The best employee engagement strategies and how to implement them

Written by: Officevibe | Edited by: Sofia Acosta
Updated on: Published on: October 6, 2022 |  Reading time: 13m

As employee experience experts, one thing we know for sure is that the success of a business or a brand is only as strong as the team behind it. And we’re not ones to gatekeep the secret behind a winning team.

If you’re looking to consistently achieve or surpass your objectives while cultivating a positive work environment, you need to make sure employee engagement is high day-in-day-out.

There are many ways to go about it, but we’ll cut through the noise by giving you the 7 best strategies to enhance employee engagement.

What is an employee engagement strategy?

Let’s break it down into two parts. A strategy is an action plan set in place to help a person, group, or organization reach its goals and objectives. Employee engagement is a concept that highlights how people feel towards an organization and how their feelings translate into actions and behaviors at work. So, an employee engagement strategy is all about the concrete and actionable steps you take to build positive engagement at work.

So why is it worth spending time and resources on building this strategy? When done successfully, your team will feel happier at work, more intuned with your company culture, more committed to your company’s core values, and more motivated to achieve their goals.

Having a solid employee engagement strategy has never been more pertinent. The transition from the traditional office space to a work-from-home environment has made it challenging for leadership teams to keep a pulse on how their employees are feeling.

The great news is that once you have a plan in place, you’ll know what employee engagement outcomes to look out for and how to measure them.

Officevibe’s employee engagement solution helps you keep a pulse on your team’s engagement levels by measuring and tracking employee survey results over time. Once you pick up on how employees are feeling, you’ll be primed to create a work environment that makes your team feel positive about their job.

The benefits of having an effective employee engagement strategy

According to Slack’s 2019 State of Work Report, aligned or engaged employees “feel empowered to make strategic business decisions or to pursue new business opportunities.”

Effective employee engagement strategies can encourage employees to reciprocate the value the company provides them. In turn, high employee engagement levels increase satisfaction and lower employee turnover.

Other benefits of an effective employee engagement strategy include:

  • Increased productivity
  • Improved company culture
  • Authentic employee satisfaction
  • Improved mental health
  • Better work-life balance
  • Reduced risk of burnout

7 employee engagement strategies for building all-star teams

Improving employee engagement may seem challenging or intangible if you lack concrete data. We’ve compiled a list of the best employee engagement strategies and strategic management skills that can help you engage employees, increase job satisfaction, and ensure your desired outcome for upcoming projects.

1. Build trusted relationships with your team

Trust is the foundation of employee engagement. Before you can have meaningful conversations and open communication with your team members, your organizational culture has to promote trust between all links in the chain of command.

Given increased stress and rapid changes in the last few years, it’s only natural that many employees are feeling disconnected from their jobs and their managers. Such fragmented professional relationships may take a toll on individual employees – and on your company as a whole.

Relationship psychology expert Esther Perel says, “One of the most powerful ways for people not to feel deeply alone is for them to feel listened to.” If you want to boost employee engagement and cultivate a positive work environment, your employees need to trust you.

This improved relationship between you and your team breaks down hierarchical barriers and makes your employees feel valued – encouraging collaboration and creating a unified department.

🛠 Building trust as a leader takes time. But with these 8 trust leadership tips, your path towards fostering trust with your employees will be easy and seamless.

2. Make sure your team is aligned

We’ve seen a significant shift in the organizational structure of many companies since 2020. With a combination of onsite and remote employees, many managers find it challenging to measure employee engagement and keep employees engaged amid these changes. And we’ve been there too. But having the right tools helped us build employee engagement along the way.

Finding a resolution to this confusion requires alignment and a collective understanding of the things that bring everyone together: company core values.

As the world continues to change at a rapid pace, most employees want to feel passionate about their work. To do so, they need to know why their work is important and how it affects the overall growth of the company.

Knowing what their company values – and receiving clear, consistent communication about these values – can increase employee engagement and further establish trust between leadership and other employees.

On the other hand, a lack of communication about company goals can create frustration for employees, who may feel that reduced productivity is their manager’s fault, given the unclear objectives.

To improve employee engagement and realign mutual and individual goals, team leaders should clarify what they expect from their employees and what employees can expect from them.

Developing the right employee engagement strategies for your company requires keeping employees informed about company-wide goals and giving them a clear direction for achieving them.

3. Provide opportunities for giving and receiving employee feedback

One of the best ways to boost engagement is by gathering and acting on employee feedback. Officevibe Pulse Survey data shows that 83% of employees appreciate feedback, regardless of whether it’s positive or negative, yet 64% feel that the quality of feedback they received needs to improve.

This dire lack of effective communication and honest feedback can quickly result in low employee engagement rates, reduced productivity, and a less cooperative work environment overall.

Feedback goes both ways

For many companies, the line of communication around feedback only goes one way. There is a huge opportunity to increase employee engagement by tapping into bilateral feedback between managers and employees.

It’s what we like to call the continuous feedback loop: a process that helps managers collect opinions, suggestions, and comments from employees regularly and vice versa.

An employee engagement survey allows you to quickly and efficiently gauge how your employees feel and use the data you receive to develop a better employee engagement strategy.

If you need ideas to assess employee engagement, consider asking questions like:

  • Do you have the necessary resources to achieve your career goals?
  • Are you satisfied with your benefits package?
  • Do you feel valued by your employer?
  • What can your company do to show employee appreciation?

4. Build a culture of recognition

In business, we ensure customer loyalty by providing clients with consistently high-quality products and service time and time again. Why should the approach be any different for retaining employees?

Research from The Harvard Business Review suggests that supporting employees and helping them feel valued increases productivity, employee retention, and motivation. Though it may seem small, encouraging employees in their day-to-day work can improve both their personal well-being and the company’s overall performance.

Addressing individual successes during the busy work week doesn’t have to be challenging or tedious. Displays of recognition can be as simple as sending a short message to high-performing employees to keep them engaged and feeling appreciated.

These small acts of genuine appreciation for your employees are critical components of a successful employee engagement strategy. Higher employee engagement and quality performance rely on a unified front from department heads to entry-level employees. Offering support and recognition, even for small wins, can encourage this camaraderie.

👉 We’ve got you covered with the ultimate guide to creating a culture of recognition in the workplace.

5. Put employee wellness first to encourage engaged employees

Employee burnout appears to be at an all-time high given the particularly stressful circumstances of the past few years. From feeling overworked to lacking the appropriate resources to struggling in their personal lives, many employees find it challenging to stay engaged at work.

As leaders, it’s essential that you implement employee wellness initiatives as part of your employee engagement strategy. Try delegating responsibilities appropriately to avoid overworking high-performing employees and create an environment that allows for a healthy work-life balance to combat burnout. Even something as simple as giving your employees an opportunity to recharge whenever possible can be the difference between an overwhelmed team and an engaged one.

Most importantly, you and your colleagues in leadership positions should embody positive attitudes about employee wellness and encourage your employees to prioritize their health. Saying your company supports employee wellness programs is one thing, but actively implementing strategies to ensure a healthier, more balanced work environment shows your employees how much you truly care.

When was the last time you took a pulse on your team’s wellness levels? These employee wellness survey questions can help you catch insights you haven’t picked up on before.

6. Invest in employee development to ensure job satisfaction

Remember that your employees aren’t merely members of your collective workforce. They are individuals who have unique dreams and goals for their career growth. So part of a successful engagement strategy should include personal and professional development opportunities for all employees.

Our Officevibe Pulse Survey data reveals that 23% of employees say the feedback they receive doesn’t help them grow or improve. Gallup’s 2022 State of the Workforce Report also shows that only 33% of employees say their work helps them thrive.

These stats show us the importance of investing in our employees’ futures. Providing employees with career development opportunities can improve morale and ensure the entire team feels valued and fulfilled.

7. Form an employee engagement committee

Most forms of employee engagement require you to take action as a leader. However, forming an employee engagement committee gives your employees an opportunity to contribute directly to a positive work environment.

Using data from your employee engagement survey, the committee members you select can take the reigns and develop engagement solutions with their coworkers. This method lets your employees take an active role in fostering a sense of community in your team or organization and grants them a safe space to voice their thoughts.

How to implement employee engagement strategies

This might go without saying, but every company has a unique group of employees and needs. Implementing employee engagement strategies requires a personalized approach tailored to your team and company goals. To develop the most effective strategies for your team, consider the following tips.

Define the strategies that suit your company best and identify key drivers

The first step to developing a solution is revealing the problem. Beyond identifying your company’s short- and long-term goals, focus on finding the issues your employees face on a daily basis and what you can improve to keep them engaged.

An anonymous survey gives your team the opportunity to provide honest, comprehensive feedback. You can use this input to begin building your employee engagement strategy.

Set realistic goals

It may be tempting to get hasty and make several changes to your organization at once, but such a reaction could backfire. It’s important to remember that you won’t see the fruits of your labor all at once, and it’s likely that you’ll make some mistakes here and there.

More important than speed are specificity and consistency. Target specific issues a few ideas at a time and set realistic expectations for improvement. This strategy can prevent you from getting in over your head and help you stay on course as you develop and implement changes.

Make sure everyone involved knows their role and is accountable

Delegating responsibilities and keeping track of everyone’s progress from the start will help you gauge the effectiveness of your employee engagement strategies. Everyone – from middle managers to human resources officers to longstanding employees – should have a clear understanding of their roles.

Select high-performing members of each department to serve on the employee engagement committee. Give them the opportunity to implement the strategy on a more personal level, connecting with their coworkers and directly contributing to the work environment they wish to create.

Put your plan into action

Flexibility is key to ensuring the success of your employee engagement strategy. You’ll rarely find a solution immediately, and it may take time and a bit of trial and error to adjust your strategies and perfect them for your needs.

Always keep an open mind for new ideas, and be sure to make use of the data you collect through employee engagement survey results. The primary objective of any of these strategies is to foster a relationship between management and your employees that not only allows for effective communication but encourages it.

Make a habit of regularly assessing employee engagement and collecting feedback. Use what you learn to make necessary adjustments to your plans and set your team up for success.

Assessing your employee engagement strategies

Executing a strong employee engagement strategy may seem like a daunting task if you’ve never done it before. Should you sit down with a whiteboard and map out your plans? Would it be more effective to schedule a company-wide meeting to hear different perspectives and thoughts?

Ultimately, there is no “wrong way” to begin building your strategy. It all depends on your company’s specific needs and goals – and the issues you hope to tackle beyond improving overall employee engagement. Luckily, you have many options at your disposal, and you may find it easier to determine where to start once you receive feedback from your employees.

An employee engagement survey is a quick and effective means of identifying specific issues your employees face in the workplace. To get a foundation for your engagement strategy, consider asking employees about things like:

  • Their happiness at work
  • Their thoughts on your company’s work-life balance
  • If they feel supported
  • The quality of relationships between coworkers and your leadership team
  • How they would rate communication
  • How they would rate their stress levels at work
  • Their thoughts on their future with your company

Need more inspiration? Use these 25 pulse survey questions to boost employee engagement.

Giving your employees the opportunity to respond anonymously to your survey may help them overcome the initial anxiety of communicating with you and other senior leaders. For engagement strategies to work, your employees need to feel comfortable addressing problems. The survey could serve as the first step toward fostering a more communicative, collaborative work environment and bolstering employee confidence.

Once you’ve sent out your surveys, you’ll be set to tackle the right issues by using the information your team members clearly outline for you.

Acting on your survey feedback

The most crucial part of this process is actually using the feedback you receive. By sending out your survey, you’re opening a direct line of communication and encouraging employees to speak honestly about their concerns. Nothing could be more disappointing than doing so only for management to neglect the feedback and fall back on old habits.

Listening and showing your employees that you genuinely care about their thoughts and feelings is critical for employee engagement. If you commit to some action to better the culture of your workplace, always follow through. If, through surveys or direct communication, you discover a problem in productivity or employee wellness, work with your team to tackle the issue in accordance with everyone’s needs.

Help your team succeed with the right employee engagement strategy

Your eagerness to learn about employee engagement means you’re on the right track to fully support your team. Before you know it, you’ll be putting your engagement strategy into action, and your team – and organization – will thank you for it.

While going through the process and building out your strategy, practice patience and focus on one issue at a time so you can give each problem that arises the attention it deserves. Doing so can help you see engagement strategies through to completion and honor your employees’ needs at the same time.