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Last updated October 25, 2021

15 employee engagement strategies that have a long-lasting impact

We know that employee engagement is more than just adding a ping pong table to your office space. Let’s say you’ve done the employee engagement survey and the results weren’t quite what you expected. Where do you start? What strategies will actually make your employees passionate and excited to work for your organization?

Employee engagement strategies

How to develop an employee engagement strategy

A well-strategized organizational culture creates a happy workforce and can drastically improve employee engagement. But don’t just choose a strategy at random—it’s important to consider your strategies carefully based on your organizational goals, and align them with employee job satisfaction criteria.

Your strategic choice will depend on where your organization currently stands. To assess your current standing and win buy-in for some effective employee engagement strategies, you’ll have to understand the drivers of employee engagement.

Drivers of employee engagement

There are several drivers of employee engagement, and the strategy you choose will be based on what your employees need the most. These drivers include:

  • Meaning & a sense of purpose
  • Job satisfaction
  • Psychological safety
  • Goal support & employee feedback
  • Company culture
  • Autonomy
  • Shared values among team members & senior leaders
  • Relationship with supervisors
  • Trust and integrity with your leadership team
  • Relationship with co-workers
  • Pride about company
  • Career growth opportunities
  • A compensation and benefits package

There are more, but these are enough to get you started. 

Your next step, after deciding which driver you’re going for, will be to design an action plan. These strategies, if effective, will require a budget, work, and usually a third-party platform or consultant to help manage and measure engagement success.

What to include in your employee engagement strategy

There’s no one right employee engagement strategy. It’ll vary depending on your company values and culture. It also depends on the current state of employee engagement. If you’re starting from total disengagement, you may need to go the extra mile to build up morale.

While the ultimate strategy may vary, it’s important that you have an action plan to get engaged employees. 

It’s about more than just perks and employee recognition. Today’s employees need an emotional connection with their work. 

15 Employee Engagement Strategies

Selecting the right employee engagement strategies for your business can be a little daunting, there’s a lot of information out there and many businesses are seeing success with different strategies. Lucky for you, we’ve rounded up a variation of our favorites we’ve seen doing wonders.

1. Conduct employee pulse surveys

Pulse surveys are like employee engagement surveys, but more frequent. Rather than every 6 months, these get sent out on a weekly or monthly basis. They’re a continuous psychological and satisfaction check-in with your team members.

As the name suggests, these surveys let you keep your finger on the pulse of your organization.

Real Example: Alaya partners use pulse surveys to measure the success of their CSR efforts and employee engagement. The pulse surveys available with the Alaya tool help giving businesses an instant insight into how their team is feeling and will highlight if there’s an extremity either way.

Alaya Employee Engagement Software

2. Promote and uphold your company core values

Have documented company values and a clear brand narrative. Everyone, from the executives to the janitor, should know what your company holds close to your heart. And your actions should demonstrate it. 

Real Example: Ben & Jerry’s is a fantastic example of a company that leads and operates by its values. Ben & Jerry’s is often one of the first brands to speak up on social injustices in society. Plus, the ‘values’ section of their website comes third in their main nav menu—which says a lot for its importance!

Lastly, Ben & Jerry’s are committed to driving positive change, which they reflect in their supplier selection, social enterprise creation, farmer sourcing, and by focussing on regenerative agriculture and animal welfare

Value-led business B&Js

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3. Bring in employee purpose and involve them in your CSR activities

Speaking of values, CSR activities are important. Today’s workforce (particularly millennials and Gen Z), want to work with companies with a triple bottom line. Corporate social responsibility alone can reduce employee turnover by 50%. You can take this even further by empowering them to participate through employee volunteering or other initiatives to promote more eco-conscious behavior.

Real Example: A study by Deloitte showed that company-powered volunteering has a direct, positive impact on how employees see their company. You can use platforms like Alaya to streamline and manage these initiatives.

4. Be transparent

When transparency exists at all levels: from employee salaries to business strategies, it helps build trust in the company. This works because it helps employees understand the why of what they’re doing. They understand the company’s vision as well as how it plans to get there.

Real Example: Workplace transparency has been proven to increase employee engagement, and even improve employees’ opinions about their bosses (which reduces turnover). It’s also proven to lower stress; as Qualtrics—a US-based research software company—found out through their practice of radical transparency.

5. Organize team-building activities

Transparency is good to get a full view of what’s happening in the business. To trust management and the company. But employees still need to build trust among one another. That’s where team-building engagement activities come in.

Team building can be anything from fun icebreaker games to working on a volunteer project as a team. Team building helps build communication, leadership, and bonding, among other things. These all contribute to reduced absenteeism and a better employee experience.

Real Example: BNP Paribas managed to engage 40% of their team by organizing team-building volunteering initiatives.

“After a year and a half of working with Alaya, nearly 40% of our employees are active on the platform. In 2019, 260 employees gave more than 850 hours of their working time to support the work of local nonprofit organizations. The collective enthusiasm and individual engagement shown during events show that solidarity engagement is a lever of motivation for the bank’s employees.”

Clémence Francelle

CSR & Corporate Philanthropy Programme Manager at BNP Paribas in Switzerland

team-building volunteering initiatives examples

6. Let employees know the effect they’re having on customers

It’s all well and good looking at customer satisfaction reports, however, what is your business really doing for individual customers? How can you bring the customer voice into the office and showcase the impact employees are making on their lives?

If you have the ability to connect employees with successful customers in some way, then it’s a great idea to do so. If this isn’t available to you, consider assigning a member of your customer success team to work with your most loyal customers, and create material on the impact your business has had on their lives to share internally with staff.

7. Host inspirational speakers

If your business is a niche service or product, there’s a high chance your employees will have similar passions or interests. Who can you reach out to that’s a common ground for everyone and can either provide an informative talk or masterclass or, can provide a motivational talk to speakers.

Real Example: If your company has a wider array of talent that you’re struggling to pin down to an individual, then Airbnb has some great online experiences where you can speak to CEOs, former Olympians, and more on creating a healthy mindset for success.

inspirational talks for engaging employees

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8. Promote digital and physical office spaces the same

The way the world works has changed for the better. We’re no longer solely working in offices, and at the same time, we’re no longer working only from home. New contracts are emerging for employees that offer the best of both worlds. What does this mean for your engagement strategies? You’ll need to equally promote the best of both worlds.

Even if your company leans heavier towards physical workspaces or digital workspaces, make sure you’re creating an engaging environment in both and there’s no minority group.

Real Example: In physical workspaces, this is easy with aesthetics, healthy mind and body activities or places, and phone-free spaces are popular options. With digital spaces, give people digital rooms to do the same, or the resources to create their own, in-home experiences. Doist noted worrying trends with working from home and are combatting by promoting trust, prioritizing outputs over inputs, encouraging employees to disconnect, and more—just as they do in the physical workplace.

work from home problems

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9. Create channels for passions

Online or offline workspaces aside, all companies communicate to some extent online now. Create channels for employees to connect over their passions and meet like-minded colleagues that they wouldn’t usually stumble across, be it because they’re in different teams or offices.

These can be anything from physical or online movie nights to topical slack channels that are open for all to jump in. Just ensure you’re sharing these initiatives in a place where everyone can see them.

Remote Year does this very well with their company slack channel. The channel not only connects employees with customers but also provides customers (and employees in their private Slack section) the opportunity to connect and unite over mutual passions. Check out a tiny part of their selection:

Slack for connecting people

10. Showcase career paths & growth opportunities

If you want your employees to be engaged in their growth within the company and striving for success, you need to be showing them where that growth can go and what it can look like.

Employees value a clear career growth plan, freelancers too, so no matter how your company is organized, make sure everyone has a clear pathway mapped out in front of them. Plus, make sure they have regular check-ins to ensure they’re sticking to their path at a pace that suits everyone.

11. Offer volunteering paid time off

Offering volunteering opportunities to employees is one thing to get your employees engaged with their teammates. However, you can take this a step further and showcase how much you value volunteering and your employees’ time by giving them VTO: Volunteering time off. This means they’ll still be paid for 1-2 days a year that they volunteer—for a pre-selected organization or a cause they’re passionate about.

Real Example: There must be an Alaya customer we can put here but I can’t find one that’s doing it.

12. Prioritize health & wellness

We’ve all had a tough couple of years, at the same time, we have no clue what our colleagues are going through behind closed doors. The least your business can do is to try and support health and wellness as best as possible. Do this within the workspace, and with employee perks on offer.

Real Example:

A few ideas you can use to showcase this support are:

  • Access to a psychologist
  • Meditation rooms in the office (Google has released some incredible ones recently)
  • Gym memberships or discounts
  • Healthy food options in the cafeteria
  • Setting up working policies that ensure employees don’t burn themselves out
Google meditation chambers

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13. Put champions on podiums

Every company will start to see champions emerge as they push their employee engagement action plan. Public employee appreciation is critical in showcasing you’re thankful for continued efforts and will encourage other employees to sit up and get involved too.

A great way to champion star employees is by donating a lump sum to their chosen cause. It’s a way of saying thanks that doesn’t cause jealousy in the workplace, and encourages others to get involved with a bit of friendly competition to represent their own cause.

Real Example: ALAYA CASE STUDY FOR THIS?

14. Set accountability goals for all

Improving employee engagement can be done via setting and upholding accountability goals, for everyone in the workforce. These goals need to go across the board, from your C-Suite level staff through to your newest employees and entire teams.

What do people want to achieve? Either with their work, their positive impact, or with their professional development? Create a space that everyone can and will share their accountability goals and hold regular meetings to see if everyones’ goals are on track.

Doing this will encourage a culture of accountability that you’ll start to see transgress into employees’ day-to-day work.

Real Example: Jenn Lofgren, Founder at Incito Executive and Leadership Development, often facilitates accountability workshops for businesses. Lofgren says how you handle workplace accountability determines how you reach workplace success. Lofgren says “conversations around accountability must come from a place of curiosity and learning in order to be effective, and not come from a place of naming and blaming.”

15. Start with onboarding

Your effort to engage employees all starts with onboarding. This moment is your first opportunity to encourage employees to get on board with your initiatives, fill out employee surveys for feedback that you’re regularly sending out, and perhaps even introduce them to a mentorship program.

Your employee onboarding is a critical first handshake into the workplace culture you’re trying to create, and the employee’s engagement throughout their time with your business. Make. it. count.

Employee engagement best practices

Starting an employee engagement strategy may take some trial and error at first. But there are a few things you can do to make sure you’re always heading in the right direction.

Here are some best practices we recommend you bear in mind while designing your employee engagement strategy:

  1. Keep measuring engagement: perform pulse surveys—weekly or monthly employee engagement surveys to see how your initiatives are performing.
  2. Set the example: engagement starts from the top. Executives should participate and demonstrate their dedication to transparency and company values.
  3. Recognize engaged employees: Set up a recognition program to help systematically recognize the most engaged employees.
  4. Establish a feedback loop: create a non-judgmental space where employees feel comfortable enough to give and receive feedback.
  5. Promote a healthy work-life balance: respect your employees as people with lives. Provide incentives whether for volunteering, flexible schedules, or more paid time off.
  6. Provide opportunities for growth and career development: for most of your employees, your company will be just another step in their career path. Give them opportunities for growth, and they’ll be more engaged.

Employee engagement strategies FAQ

What is meant by employee engagement?

Employee engagement is the emotional commitment an employee has to an organization. It’s their pride and enthusiasm about the company and its mission. If you want to learn more about what employee engagement is, you can check out our article here.

Why is employee engagement important?

Employee engagement is key for getting talented new hires, retention, and company culture. Plus, according to a Gallup study, more engagement means more profit.

How do you measure employee engagement?

Measuring employee engagement is simple. You can use a pulse survey, otherwise known as an employee engagement survey, to regularly measure your efforts. A pulse survey ensures you keep regular but smaller amounts of communication going measuring results, whereas, employee engagement surveys tend to be less frequent but more in-depth. We recommend pulse surveys to avoid surprises.