12 Best Employee Engagement Ideas - According to Employees

Written by:Milica Jović
Published on: 27 February 2024 Reading time: 10 minutes
Employee engagement ideas 2

Measuring employee engagement can offer invaluable insights into the overall happiness, satisfaction, and morale of your workforce. However, the real challenge is not just measuring engagement, but actively enhancing it. 

 

How do you keep your team motivated, productive, and genuinely invested in their work and the company's success?

 

To address this question, we present you with 12 best employee engagement ideas. These strategies are not just theoretical; they are practical, proven approaches that employees themselves have suggested and endorsed. 

 

1. Make employees feel welcome from their first day

 

A welcoming start can lead to long-term engagement, improve retention rate, and foster a productive and positive work environment. Employees who feel welcomed and valued are more loyal to the team and the company, more motivated to contribute positively, and more likely to have higher job satisfaction. 

 

To welcome new employees, provide:

 

  • Personalized welcome: Gestures like a welcome note signed by the team or a small gift make a big difference in making the new employee feel valued.
  • Effective onboarding: Effective onboarding increases new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%. Ensure your onboarding is well-organized and informative. It should include role-specific information and an introduction to company culture and values.
  • Buddy system: Pair a new hire with a more experienced colleague who can answer questions, provide support, and help the new employee within their first few months at the company.
  • Regular check-ins: Schedule one-on-one meetings where new employees can discuss concerns and give the manager a chance to offer feedback and guidance.

 

2. Discuss job expectations

 

Over 25% of employees stated they did not have enough details about their employment before accepting the offer. Open dialogue helps eliminate confusion about job responsibilities and ensures employees understand what is expected of them. It can also highlight discrepancies between the employee's understanding and the manager's expectations.

 

When employees can articulate their roles and responsibilities, they take greater ownership of their tasks. This sense can enhance their motivation and commitment to their job.

 

Try using the following tools and approaches when discussing their role with an employee:

 

  • One-on-one meetings: Schedule regular individual sessions to discuss job expectations. 
  • Ask open-ended questions: Encourage employees to describe their role in their own words. Ask open-ended questions like, “How do you see your role evolving?” or “What part of your job do you feel has the most impact?”
  • Actionable follow-up: Don’t stop at just having a discussion. Follow up on your conversation by making adjustments to responsibilities, set new personal goals, or identify skill development targets.
  • Align and refresh incentives: Work with your employees to set clear goals and targets after which they can be rewarded with a bonus or another type of incentive. It will contribute to their motivation.

 

3. Include employees in decision-making processes

 

Employees feel valued and respected when their opinions are sought and considered. They're more motivated and satisfied, knowing they can impact the company's direction and success. Involvement fosters a positive work culture where employees are eager to contribute, leading to higher productivity and innovation.

 

Involve employees in decision-making through:

 

  • Transparent communication: Share the topics for debate and the scope of the decision-making process. Ensure employees understand how the company will use their feedback and make decisions.
  • Diverse committees: Create working groups with employees from different departments to ensure multiple perspectives and expertise in decision-making.
  • Suggestion systems: Provide multiple ways for employees to submit ideas or suggestions. This could include a digital suggestion box, regular brainstorming sessions, or idea management software.
  • Recognition and feedback: Acknowledge the contributions of your employees and provide feedback on how their input was used.

 

4. Make regular feedback loops a must

 

Employee feedback can provide insights into the organization's daily operations and culture, revealing strengths and areas needing improvement. A company that values feedback shows transparency and builds trust, demonstrating that every voice matters and is taken seriously. At the same time, your employees should receive frequent feedback on their work so that they can keep improving every day.

 

To collect the feedback from your employees, use:

 

  • Proper tools: Use tools like HeartCount that offer weekly pulse checks – short, frequent surveys that collect employee feedback on various topics. They are less time-consuming and provide immediate insights. Provide an anonymity option to get honest and constructive feedback.
  • Suggestion boxes: Implement physical and digital suggestion boxes where employees can share their ideas or concerns anytime.
  • Act on feedback: Merely collecting feedback isn't enough. It's crucial to act on it. Share the feedback outcomes with your employees, explain the decisions you have taken, and involve them in creating the solution whenever possible. Negative pulse check results can be a sign your employee is preparing to quit, so make sure you react promptly to prevent losing a valuable asset to your team and company.
  • Open-door policy: Encourage leaders to be approachable so that employees feel comfortable sharing feedback directly. Educate managers on how they should deliver feedback and the employees on how they should receive it. Clear, kind, and timely feedback works best for most teams.

For example, the management at Bright!Tax has adopted Brene Brown’s principle that “clear is kind,” meaning that they don’t shy away from tough conversations, but always deliver feedback with clarity: what’s been done well, what should be improved, and how the employee can get there.

 

Katelynn Minott, Bright!Tax’s CEO, says: “Know what you want out of the conversation and what you need to learn from it. This clarity acts as a compass when things get a bit stormy.”

5. Celebrate milestones 

 

Celebrating milestones motivates employees to maintain and improve their performance. Recognition fulfills a fundamental human need for appreciation and belonging, driving loyalty and a strong, positive workplace culture. Engaged employees are more efficient and are more inclined to stay with the organization.

 

Celebrate milestones with:

 

  • Personalized celebrations: Understand what type of recognition is most meaningful to each employee or team. Public recognition is most impactful for some, while others may prefer a private note of appreciation.
  • Timely recognitions: Celebrate milestones soon after they are achieved to maximize the impact of the recognition.
  • Everyone included: Ensure that celebrations acknowledge all those who contributed to the success, fostering a sense of teamwork and collective achievement.

 

Tools can also help celebrate milestones. Milos Milosavljevic, HeartCount’s product marketing lead, suggests:

 

“One of HearCount’s best features is definitely “Praise" which allows me to directly acknowledge and highlight the work and contributions of colleagues from my own and other teams. As a manager, Praise also helps me better understand the relationships between colleagues.”

Hearing a "Well done" from someone at the top, like the CEO, can significantly boost morale and employee engagement. At NetApp, Tom Mendoza, the Vice Chairman, personally thanks employees. He asks managers to inform him whenever an employee notably excels and personally calls and expresses gratitude to 10 to 20 employees daily.

6. Respect work-life balance boundaries

 

Employees have lives outside of work, and their time off is just as important as their time on the job. Overworking can lead to burnout, reduced productivity, and an increased probability of quitting, while well-rested employees are more productive, creative, and effective. Respecting work-life balance helps maintain employee well-being and long-term engagement.

 

Good work-life balance practices include:

 

  • Clear expectations: Ensure managers understand and embody the organization's stance on work-life balance.
  • Flexible work arrangements: Offer flexible working hours, remote work options, or compressed work weeks to accommodate different lifestyles and responsibilities.
  • Encouraging time off: Ensure that time off is not stigmatized and encourage employees to take their allotted vacation time.
  • Monitoring workloads: Regularly review employee workloads to ensure they are reasonable and offer support or adjustments when necessary.
  • Leading by example: Leadership should model work-life balance by setting boundaries for themselves and respecting the boundaries of others.

Airbnb, for instance, rewards employees with $2000 worth of travel coupons each year. Ensuring employees have opportunities to rest and recharge shows the importance of work-life balance in maintaining a happy and healthy workforce.

7. Ask employees to suggest rewards for their achievements 

 

When employees know they can choose rewards that are meaningful to them, they are more likely to participate actively and strive for excellence. Personalized rewards motivate the individual receiving them and inspire the rest of the workforce. The practice of rewarding your employees also shows that the organization cares about their preferences and well-being, boosting morale and job satisfaction.

 

To get useful and effective suggestions:

 

  • Set clear guidelines: Offer choices, but ensure clear guidelines for a reasonable reward. 
  • Provide diverse options: Provide various options to cater to different preferences. Some choices include extra time off, professional development opportunities, gift cards, public recognition, or team outings.
  • Collect regular feedback: Adjust the options based on what employees find most valuable.

While incentives typically reward continued employment and achievements, Zappos came up with an unconventional approach. Under the leadership of Tony Hsieh, the company introduced "The Offer," a unique program that paid employees to quit.

 

This program gave new hires a cash bonus if they decided within the first four weeks that the job wasn't for them. The quitting bonus started at $100 and went up to $2,000. The goal was to ensure that only the hires who were truly happy and committed to the company would stay, which resulted in a more satisfied and productive team. This interesting approach to rewards and incentives shows that you reap benefits from being creative about employee engagement practices and company culture.

8. Invest in your people 

 

Employee development is an investment, not an expense, yet 59% of employees report that the company didn't invest in their training. Investing in employee development ensures your team's skills remain relevant and competitive in a rapidly changing market. Well-trained and knowledgeable employees are more likely to generate innovative ideas to drive the company forward.

 

Employees are more likely to stay with a company that values them and invests in their growth. Moreover, companies that invest in their people attract high-caliber candidates looking for workplaces supporting their professional development.

 

Invest in your people by offering:

 

  • Professional development programs: Offer training, workshops, seminars, or access to online courses that help employees improve their skills and advance in their careers.
  • Mentorship and coaching: Establish mentorship programs where employees can learn from experienced colleagues. External coaching can also contribute to personal and professional development.
  • Clear pathways for advancement: Show your employees a clear career path within the organization and provide the support they need to progress.
  • Well-being programs: Invest in programs that support your employees' physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

DreamWorks, a top-notch animation studio, encourages employees to be creative by providing them with opportunities to take part in various art-related activities like art shows, craft fairs, movie nights, art classes, and creative workshops. This variety helps inspire employees and keeps their creative skills sharp.

9. Organize team-building activities 

 

Team-building activities help dissolve barriers between employees, encouraging open communication and collaboration. Shared experiences outside the regular work tasks can reinforce relationships and build trust among team members. 

 

Furthermore, team-building activities are fun and engaging and provide a refreshing break from routine work, helping to reduce stress and prevent burnout.

 

Organize team-buildings: 

 

  • During the work week: Show that the organization values these activities without infringing on personal time. 
  • Variety in activities: Offer various activities: brain teasers, physical challenges, creative tasks, or community service projects catering to different interests and abilities.
  • Regular schedule: Team-building activities can be monthly or quarterly events, ensuring they’re something the team looks forward to and can plan around.
  • Involve everyone: Ensure that activities are inclusive and consider all team members' preferences, abilities, and comfort levels.
  • Reflect and debrief: Discuss what the team learned, how individual team members worked together, and how these insights can be applied in the workplace.

 

10. Encourage employees to connect 

 

Connections among employees create a supportive network that can offer help, advice, or simply a listening ear when needed. When employees know and understand each other, they are more likely to collaborate and support each other’s success.

 

Employees who feel connected to their colleagues are generally more engaged and satisfied with their job, as relationships are a significant part of the workplace experience.

 

Encourage employee interactions through: 

 

  • Social events: Organize team lunches, coffee breaks, or after-work gatherings to provide informal spaces for employees to connect.
  • Interest-based groups: Encourage the formation of book clubs, sports teams, or volunteer groups where employees can bond over shared interests.
  • Collaboration tools: Utilize collaboration tools and platforms that facilitate communication and project teamwork, encouraging employees to connect and engage digitally.
  • Team projects: Create projects or committees that require collaboration across different departments, encouraging employees to interact and connect with colleagues they might not typically work with.

 

11. Facilitate work with tools and technologies

 

77% of employees think simple access to information helps them stay efficient and engaged at work. Similarly, having the right tools that automate repetitive tasks, streamline processes, and reduce the time and effort required to get work done enables employees to find new ways to solve problems faster. Also, when they have the necessary resources, employees tend to feel more satisfied, less stressed, and more likely to take pride in their work.

 

To provide employees with all the necessary tools:

 

  • Assess their needs: Regularly consult your team to understand their challenges and identify helpful tools or technologies.
  • Offer training and support: When introducing new tools, provide training and ongoing support to ensure all employees can use them effectively.
  • Integrate tools: Ensure your tools are well-integrated to minimize the need to switch between different platforms and allow for a smoother workflow.

 

12. Support a flexible work model

 

Employees who can work from anywhere and choose their working hours feel trusted and respected, which leads to higher job satisfaction and commitment. Flexibility reduces stress, increases productivity, and fosters a positive work culture in which the personal and professional needs of your employees are understood and valued.

 

Provide a hybrid work model with

 

  • Clear policies: Define eligible roles, expected in-office days, and any core hours during which your employees should be available.
  • Reliable technology: Ensure that your employees have the tools and resources to be productive from any location.
  • Regular check-ins: Implement virtual meetings to ensure remote employees are engaged with their teams.
  • Focus on outcomes: Shift the focus from hours worked to outcomes and productivity. 

 

Foster inclusion: Ensure remote employees have equal access to information, resources, and opportunities for collaboration and career advancement.

Glassdoor named Bain & Company one of the "Best Places to Work" in 2024, recognizing the company's exceptional workplace environment and practices. A key component of their approach to creating a positive work culture is offering flexible working conditions. This includes flexible hours, hybrid and remote work options, and more. 


Another great example is Buffer, which covers up to $200 worth of beverages and snacks for employees who prefer working from cafes instead of co-working spaces.

Boost employee engagement to maximize your team’s potential

 

Implementing these ideas for boosting employee engagement can lay a foundation for a thriving and dynamic work environment. However, to truly elevate and harness your team's potential, you need an effective tool to measure, analyze, and act on employee feedback in real-time.

 

HeartCount is your go-to solution, seamlessly blending with your engagement strategies to provide a comprehensive overview of your employees' satisfaction and morale. With features like weekly pulse checks, predictive turnover analytics, and timely notifications about employees at risk of leaving, HeartCount ensures you're always ahead of the curve.

 

HeartCount CEO Tijana Andjelic recommends:

 

“HeartCount’s individual employee profiles, accessible with just one click, provide a comprehensive overview of an employee's responses from the moment they start using HeartCount. This feature enables quick and easy identification of their strengths and weaknesses in their professional relationships and in the workplace in general.”

 

By adopting HeartCount, you're not just measuring engagement; you're actively enhancing it, fostering a work environment where every employee feels valued and connected.