10 Employee Engagement Ideas That Work

Diverse row of smiling office workers collaborating at a long, shared desk.

According to a 2017 Gallup poll, 51 percent of employees are either actively searching for new jobs or keeping an eye on job openings. This likely has something to do with the fact that only a third of American employees are engaged by their work, and only a fifth feel that they’re managed in a way that motivates them. While it used to be common for employees to move up the ranks in their company, now 91 percent of employees report leaving their company the last time they changed jobs.

American employees are feeling less satisfied by and invested in the companies they work for, and companies need employee engagement ideas that work if they’re going to retain their talent and develop a high performance culture.

Employee Engagement Ideas

Modern American employees vary in their interests and in what they want from a company, and there are many employee engagement ideas out there. Thought leaders in business management like Robert Half and Dale Carnegie both provide lists of engagement ideas, and resources like LinkedIn can also be good places to find ideas. Here are 10 employee engagement ideas that work.

Encourage Employee Input

It’s easy for employees to become disconnected from their work, or to become upset by a change or policy they don’t fully understand. The best antidote to this is open, safe communication between managers and employees. Open-door policies are a great way to facilitate this, and ensuring that employees have a safe space in which to provide feedback to the company can help them develop a sense of agency and ownership within the company, which can increase engagement.

Let Employees Drive Social Events

Many companies have social events such as happy hours or holiday parties. Allowing employees an active hand in planning these events can ensure that they get the most out of them. Giving employees a chance to blow off steam and relieve stress is important, and it can be even more effective when they get to decide what activities are available to help them do that. Giving employees the reins on social activities also creates opportunities to celebrate their success when those activities go well.

Create Opportunities for Work Friendships

The average American workweek is more than 40 hours, and almost four in 10 American workers say they work at least 50 hours each week. Given that people spend so much time with their coworkers, creating an environment where employees can be friendly with and have fun with each other can make that time more pleasant and productive. But fostering workplace friendships goes beyond simply creating a pleasant work atmosphere. When employees are invested in each other, they work to ensure each other’s success, and that helps the company succeed.

Foster Mentorship

It can be difficult to know who to go to for advice or help when faced with a tricky problem at work, and employees who don’t ask for help or advice may make mistakes or feel isolated. Create opportunities for employees to mentor each other, whether a manager is mentoring a direct report or a more senior employee is mentoring a new hire. Engaging in a supportive mentorship with an employee allows the individual to seek guidance and improve performance.

Promote Health and Wellness

Modern jobs are increasingly sedentary, providing little opportunity for exercise or activity. This can take a toll on employees’ health, which can affect their mood and energy levels in significant ways. Promoting employee health and wellness can be a great way to combat the sedentary modern lifestyle and foster a sense of community and reward in the process. Benefits like weekly yoga, gym membership discounts or fresh fruit in the break room are all great ways to promote health and show your employees they matter.

Set Clear Goals and Provide Feedback

Many employees struggle in their jobs because their roles aren’t clearly defined, and they don’t know by what metrics they’re being evaluated. Taking the guesswork out of an employee’s job can improve that employee’s performance and satisfaction within that position, and providing regular positive feedback can provide the employee with a sense of being appreciated.

Celebrate Employee Achievements

And speaking of positive feedback, it’s important to celebrate employees when they achieve something important. This certainly applies to events such as completing a big project or earning a promotion, but it also applies to personal achievements like a birthday, wedding or anniversary. When employees are celebrated at work, they feel a stronger connection to the workplace community and a greater sense of being valued.

Maintain a Flexible Dress Code

Part of feeling valued within a job is feeling respected by the company and by one’s managers. A simple, effective way to show respect to employees is to allow them to make their own choices with regards to dress. Rigid dress codes can cause employee morale to suffer; they can cause employees to feel disrespected and robbed of agency and autonomy as well as creating artificial barriers between employees and management.

Support Flexible Schedules

Employees have numerous demands on their time outside of work, and a workplace that accommodates those demands within reason can improve employee engagement overall. Flex time, personal leave and allowing employees to set their own hours are all important ways to give employees control over their daily lives and ensure they’re able to focus on work while they’re at work.

Establish Remote Work Opportunities

Like being flexible with scheduling, providing employees the opportunity to work from home can result in significant increases in satisfaction and engagement. In fact, the most engaged employees tend to be those who spend 60 percent to 80 percent of their week working remotely.

Advancing a Career in Business

Maximizing employee engagement is an important part of becoming a leader in business. With an online associate degree in business administration, an online bachelor’s in business administration or an online MBA from Campbellsville University, you can gain the skills you need to take your career in business to the next level. Learn in a flexible, online environment that allows you to maximize your own engagement, on a schedule that works for you.