Grace Smith
February 22, 2024

Employees are the heart and soul of any organization. When they're engaged, their productivity and morale increases.

On the other hand, disengaged employees don't put in extra effort at work. They display signs opposite to a brand advocate, and wouldn't recommend their workplace as a good place to work.

And poor engagement can negatively affect employee performance and cause them to be less productive at work.

In this article, we'll cover 10 strategies to enhance and improve your employees' engagement, and go over some tips and award ideas that will complement your engagement efforts.

10 Employee Engagement Strategies for Building a Successful Workplace

In the words of Stephen R Covey,

"Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers."

Executing a strategy alone isn't enough, as employees can only be engaged if they want to.

That means you'll have to find different strategies to do it.

Here are some of them.

1. Survey your employees

Start by surveying your employees. Conducting a survey is a good way to spur your employee engagement strategy, and tune your efforts in the right direction. Engagement, pulse, eNPS, and satisfaction surveys can help gauge employee sentiment and inform your decisions.

These questionnaires or surveys helps employees voice their concerns. Moreover, it shows them that you care about their well-being and happiness at work, which makes them feel like valued members of your organization.

You can then use the results from your survey to find who's engaged and who isn't.

ThriveSparrow's Dynamic Heatmaps
ThriveSparrow's Heatmaps allows you to identify departments with the lowest engagement scores along with the reporting factors contributing to low engagement.

2. Encourage transparent and open communication

Communicate all kinds of important communication and avoid withholding them. Tell your employees how and why certain corporate decisions were made.

Also, make sure the communication is 2-way so that employees are encouraged to share their thoughts and concerns.

Promote an environment of trust and transparency where your employees can feel safe to share their thoughts and concerns. Keep an open-door policy to encourage employees to approach their managers and talk to them about anything work-related.

Encourage employees at relevant-enough positions to also participate and voice their opinions on decision-making and matters related to the company's policies. Another way is to conduct anonymous AMA sessions, where employees ask their own questions through anonymous survey and the leaders of the organization transparently answer them.

3. Include engagement activities

Every employee is part of the organization. All of them function as a community, taking from one another and contributing to the larger picture.

Conducting some fun activities can bolster engagement and improve collaboration between many.

Employee Engagement Activities
Employee Engagement Activities

Team-building activities, games and competitions, quizzes, workplace parties, and virtual coffee sessions are wonderful examples of activities that can be conducted at the workplace, and significantly boost engagement.

4. Recognize and appreciate your employees when it matters

When employees aren't engaged. They may not bring out their best performance. In addition to this, your top talent may be looking for other job opportunities.

That is why, creating a recognition rich-environment filled with rewards and incentives can help them feel valued.

According to Gallup,

'When recognition hits the mark, employees are five times as likely to be connected to company culture and four times as likely to be engaged.'

An employee recognition program can help you facilitate peer-to-peer recognition, and reward high-performance and other achievements. With a recognition system in place, other employees can also join in on celebrating achievements, helping foster a positive work atmosphere.

Including rewards in your recognition program can motivate your employees to achieve more milestones and perform better.

Redeemable rewards in ThriveSparrow's Kudos module.
ThriveSparrow's Kudos module allows employees to collect recognition points, and accumulate them for redeemable rewards.

5. Invest in their growth and provide professional development opportunities

Every person in an organization is important.

Employees who are highly skilled and well-trained serve as a company's best assets. That is why, providing regular opportunities for employee growth is crucial for maintaining a high-performance culture.

Employees also love it when you invest in their professional growth. It adds value to both their personal and professional lives.

As a result, they'll tend to be more engaged and happy and will contribute more than required to achieve a company's goals.

6. Encourage your managers to be more like a leader

Good leadership positively impacts workplace dynamics.

Employees communicate with their managers on a regular basis. And Engagement stems on the daily interactions between the two.

You may have heard of this famous quote,

Employees don't leave jobs, they leave their bosses.

A 2019 study by DDI found that 57% of employees left their previous job due to their managers.

Therefore, educating a manager on how to be a better boss and engage their employees is something that should be prioritized. Additionally, managers can ask assess a team's engagement by asking them certain questions. This provides managers with a clear picture of the team's engagement.

Another way to keep tabs on a teams' engagement is to conduct regular one-on-one meetings.

While hiring new managers, perform a behavioural assessment. This helps you check if the candidate meets the required needs of your company and is a good culture fit.

Read more: The Leader's guide to fostering a positive organizational culture

7. Give your employees a sense of purpose at work

Employees aren't just human capital. They're much more! They steer an organization towards its goals.

When you tell an employee how valuable their work is, and how it contributes to the organization, it instills a sense of purpose in them and makes them feel like important contributors to the organization.

Everyone seeks purpose in their lives - including their life at work. A low sense of purpose or a lack of one, can lead to employees wanting to leave their positions that much sooner - indicating disengagement at work.

82% of employees want to be viewed as a person, not just an employee, Gartner stated in a recent article.

So, respect every employee's opinion and prioritize discussing them during conversations.

8. Offer flexible working hours

Removing the constraints on work arrangements can help bring about a greater work-life balance in both your employees' personal and professional lives.

Offering flexible work schedules helps organizations increase their ability to attract, retain, and motivate high-performing and experienced individuals.

Other benefits of offering a flexible work schedule include:

  1. Greater productivity
  2. Enhanced engagement
  3. Reduced absenteeism
  4. Improved health
  5. Reduced stress
  6. Increased creativity
  7. Low chances of burnout
  8. Job satisfaction
The benefits of flexible work arrangements
The benefits of flexible work arrangements on employee engagement.

Apart from just offering a flexible work schedule, implementing other flexible arrangements, where tasks are divided between two employees, can also be beneficial. Such a process provides organizations with a safeguard against unforeseen layoffs.

9. Check in regularly with your employees

Regular check-ins allow you to gauge your employees' pulse and uncover potential issues before they arise. Pulse surveys can help organizations gauge their employees' sentiment on a regular basis, thus allowing leaders to make prompt decisions and close the feedback loop quickly.

Here are 101 pulse survey questions readily available for your reference.

One-on-one meetings between managers and employees are another way to check-in regularly with your employees and ask them how they feel about various happenings in the company.

This is especially important for remote employees. According to Harvard Business, 40% of surveyed employees felt isolated both emotionally and physically from the workspace. Therefore, ensuring regular check-ins is pivotal to your employees' engagement.

10. Analyze feedback and reiterate your engagement strategy

It is necessary to regularly collect feedback and use tit to guide your engagement efforts. Feedback also helps you identify what strategies of yours are working and what isn't. This approach allows you to reiterate your strategy and make it better for improved outcomes.

There are many channels for collecting feedback, but you should also use one that allows you to interpret and analyze feedback. As we discussed earlier, surveys are one of the best methods for collecting feedback, and an employee success platform like ThriveSparrow analyzes feedback and organizes them into reports.

With it, you'd view the engagement levels across departments and identify the reporting factors that are causing low engagement. This can help you target your engagement efforts towards those specific areas and get the best results.

A screenshot of ThriveSparrow's Engagement Trends in the Reports section.
ThriveSparrow's Engagement Trends help leaders view the engagement curve across departments and reporting factors.

Try ThriveSparrow for free and make data-driven decisions to drive engagement and foster a positive work atmosphere.

7 Additional Tips to Complement Your Employee Engagement Strategy

These tips are worth including since they can complement your strategy well and have potential to bring about greater engagement.

1. Robust onboarding and offboarding program

Implement a robust onboarding and offboarding program.

A strong onboarding program can help you align new hires to the company's culture and make a good first impression on them. Incorporating a 'Buddy program' where the 'buddy' (current employee) shows the new hire around the company and how various things work.

It would also help the new hire break the ice and connect on an emotional level with everyone else more quickly. Pairing them with a mentor would also ensure a smooth transition.

It is good practice to conduct exit interviews when an employee decides to leave the company. An exit interview or survey can include questions about the employee's motives and reasons behind the switch.

The insights from the survey can also help you find out areas of improvement in your current employee engagement strategy, helping you reiterate and refine them later on.

2. Safe and open space to share thoughts

Schedule regular town hall meetings where employees can voice their concerns and suggestions directly to the management team anonymously and in a non-judgemental setting. AMA sessions are another way to do this.

And encourage leaders to share company news – both good and bad – openly with employees, fostering a culture of transparency and mutual trust.

3. Create a diverse and inclusive atmosphere

Celebrate cultural diversity through events and awareness programs.

Ensure your recruitment processes are unbiased and inclusive of diverse talent.

Moreover, implement policies that actively promote inclusion, such as flexible work arrangements and support for different life stages and needs.

For example, organizations providing accessible parking spaces, elevators, rest-rooms, and cafeterias for handicapped employees helps them feel valuable and like they belong.

4. Prepare an action plan

After collecting feedback from employees, create a clear action plan with specific timelines and responsible persons. This shows employees that their input leads to real change. Regularly update the team on the progress of these action items, keeping the communication channels open and transparent.

5. Set SMART goals

Encourage employees to set Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART) goals that align with their career aspirations and the company’s objectives. Also educate them on the benefits of setting goals the right way.

Have regular check-ins to review these goals, and provide them with the necessary support and resources to help employees set and achieve their goals.

6. Encourage employee development

Create a clear career pathway for your employees within the organization, encouraging them to apply for senior roles or leadership positions.

Offer regular training and development workshops that not only focus on their job-related skills but also their personal development.

7. Incorporate employee assistance programs (EAPs)

Incorporate EAPs that provide your employees with access to counseling and mental health services that can help them in managing work-related stress and personal issues.

You could also consider organizing well-being programs and activities such as health screenings, fitness challenges, and mindfulness sessions to promote a healthy work-life balance.

Bonus Section: 10 Awards and Ideas to Boost Engagement

Remember that there is no one-size fits all strategy. Every organization is different, and what may work for one wouldn't work for the other.

1. The Museum of Flops

Creating a gallery of fun flops is a witty way to produce a growth mindset and educate employees to laugh about mistakes. Set up this activity by creating a bulletin board or display in a department of your office, or by starting an online gallery on a website like Slack, social media, Imgur, iCloud, etc. 

Embarrassing incidents like leaving the spatula in the oven, texting the incorrect number or spilling coffee can be discussed among coworkers through the sharing of images and anecdotes.

Also, employees can share stories of workplace mistakes, get consolation from their peers, or stop their coworkers from committing the same error.

Employers and managers can also contribute to the argument that leadership is flawed and has a human side.

The Museum of Flops fosters teamwork and a culture of growth while fostering a sense of humor. 

2. Award nights with awkward memes 

This would be an excellent employee engagement approach for keeping employers linked to the company. Some of the stylish employee awards not only keeps them interested in their work but also makes them feel good about themselves.

Now, without further ado, let's have some fun with this list of funny employee awards. 👉

3. Performance-grounded awards 

1. Road-runner Award for the employee who's always going about collecting data and information. 

2. The All-Rounder Award is given to the employee who appears to be excellent at contriving plans, carrying out scores, and presenting assignments on time. 

3. Budget Cruncher Award is for the employee who always provides correct numbers. 

4. Storm Calmer Award for the employee who facilitates the completion of all opinions. 

Sports And Fitness Awards 

Take the stairs Award for the employee who would make every lift a drill session. 

The Entertainment Industry 

1. One-Liner Champ Award for the employee who can break the ice with just one line. 

2. Class Clown Award for the employee who can not help but be funny all of the time. 

3. Everyone's Bestie Award for the employee who is everybody's confidante and everyone's comfort zone. 

4. The Practical Joker Award for the employee who's always throwing improvisational derisions and doing prints to make everyone laugh. 

'Time Is Relative' Awards

1. The Early Raspberry Award for the employee who always makes an early appearance. 

2. Night Owl Award for the employee who likes to put in further hours than the bones that they're needed to. 

3. Weekender Award for the employee who looks forward to Friday more than any other day of the week. 

4. I- Smell- Food Award For the employee who's always staying for the lunch break hour. 

5. Drowsy Mondays Award For the employee who returns from the weekend with resentment for Monday. 

6. Monday's- got- nothing- on- me Award for the employee who noway gets Monday blues. 

‘The Incredibles’ Awards 

1. The Observer Award for the employee who observes and also remembers every little detail. 

2. Pursuits- are- heartstrings Award for the employee who takes up one too numerous pursuits as their passion system. 

3. I'll- Try- Everything Award for the employee who's daring enough to try everything at least formerly. 

Take The Lead Awards

1. Ever the Optimist Award For the employee who's always sure that effects will work out in the end( and they nearly always do!) 

2. Yes- Joe Award For the employee who doesn't let any occasion slip from their hands.

 3. The Initiator Award For the employee who always takes action and leads the platoon to success 

We hope you make the most out of all these fun awards. We will keep adding to the list so you can cover every aspect of fun with an apt title! 

Do it before the clock hits

Clock hits are analogous to bucket lists, it's a collection of ‘to do before you die,’ and the entries on this collection are stuff to complete before the clock hits. You can specify whether timepiece - lists must be completed in a single day or over a week or month.

Then are some examples of what you could include 

1. Admit a high five from the CEO. 

2. Make a new coworker. 

3. Help another department.

4. Lunch should participate with a colleague. 

5. Share in voluntary training. 

6. Exercising at my office.

7. Bring a commodity for a teammate. 

8. Compliment a colleague.

9. Discover a new fact about the company. 

4. Employee recognition program

Recognition is not a "nice-to-have"; rather, it is required for business success.

Every team member desires and deserves on-the-spot praise. Employees want to be recognized for their achievements, no matter how small.

This goes beyond merely making your employees happy. When employees are recognized for their efforts, morale rises, which boosts your company's financial line.

When recognition was increased from twice a month to twice a week, customer satisfaction increased by 5%. Furthermore, firms with highly engaged workforces outperform their peers in terms of earnings per share by 147 percent.

Of course, practising recognition takes more than just purchasing a platform and crossing your fingers. Employer recognition programs need to be carefully tailored by businesses to fit their particular circumstances.

Enter ThriveSparrow, the continuous employee success platform that lets you celebrate wins, inspire your team, discover bright stars, and simplify employee recognition and rewards. With cultural insights and dynamic dashboards, ThriveSparrow helps you cultivate a thriving workplace where success is celebrated every day.

A screenshot of ThriveSparrow's Kudos Module
ThriveSparrow's Kudos Module

Sign up here for early access now!

5. Employee/departmental exchange day 

High school students commonly participate in international exchange programs that switch students across countries to create a better understanding of cultures.

Similarly, by participating in a departmental exchange program, your employees can build cross-functional skills as well as a deeper awareness of the organization as a whole.

Ask each department to opt out of the exchange if they do not want to participate while it is being planned. Once enough teams are willing to give it a shot, notify the organization and begin accepting participants. When an employee expresses an interest, schedule a day or a block of time for them to visit the new department and learn the ropes.

This idea is an excellent way to foster friendships between organizations and foster respect across departments.

6. Pay for passion 

Employee engagement activities are intended to promote welfare and satisfaction.

Pay for passion provides employees with a stipend to reward themselves with something enjoyable. The simplest way is to organize this allowance through the collection and repayment of employee receipts. You can make regulations so that employees understand what costs the company will and will not cover.

Financial incentives are routinely used to pay bills and other obligations. By requiring employees to spend money on themselves, you ensure that coworkers will enjoy a treat. The temporary happiness will be associated with work, and the serotonin high will last considerably longer than the actual revenue.

7. Light a fuse during lunch 

Learning lunches are an excellent way to bring your team together and stimulate learning for them. Take any topic that has lately sparked controversy, or any topic that is opposed to it. Discuss it with colleagues and have a healthy discussion as a group.

Bitly organizes lunch and learns once a week to encourage learning, community, and transparency.

Just make sure they aren't boring and brief. Nobody wants to sit through a long lunch meeting. Make sure to bring light lunches!

8. In-office animal therapy

Most people adore animals. Midday pet snuggling sessions are an excellent approach to instilling passion and improving the spirits of your employees. Simply ask employees to bring their gorgeous dogs to work, or organize a fundraising event with a neighbouring animal agency.

Distant workplaces don't have to miss out on the fun. As part of your remote employee engagement initiatives, you and your virtual team could ask pets to make a cameo appearance on the webcam. If the cats at your job are camera-shy or simply uncooperative, you can still get your fix by watching an animal Livestream.

9. Monthly Q&A with the seniors of the company

Monthly Q&A meetings with a company's senior leaders can be a helpful tool for both employees and the organization. These sessions allow employees to ask questions, get insights, and express their thoughts about various elements of the organization. At the same time, it helps senior leaders to express their company's vision, goals, and expectations.

To ensure the success of these Q&A sessions, a climate of openness, respect, and trust must be established. The HR department can ensure that the sessions are well-organized, that employees are comfortable asking questions, and that senior leaders deliver honest and direct responses. 

10. Cabin-gift 

How much do you like surprises or gifts?

Who doesn’t like to be surprised, especially if those happy moments are made in the office, then the office itself would be a heaven to work in! 

If a manager keeps a gift in their cabin for their staff to recognize their work before they arrive, it may produce a nice and satisfying mood for the employees. It demonstrates that the manager appreciates their efforts and wishes to recognize and reward their hard work.

The gesture can help raise staff morale and motivation by demonstrating that the supervisor recognizes and values their work. Additionally, as employees share in the acknowledgment and appreciation, it may develop a sense of togetherness and goodwill.

The supervisor must, however, ensure that the presents are appropriate and related to the employees' interests and requirements. A thoughtful present can make someone's day.

Wrapping up

Employee engagement initiatives are an essential component of a functioning organization. Organizations can improve employee satisfaction, retention, and performance by investing in these strategies and activities, resulting in increased overall success and growth.