Employee Engagement

9 Employee Engagement Strategies for a Productive Workplace

June 18, 2024
June 18, 2024
Rosanna Campbell
Lattice Team

Employee engagement is the true lifeblood of any organization. Engagement encompasses employees’ enthusiasm about, commitment to, and connection with their work and the company they work for. Engaged employees feel positive about their job and enjoy their work, and they’re good for business.

A company with deeply engaged employees can outperform competitors, time and again, according to Gallup. No wonder that employee engagement remains the top priority for HR teams for the third year in a row. 

In this article, we’ll explore expert tips on how to create a truly compelling employee engagement strategy that will lead your teams to bring the very best of themselves to work, every day. 

What is an employee engagement strategy?

An employee engagement strategy is an initiative aimed at increasing the level of commitment, dedication, enjoyment, and productivity of your employees. In general, employee engagement refers to the extent to which employees are emotionally invested in their work, committed to the organization's goals, and motivated to contribute to its success.

So, an employee engagement strategy is a concerted effort to maintain or increase the level of engagement in your organization by creating a more positive, enjoyable, or productive working environment for your employees. 

Why is an employee engagement strategy important?

Engaged employees are committed, enthusiastic, and more productive, and they “serve as a potential source of organization-wide competitiveness and strategic advantage,” according to a 2023 meta-analysis of 786 articles on employee engagement

Developing a clear, detailed engagement strategy is key to supporting high levels of employee engagement at your organization because:

  • It ensures that engagement remains a top priority. 
  • It enables you to experiment with different approaches to employee engagement and then measure your results
  • It promotes a systematic approach to the employee experience, rather than a series of random acts of team-building. 
  • It supports long-term employee retention and productivity. 

Whether you measure your results through employee Net Promoter Scores (eNPS) or pulse surveys, a formal engagement strategy is a crucial part of any comprehensive people management program. 

9 Effective Employee Engagement Strategies

We asked human resources professionals and business leaders for their best employee engagement strategies. Here are their nine top tips: 

  • Prioritize internal communication.
  • Build trust through inclusivity and belonging.
  • Provide autonomy and flexibility.
  • Create opportunities for emotional connection.
  • Foster a culture of employee recognition.
  • Promote learning and development.
  • Encourage feedback and participation.
  • Support work-life balance.
  • Customize your engagement strategies.

Let’s get into the details: 

1. Prioritize internal communication.

“Too often, companies look to one-off events to improve employee engagement. But one-on-ones and team meetings happen with more frequency and have a far greater impact on an employee’s sense of engagement,” noted Danielle Little, the director of process change at Peoplism

Little recommended that organizations start by upskilling managers to “lead inclusive and effective one-on-ones and team meetings.” In her experience, better internal communications have a major impact on the day-to-day level of employee engagement. 

Carolina Caro, the founder and CEO of Conscious Leadership Partners, agreed. As a specialist in employee engagement strategies, she often recommends that organizations start holding all-hands town hall meetings led by senior leadership, to “celebrate key achievements across the organization and share heartfelt stories about the impact of their contributions.” 

She said, “These types of meetings, when done well, can leave everyone inspired and reminded of why they do the work that they do.” 

2. Build trust through inclusivity and belonging.

Little also pointed out that engagement is dependent on a workplace culture that favors inclusivity, psychological safety, and a sense of belonging: 

“Employees cannot be engaged if they don’t have the benefits, culture, and policies that help them show up fully at work. Employees cannot be engaged if they can’t be their full professional selves. And they definitely cannot be engaged if they are not psychologically safe. If you care about employee engagement, then you care about inclusion and belonging.” 

Our 2024 State of People Strategy Report found that just 17% of HR leaders are prioritizing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) programs this year. However, if you want to create a highly engaged workforce, we’d recommend moving DEIB initiatives back up your list of priorities. 

3. Provide autonomy and flexibility.

Granting employees control over their work processes and environment lets them work in ways that best suit their productivity, and has a direct impact on employee engagement. For instance, when we asked a thousand UK employees what they needed to do their best work, “flexible work” was the second most common response

Implementing flexible work schedules and remote work options can be challenging, but making the effort to offer as much autonomy as possible is likely to pay dividends in terms of engagement, retention, and attracting new hires. 

4. Create opportunities for emotional connection.

Stephen R. Hasner, managing attorney at Hasner Law, PC, a Georgia-based law firm, said his firm’s most effective strategy for employee engagement has been to form “huddles or coworking spaces to encourage employees to work together.” 

He explained, “Working in close proximity causes us to communicate inadvertently, so it’s been an indirect catalyst for team-building. This goes a long way in fostering a collaborative company culture that enriches our employee experience.”

Even if you offer remote or hybrid work, in-person connection is still key for employee engagement, according to our experts. Rodolphe Dutel, founder of remote job board Remotive, perhaps surprisingly, found that his company’s “number one boost for engagement strategy has been to organize an in-person retreat.” 

The retreat was effective, Dutel explained, because they focused less on work, and more on “mingling, team-building, and getting to know each other better.” The chance to connect and build closer personal relationships with coworkers has had a long-lasting impact on employee engagement levels at the company. 

5. Foster a culture of employee recognition.

Mutual recognition and appreciation can be a major driver of employee engagement. For instance, teambuilding.com CEO Michael Alexis commented, “One of the most successful employee engagement strategies we've employed at our remote organization is a peer-to-peer praise channel called #you-are-awesome on Slack. Any employee can post in the channel at any time to shout out their coworkers for extraordinary, above-and-beyond performance, or simply compliment them for being an exceptional human being.” 

Research published in Frontiers in Psychology shows that recognition can positively impact engagement — not only for the employee being recognized, but also for those witnessing the act of recognition. 

Alexis confirmed that they’ve seen similar results from introducing a formal means for public appreciation, “Since starting the channel, we've seen a dramatic improvement in cross-team communication and collaboration, not to mention employee satisfaction and work friendships. The channel has become a core part of our culture and helped us maintain an atmosphere of gratitude and appreciation in our virtual workplace.” 

As well as a recognition channel, consider creating a points system for rewards to incentivize and acknowledge outstanding work, suggested Campbell Tourgis, executive VP and COO at Wainbee Limited, an engineered systems solution provider. 

“We've implemented a points-based system where employees earn points for reaching specific milestones aligned with our company objectives. For instance, hitting sales targets, completing projects ahead of schedule, and suggesting innovative ideas all earn points.” 

This method of celebrating the team’s hard work and dedication has led to “a more engaged and goal-driven workforce,” Tourgis reported. 

6. Promote learning and development.

Employee development programs encourage engagement by proving to employees that you are invested in their career progress, making them more likely to wish to reciprocate by committing more deeply to your organization.

For example, Alister Wood, founder of Australian SaaS company VisitUs Reception, saw significant improvements in engagement by “launching an employee dashboard that focused on gamification linked with our learning and development courses. Employees would get rewards and badges for completing courses. There was also a leaderboard and the winner would receive a reward at the end of the month.” 

Find more tips for promoting learning and development in our article 7 Ways to Boost Learning and Development Program Participation

7. Encourage feedback and participation.

Creating opportunities for employees to offer feedback, contribute ideas, and participate in building the organization can be a great way to boost engagement rates. For instance, you could consider implementing stay interviews — one-on-one check-ins between employees and their manager or an HR team member. These interviews can help you uncover what would get an employee to stay at the company and any causes of disengagement. 

Sylvain Roy, CEO of Go RH and founder of Folks, found that stay interviews can be a great tool for keeping engagement high: “We have been able to notice drops in engagement and solve these situations before they got out of hand thanks to these interviews.”

In addition to utilizing stay interviews, you may also want to: 

  • Conduct regular employee feedback sessions to gauge employee sentiment and gather suggestions for ways to improve the employee experience.
  • Schedule quarterly employee surveys to measure the results of your engagement initiatives.
  • Create an internal communication channel for employees to share ideas and promote a culture of openness and innovation.

8. Support work-life balance.

A company culture that promotes a healthy work-life balance is likely to boost engagement and job satisfaction, research has shown. So, when developing your employee engagement strategy, consider policies that support personal time off and family commitments. You may also want to provide mental health and wellness resources to emphasize your company’s commitment to employee wellbeing. 

9. Customize your engagement strategies.

One of the most important factors in any engagement strategy is that it should be flexible enough to adapt to individual employees. Aim to recognize individual differences and tailor your engagement approaches to meet diverse needs and preferences.

For example, Jeremy Moser, CEO and cofounder of SEO company uSERP, said his organization lets employees pick certain benefits from a list, rather than simply assigning the same package to every employee. Options include more PTO, food and beverage stipends, and compensated coworking spaces. 

They introduced this approach after running a survey of both employees and prospective employees to find out which perks would be most meaningful and engaging. They found that “most benefits from other companies actually went unused, and that [the employees] would much rather have an input.”

Moser reported that their customized benefits strategy has resulted in “incredible retention rates and employee satisfaction.” 

How to Implement Your Employee Engagement Strategy

Once you’ve defined the ingredients for your employee engagement strategy, it’s time to roll it out. Here are the stages of a successful engagement initiative: 

  1. Start by conducting an employee engagement survey to set a benchmark for your current engagement rates. 
  2. Assign responsibilities and timelines for each initiative, ensuring clear accountability and progress tracking.
  3. Communicate the strategy clearly to all stakeholders, ensuring buy-in and alignment from the outset. 
  4. Regularly review engagement metrics to gauge the effectiveness of your strategies.
  5. Make any necessary adjustments based on outcomes and employee input, showing responsiveness to feedback and commitment to continuous improvement.

Drive business success through employee engagement.

Engaged employees are more productive, committed, and satisfied than disengaged employees. To increase your employee engagement rates, focus on creating a positive work environment by: 

  • Listening to feedback
  • Promoting psychological safety and wellbeing
  • Offering recognition and providing career development opportunities
  • Measuring current engagement and proactively identifying ways to improve

If you’re ready to boost employee engagement, Lattice Engagement can help. With our engagement software, you can: 

  • Gather real-time data about how your employees feel about work.
  • Uncover what drives your top talent.
  • Surface actionable insights that let you make better decisions.

Schedule a demo to find out how you could boost your employee engagement rates today.