“To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.”

Employee engagement is not just a buzzword; it's a key driver of business success. Engaged employees are more productive, loyal, and contribute positively to their organizations, leading to higher profits and better customer satisfaction.

This commitment to a shared goal enables companies to excel in competitive markets. Recognizing its importance, many forward-thinking companies have adopted innovative strategies to foster a positive and engaging work environment.

In this blog, we'll explore some successful examples of employee engagement and discuss their impact on organizational success.

The Case for Engagement

Employee engagement stems from a positive and engaging relationship between an organization and its employees. It thrives when employees deeply connect with the organization's mission, vision, and core values.

To naturally enhance employee engagement, it's crucial to build a foundation of trust, loyalty, and honesty. This is achieved through a healthy communication and feedback system that benefits both management and team members mutually.

Employee engagement has many benefits for employers, such as

  • Greater retention
  • Improved performance
  • Enhanced productivity, and
  • Increased profitability

We know that employee engagement has a huge impact at the organizational level, as it can have a significant impact on organizational performance and profitability. 

According to a decade-old, yet still valid study by Gallup, companies with highly engaged workforces experience 21% more profitability and 17% more productivity.

- How Employee Engagement Drives Growth, Gallup

But the level of engagement is also key to helping employers identify and address employee needs and discover areas that need improvement to promote high employee morale. This feedback can give managers a better understanding of how to create and foster work environments that help employees succeed and stay engaged.

Inspiring Examples of Companies with Great Employee Engagement Practices

We've scoured the high and the low to bring you the best examples of companies that got employee engagement right. Here are our top picks and why we included them on this list. 

1. Hyatt

Hyatt took a different approach  to hospitality  standards. In an industry obsessed with  perfection, Hyatt took an unusual path, prioritizing emotional connections and empathy with customers over perfection. In an interview with Fortune, Hyatt CEO Mark Hoplamazian said, "The key to Hyatt's success is being connected to the experiences of our guests and colleagues, and then shaping their experiences to satisfy them." 

Hyatt's Employee Engagement Program 

Instead of using a script when speaking with guests, Hyatt employees can be their true selves when interacting with guests. This has the effect of creating a genuine and authentic customer experience and encouraging staff to be genuine, open and transparent and understand guests.

Not only does the company use empathy to create a great customer experience for their guests, but they also use it to create a great employee experience. For example, this household's flexi-time program allows housekeepers to leave if they complete their chores on time or clean extra rooms to earn more money. In addition, its family caregiver leave provides primary caregivers with at least eight weeks of paid leave. 

2. Cheesecake 

The Cheesecake is the only restaurant  on the 2018 Fortune 100 list, so it knows what it's doing. In fact, they have been on the list every year since 2014. 

Cheesecake factory wow stories initiative 

The company's commitment to employee engagement is not limited to restaurants. CEO David Overton says training and recognition is high on 'The Cheesecake Factory's list of priorities' because employees who feel appreciated typically provide better service, which increases customer satisfaction and further enhances The Cheesecake Factory's reputation.  

So it's no surprise that David has a 93% approval rating among employees. In addition, The Cheesecake Factory recognizes the outstanding performance of its frontline associates with the Wow Stories Initiative, an employee recognition program that spreads stories of great service throughout the company, boosting morale and disseminating best practices.  

3. DreamWorks Animation 

DreamWorks Animation employees are offered certain benefits such as free snacks, paid options for their workspaces. At company parties after the completion of important projects, they most appreciate  that at such events employees are encouraged to present personal projects or artwork that may be related to the work they do for the company. 

It really helps improve the creativity of others so that the employees and those who attend these types of meetings feel more than  a part of their work. 

4. Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines is a company that has mastered employee engagement. They have achieved very high results in their eNPS program for the past 10 years. They have built a team full of enthusiastic people who are passionate about their vision and brand and want to make a difference however they  can. 

They have created a positive work environment for everyone who works for them.

One way they demonstrate this is by letting certain employees decide different parts of their jobs, from designing uniforms in each department to giving them autonomy in their work lives and careers. And customers have noticed because their employees are truly happy and excited about where they spend most of their time every day - at work!  

The company provides a platform for people to be inspired and continue to do things differently. A viral video of a flight attendant rapping about safety information shows the company's attitude to keep things fun and unique, and it shows that employees  are valued. 

Herb Kelleher, the former CEO of Southwest Airlines, rightly pointed out that the level of employee engagement maintained by Southwest Airlines cannot be imitated or duplicated by competitors - the company is built only on mutual respect and a sense of understanding. 

 "They can buy anything material. The things they can't buy are dedication, commitment, loyalty—the sense that workers are on a crusade!" 

5. Yousician

Yousician is a Finnish interactive and educational music service designed to help people learn and play instruments. In July 2014, Yousician took their entire team to Saaremaa, Estonia, to group together and discuss product development. It suddenly dawned on the company's management that they could work anywhere as long as they had  computers. Therefore, when the company learned that their Helsinki office would be renovated for a month, they decided to get creative. 

When offices in Finland were expensive enough to reserve space for  a month, CEO Christoph Thür rented an entire villa in Greece and flew the entire team and their families to work for a month.

This led to the employees bonding well and being more productive.

5 Employee Engagement Mistakes to Avoid

Employee engagement is critical to the success and productivity of any organization. This promotes a positive work culture, better employee satisfaction and increases job retention. However, certain mistakes can negatively affect employee engagement, leading to disengagement, decreased motivation and ultimately organizational performance.

Here are five common mistakes that can destroy employee engagement, and tips on how to avoid them.

1. Lack of Vision

"The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. You can't blow an uncertain trumpet."

- Theodore M. Hesburgh

Employees want to see the organization's vision, mission and values. If an organization or  department lacks vision, it means the business lacks direction and employees are either working outside the boundaries required by the business or waiting for guidance on  next steps.

If you want your employees to feel empowered and increase employee engagement, create your company's vision and mission and share it with them.

2. Lack of Communication and Feedback

One of the most important mistakes is not creating effective communication channels and not providing regular feedback to employees. When employees feel in the dark about company innovations, goals, and personal activities, they become disengaged and isolated.

It is important to create open lines of communication, provide timely feedback and foster a culture of transparent, two-way communication to keep employees engaged and aligned with the organization's goals.

Facilitate regular one-on-one's and schedule pulse surveys on a monthly or a bi-monthly basis. This helps uncover areas of concern that employees may have been hesitant to disclose.

But even regular follow ups and one on one meetings may not cut it. You need to guarantee some sort of anonymity with employee feedback. And that's where ThriveSparrow comes in.

ThriveSparrow helps you create employee surveys in minutes and schedule them when necessary.

The survey responses collected are organized and made anonymous. That's the whole purpose of making surveys anonymous. It will encourage honest and transparent feedback, and any employee can state areas of concern without fear of being incriminated or ridiculed.

A screenshot of ThriveSparrow's Anonymous Survey
ThriveSparrow's Anonymous Survey Encourages Honest and Candid Feedback.

Moreover, ThriveSparrow's Heatmaps gives managers a comprehensive overview of engagement levels across departments. So they'll know how to close the feedback loop and won't have to guess twice before initiating an action plan.

A screenshot of ThriveSparrow's Dynamic Heatmaps
ThriveSparrow's Dynamic Heatmaps Provides Managers With an Org-Wide View of Engagement Levels Across Departments and Reporting Factors.

Try ThriveSparrow today for free, monitor your employees' satisfaction levels, and watch your employees' engagement levels soar.

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3. Micromanagement and Lack of Autonomy

Micromanagement is a surefire way to demotivate employees and destroy their engagement. Constantly hanging down employees' necks, controlling their every move, and denying them autonomy in decision-making undermines their confidence and makes it difficult to be creative.

Instead, empower employees by giving them the freedom to make decisions, take responsibility for their work, and offer their unique perspectives. Relying on the results of employees increases their responsibility and commitment.

4. Neglecting Employee Development

Failure to invest in employee development and growth opportunities is a major mistake that could undermine your organization's engagement.

Employees want to feel that their organizations value their professional growth and are willing to invest in their skills and knowledge.

Providing opportunities for training, skills and career development demonstrates a commitment to employee development and helps create a culture of continuous learning.

Engaged employees are those who see a clear path to growth and feel supported along the way.

5. Makes Employees Happy and Engaged

"The way your employees feel is the way your customers will feel. And if your employees don't feel valued, neither will your customers."

- Sybil F. Stershic

Getting your employees to look happy and engaged doesn't take long. Instead of forcing employees to appear happy and engaged, you can create a positive work environment that meets the needs of your employees and provides them with  the right work-life balance so they can thrive.

Concluding Thoughts

Effective communication, regular feedback, and transparency are essential for nurturing employee engagement. Emphasizing autonomy and avoiding micromanagement are key strategies that empower employees and invite their unique feedback.

Furthermore, investing in employee development highlights an organization's commitment to the professional growth of its staff.

Recognizing achievements, promoting a healthy work-life balance, and supporting employees in their personal lives are crucial for preventing burnout and boosting morale.

Ultimately, prioritizing employee engagement fosters a positive work environment, which is instrumental in attracting and retaining top talent, driving innovation, and achieving business success.