute employee engagement ideas to improve your business.

Consistently engaged employees are able to maintain their levels of engagement regardless of what may be happening at work or in their personal lives. This resilience makes them assets for your business, and helps encourage other employees to put their best effort forward.

Inconsistently engaged

Similar to consistently engaged employee, inconsistently engaged employees are connected with their roles and contribute to the overall success of their workplace.

However, inconsistently engaged employees aren’t able to maintain this level of engagement indefinitely. They may experience periods of disengagement, even if they enjoy their responsibilities and the company of their coworkers.

It’s likely that inconsistently engaged employees comprise the majority of your workforce, especially when dealing with the shift to remote work.

Your engagement efforts should be aimed at these employees. After all, most of them do want to contribute to the success of your company, but many not always have the energy or initiative to keep that going day in and day out.

Disengaged

Though inconsistently engaged employees may sometimes find it difficult to stay connected with their work, they still want to contribute to the success of the business. Disengaged employees have little interest in contributing to the company, and can even find their work off-putting or annoying.

An employee need not love their jobs in order to be engaged. But many people find themselves in jobs they can hardly tolerate, which can drastically affect their engagement. Mere employee engagement initiatives will likely not change how disengaged employees feel about their jobs, and greater intervention is usually needed to get to the root of the issue.

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Employee Engagement Models

The importance of engaged employees is well-recognized. So much so that there are established approaches for measuring and improving your business’ engagement landscape.

If you’re unsure about how to improve engagement at your organization, you can use these employee engagement models as guidelines or inspiration for your own initiatives.

Engagement models can give you a solid foundation on which to build a unique approach for your organization. These models provide high-level guidance for increasing engagement.

Employee Engagement Programs

Following your chosen model, you’ll implement new initiatives for your employees and organization.

Employee engagement programs can address gaps all over your organization. Small, ongoing changes—like regularly recognizing and rewarding excellent work in your company newsletter—can help your employees feel pride in their work (and brag to their coworkers).

You can also help foster relationships between your employees by running fun events based on their feedback. Let your team suggest what kind of events they’d like to do, and take polls on the most popular suggestions.

Using ContactMonkey, you can easily create, send, and manage event invitations from your Outlook or Gmail inbox. Embed event invitation in your employee engagment emails with the drag-and-drop email template builder, and track RSVP and employee comments:

Use ContactMonkey’s Gmail and Outlook analytics to maximize email engagement by finding your companies best times to send internal emails. Measure your progress over time to show the tangible value of internal communications.

Employee Engagement Goals and Objectives

Before you embark on improving employee engagement and retention in your organization—pause.

Ahead of taking any action, you have to have a clear understanding of your goals.

That means asking yourself questions like: “What does employee engagement look like at my company?” and “What employee engagement benchmarks will show us whether we have reached our engagement goals?”

When it comes to goal-setting, we like the SMART method. That means establishing goals that are:

  • Specific: such as a 9-10 range on your next Employee Net Promoter Score survey. Net Promoter Score determines how many of your employees would recommend your company to others as a great place to work.
Image of employee net promoter score (eNPS) scale for measuring employee engagement.
  • Measurable: this can include the click-through-rate or number of email opens on your internal newsletter.
  • Attainable: that means you can realistically achieve your objectives given your manpower, internal communications budget, and resources.
  • Relevant: making sure your goal has clear value for your team. In other words, you’ll need to show the ROI of employee engagement when getting buy-in for your engagement strategy from company leaders.
  • Time-bound: have a clear time frame for achieving your employee engagement goals to help you stay on track.

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Employee Engagement Ideas

Whether you’re managing a multinational enterprise or a start-up with a handful of employees, there are plenty of employee engagement ideas for any budget and company size. Here are just some tried and trusted strategies to get you started:

1. Focus on the onboarding experience

New hires will start to build an impression of your company from day 1 at the office. To improve employee experience you can provide a warm welcome email from the team as part of your employee onboarding. Provide maximum clarity when it comes to job duties and workplace standards.

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

2. Recognize your employees

Employee recognition helps your staff build confidence and excel in their work. By recognizing employees on a regular basis via fun employee recognition ideas, you can boost and maintain employee engagement in the long run.

There are many ways you can do this—from spotlighting employee achievements at your virtual town hall to sending out an ‘Associate of the month’ newsletter feature:

Screenshot of employee of the month email template created using ContactMonkey's email template builder.

Read our blog post on the best employee recognition ideas for additional inspiration.

3. Ensure employees get enough work-life balance

Stressed and sleep-deprived employees will not have time for meaningful engagement at your company. If you want to boost engagement, you’re going to have to prioritize employee wellness and work-life balance first.

There are many ways you can do this—from adding vacation days to catering healthy lunches or arranging in-house yoga lessons.

The first step, however, is to learn what your employees think about your company’s current work-life balance levels. Then use this information, alongside employee suggestions, to determine what initiatives can offer added wellness to staff.

Screenshot of employee wellness survey template within ContactMonkey's email template builder.

4. Offer more job flexibility

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, remote and hybrid work have increasingly become the norm. Not to mention many employers now know how to navigate remote employee engagement.

In light of this, offering flexible work opportunities can be an effective engagement idea. It’s also particularly important for attracting Gen-Z employees, who grew up in a tech-driven age where flexible work is something to aspire to.

5. Gather regular employee feedback

It’s crucial to understand how your employees feel about your engagement efforts. Not only will their feedback inform your approach, but they’ll provide you with new ideas as to how you can improve engagement.

You can make employee feedback a regular part of your internal communications using ContactMonkey’s drag-and-drop email template builder. It’s easy to build amazing internal communications where your employees can respond directly from their email inboxes:

Screenshot of employee benefits survey email template created using ContactMonkey's email template builder.

Employee surveys come in all shapes and sizes. Whichever you choose to use, you can use ContactMonkey to add star ratings, emoji reactions, yes/no, thumbs up/down, and more to your internal communications to gather employee feedback.

An effective pulse survey tool helps you stay in touch with your workforce, so you can provide the best possible work environment for them. We’ve got some excellent samples for you to build your employee pulse surveys:

Screenshot of employee performance survey email template created using ContactMonkey's email template builder.

You can target your employee feedback efforts using custom email lists to focus your surveys. Using ContactMonkey’s List Management feature, you can create custom email lists—without IT—that integrate with your Human Resource Information System (HRIS) like Workday and ADP, as well as Azure Active Directory, so they’ll update automatically.

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Employee Engagement Best Practices

No matter which workplace engagement ideas you implement, you’ll need to ensure that they comply with employee engagement best practices. In other words, you’ll have to link back your employee engagement strategy to general ground rules for employee engagement.

You can think of employee engagement best practices as criteria that help guide your workplace engagement plan.

Some best practices to keep in mind are:

  • Ensuring that you have an inspiring and committed leadership team
  • Putting effective employee communication at the top of your priorities list
  • Promoting continuous employee feedback (and acting on that feedback!)
  • Connecting employee engagement to your wider company culture

Drivers of Employee Engagement

Employee engagement touches on countless aspects of employees’ day-to-day work life. This can make it difficult to determine where to start when it comes to improving employee engagement. 

To make things easier, it can help to approach employee engagement in terms of its key drivers.

The drivers of employee engagement are different areas and aspects of the employee experience that directly impact employee engagement.

These include:

  • Leadership
  • Coworker relationships
  • Internal communication
  • Benefits and compensation

By zeroing in on each individual driver of engagement and looking for actionable ways to harness their benefits, employers can create practical employee engagement strategies based on industry-standard employee engagement models.

For a complete list of employee engagement drivers and how to make the most of them, check out our blog post on the top 20 drivers of employee engagement.

Employee Engagement Survey Questions

To get valuable feedback, you have to ask the right questions. There are thousands of different engagement survey questions out there, but we’ve sorted ours into 4 different categories:

  • Wellness: questions about your employees’ wellbeing.
  • Culture: questions about your employees’ daily experiences.
  • Company: questions about company objectives, initiatives, policy, etc.
  • Internal Communications: questions about how your employees feel about how you communicate with them.

Many questions in these categories can be answered using the survey options mentioned above, but some questions require employees to give unique feedback. Using ContactMonkey, you can gather anonymous employee feedback to get honest, specific feedback to your survey questions:

Screenshot of anonymous employee feedback box inserted into an email using ContactMonkey's email template builder.

Combining different kinds of employee feedback will give you the clearest picture of your engagement situation. Foster a culture of feedback by regularly asking for your employees’ opinions and thoughts with effective employee opinion survey questions.

If you’re unsure what kind of questions your should include in your surveys, you can use ContactMonkey’s OpenAI ChatGPT integration to generate new and effective survey questions. Simply provide a prompt and edit the output text according to your audience.

Turn emails into engaging conversations

Gauge employee satisfaction with embedded pulse surveys in your emails.

Engagement Software and Tools

We’ve already mentioned how ContactMonkey is great for collecting employee feedback, but employee engagement software can do so much more than that—it gives you a top-down look at your engagement so you can pinpoint where you need to improve.

There are a variety of tools on the market that address engagement in numerous ways. Some offer employee intranets where your team can share files and leave comments for one another, while others create internal social media websites that imitate Facebook.

Depending on the employee engagement tools you choose, you can gather data about your employees’ email engagement habits to learn what you can do better. When you use ContactMonkey, you can augment your employee feedback with email analytics. Adding quantitative email metrics to your qualitative employee feedback is the cornerstone of a data-based approach to employee engagement.

How to Measure Employee Engagement

Measuring qualitative and quantitative engagement data doesn’t have to be a chore. With the right engagement tools, you can quickly access and act on your data.

Within ContactMonkey, you can easily measure employee engagement from your analytics dashboard:

Screenshot of engagement distribution timeline within ContactMonkey's campaign overview.

Not only can you look at your campaign data from this centralized view, you can also select different campaigns to compare with one another.

Email metrics tracked using ContactMonkey can also be done anonymously using our Anonymous Email Tracking features. This helps you gather email metrics while adhering to external or internal email privacy regulations.

How to Improve Employee Engagement

Even the most successful companies can hit a bump in the road when it comes to employee engagement. The important part is continuously measuring engagement levels across your workforce and being proactive about making improvements.

Here are just a few techniques that can help you improve employee engagement:

  • Effectively communicating company values
  • Making improvements to your onboarding program
  • Asking employees for feedback on a regular basis
  • Planning team-building activities
  • Establishing and training a strong leadership team
  • Offering sufficient career development opportunities
  • Creating mentorship opportunities.

For more tips and ideas, check out our blog post on how to improve employee engagement.

Remote Employee Engagement

Engagement looks different to every business—especially with remote work being more popular than ever.

While many aspects of engagement can remain the same with remote workers, like measuring email engagement and creating great internal communications, other aspects have to be approached differently.

Collecting employee feedback and hosting events for your employees differ greatly between remote and on-site workforces. Understanding the unique needs of your remote employees should be your first step into creating effective remote employee engagement.

Boost Employee Engagement With ContactMonkey

Keeping engagement high is essential for the success of your business. By using a tool like ContactMonkey, you can turn this often nebulous process into an easily-followable action plan.

Connect to your employees like never before and watch your engagement skyrocket with in-depth analytics. Find what motivates your employees the most and get the best out of your workforce with ContactMonkey.

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