Engage Your Team: A Guide to Keeping Employees Happy and Productive

Date: 23-Mar-2024

It’s no secret that when employees are engaged, businesses thrive. Engaged employees can boost profits by 21% and productivity by 17%. Surprisingly, though, only 36% of US workers and 20% globally feel engaged at work. This makes having an employee engagement strategy essential, not just an option.

Employee engagement is crucial for many reasons, such as improving retention rates, increasing motivation and job satisfaction, reducing absenteeism and stress, and enhancing customer experience. But what exactly is employee engagement?

Simply put, employee engagement is how much an employee cares about and is committed to their job and the organization they work for. Highly engaged employees are more likely to go the extra mile and stay longer, while those with low engagement may feel burned out or leave the company.

Engagement isn’t the same as job satisfaction. While job satisfaction is about how employees feel about their work, engagement is about their dedication and connection to it.

What is Employee Engagement?

Employee engagement refers to how emotionally connected an employee feels towards the organization they work for. It’s about how they behave, feel, and think within the company, influenced by their relationship with their team, their job, and the business as a whole.

When employees are highly engaged, they’re more likely to show up for work consistently, go above and beyond their job duties, and stick with the company for the long term. On the other hand, employees with low engagement levels are prone to burnout, may leave the company, or frequently miss work.

An engaged employee doesn’t just see their job as a way to earn a paycheck; they have a deep emotional connection to their work, which motivates them to do their best. In contrast, employees lacking engagement might only view their jobs as a means to an end.

Employee engagement doesn’t just improve morale and reduce absenteeism; it also sparks enthusiasm in employees to excel in their roles. This drive pushes them to take initiative and contribute more, even without being prompted. Additionally, engaged employees contribute positively to retention efforts, which can benefit the organization in various ways.

Understanding Engagement and Related Terms

  • It’s important to know that engagement and job satisfaction aren’t the same.
  • Job satisfaction is about how an employee feels about their work, whether they like it or not. Engagement is more about how committed an employee is to their job.
  • Forbes says that while job satisfaction matters for a good workplace, making sure employees are engaged might be even more important.

Understanding Different Workplace Terms

There are a few other terms that might sound similar, but they mean different things:

  • Employee Experience: This is about all the interactions an employee has with a company during their time there. It includes their work tasks and how they feel about their work environment.
  • Employee Happiness: This is about how happy an employee feels about their workplace. It’s influenced by whether they like their work or the company culture, as long as their overall feeling about their job is positive.
  • Employee Wellbeing: This covers the health and happiness of employees in every part of their job. It includes their mental and physical health, how satisfied they are with their work, and if they have a good balance between work and personal life.

There are five main drivers of employee engagement:

  • Mindful hiring: Hiring people with the right attitude and interpersonal skills.
  • Involved employees: Employees who feel engaged and like they belong.
  • Inspirational leadership: Leaders who lead by example and inspire their teams.
  • Well-defined company culture: A positive work environment that encourages engagement.
  • Supported communication: Open communication channels for employees to discuss issues.

Why is Employee Engagement Important?

Some executives think that employee engagement only depends on pay or benefits, so they don’t pay attention to other factors. They might also assume that high turnover happens because there aren’t enough promotions or because other companies offer better job packages. But in reality, employee engagement, along with connection and communication, plays a huge role in a company’s success.

When companies have good employee engagement strategies, they create a better work environment, keep employees from leaving, increase productivity, improve relationships with customers and colleagues, and make more money. Employees also benefit a lot from these strategies. They feel more satisfied with their work, do a better job, and feel like their work has more meaning and purpose.

The Benefits of Employee Engagement Strategy

  • Boosts retention: Engaged employees are less likely to leave.
  • Reduces absenteeism: Engaged employees are more motivated to come to work.
  • Better stress management: Engaged employees can handle stress better.
  • Increases motivation and productivity: Engaged employees are more productive.
  • Increases job satisfaction: Engaged employees are more satisfied with their jobs.
  • Increases profitability: Engaged teams are more profitable.

Establishing a Strategy for Employee Engagement: 8 Tested Methods

  • Focus on building an inclusive culture: Create a workplace where everyone feels included. Use skill-based hiring and practices that promote diversity.
  • Create a culture of engagement: Make your employees feel safe and valued. Support their goals and encourage open communication.
  • Send out employee engagement surveys: Use surveys to understand how engaged your employees are and identify any issues that need to be addressed.
  • Leverage an employee engagement platform: Use technology to facilitate communication and interaction between employees and managers.
  • Hire motivated employees: Use talent assessment to identify candidates who are a good fit for your company culture and are motivated to succeed.
  • Invest in your employee’s career growth: Provide opportunities for professional development and training to help employees grow in their careers.
  • Encourage positive, competent managers: Train managers to be supportive leaders who empower their teams and foster a positive work environment.
  • Start the employee experience right with a great onboarding process: Provide new employees with mentors and resources to help them feel engaged and supported from day one.

8 top strategies for utilizing employee engagement to keep your top performers on board

1. Building an Inclusive Culture

An inclusive culture means everyone feels welcome, respected, and appreciated. When people feel comfortable being themselves, they’re more likely to get involved in their work and connect with their coworkers. Engaged employees often participate in team activities, share ideas in meetings, greet colleagues warmly, collaborate with their team, and finish their tasks on time.

A workplace that promotes inclusivity encourages these behaviors naturally. Recognizing people for their skills, not just their backgrounds, helps create an inclusive environment. Using skills-based practices in hiring promotes diversity by removing bias. 84% of companies that hire based on skills have seen more diversity in their teams.

2. Creating an Engaging Work Environment

You can make your workplace both inclusive and engaging. A strong work culture can make your company more successful financially and keep your employees happy. Many job seekers want to change jobs because they don’t like the culture at their current workplace. Improving your work culture creates a positive atmosphere where your team can do well and connect and the company.

To do this, talk to your employees, appreciate their efforts, and give them helpful feedback. It’s also good to encourage feedback from your employees. For instance, ask them how communication from leaders could be better or if they want more challenges. When people feel heard at work, they’re more engaged. It’s also important for managers to give constructive feedback and avoid blaming or criticizing. This helps solve problems together and builds trust between employees and managers.

3. Using Surveys to Understand and Engage Employees

Employee engagement surveys are like questionnaires that help you understand how engaged your employees are. They measure things like how happy workers are with their jobs and how connected they feel to the company. Sending out these surveys regularly, like every few months, lets you keep track of how engaged your team is. If someone seems less engaged, you can talk to them one-on-one to figure out why and how to help. For example, someone may need a different schedule or prefer working on specific projects. By listening to your team’s feedback, you can improve their experience at work.

4. Using Tools to Boost Engagement

Employee engagement platforms are tools that help managers understand and improve how engaged their team is. These tools let employees communicate with each other and with managers, share ideas, and feel heard. Having good communication at work can make employees feel more connected and engaged. And when workers feel valued, they’re more likely to be dedicated to their job.

5. Hiring the Right People

Finding employees who are motivated and fit well with your company culture can make a big difference. When people are already excited about their work, they’re easier to engage and keep happy. During interviews, it’s important to look for candidates who show the right attitude and values. You can ask them questions about challenges they’ve faced and how they handle them to learn more about them.

6. Helping Employees Grow

Investing in your employees’ growth can make them more engaged and loyal. Offering training programs or opportunities for advancement shows that you care about their development. When employees have chances to learn and grow, they’re more likely to feel satisfied with their jobs and stay with the company.

7. Supporting Good Managers

Managers play a big role in how engaged employees are. When managers are supportive and lead by example, it boosts morale and makes people want to work harder. Providing leadership training and support helps managers become better at their jobs and create a positive work environment. This leads to happier and more engaged employees overall.

8. Welcoming New Employees with a Great Onboarding Process

When a new employee joins your company, their first experiences are crucial. This is where employee onboarding comes in. It’s the process of introducing new hires to your company and its culture. A good onboarding process helps new employees feel welcomed and sets them up for success in their roles. It’s like laying down the groundwork for their journey with your company. During the onboarding process, it’s helpful to assign mentors or coaches to new employees.

These mentors can guide them, answer their questions, and help them adjust to their new roles. This support early on can make a big difference in how engaged new employees feel. Mentoring is especially useful in jobs where employees need to work independently. Experienced colleagues can share their knowledge and help newbies find their footing. And it’s not just new employees who benefit from mentoring. Mentors also gain by reinforcing their skills and knowledge. So, it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Three examples of businesses that have found success using employee engagement as a talent retention tactic

Over the past few years, engagement has advanced significantly, and many businesses are using it in creative ways. We look at three IT giants’ efforts to increase employee engagement below:


Google is known for its innovative approaches to employee engagement. The company fosters an inclusive culture where every employee feels valued and respected. Google offers flexible work schedules, allowing employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Additionally, Google encourages creativity and inspiration by providing employees with opportunities for personal growth and development.
Google has successfully implemented several employee engagement ideas to create a positive work environment:

  • Flexible schedules: Google offers its employees the freedom to work on their terms with flexible schedules. This approach encourages creativity and enhances productivity because employees can choose when and where they work best. By providing unlimited autonomy, Google boosts engagement levels among its staff.
  • Inclusive culture: Google fosters a creative and inclusive environment where employees feel comfortable and valued regardless of their background or location. This inclusive culture ensures that all employees can thrive in their roles and contribute to the company’s success.
  • Promotes inspiration: Google allows employees to dedicate up to 20% of their work week to pursue projects that inspire them personally. This initiative invigorates employees by allowing them to focus on activities they are passionate about. It helps prevent burnout, reduces employee turnover, and increases overall engagement levels within the organization.

A Fortune 500 Networking appliances company:

A Fortune 500 Networking appliances company utilizes various professional and personal recognition programs to engage its employees effectively. These programs acknowledge employees’ hard work and contributions to the company. By recognizing both professional achievements and personal milestones, A Fortune 500 Networking appliances company creates a supportive and rewarding work environment that encourages employee loyalty and retention.

A Fortune 500 Networking appliances company has implemented several employee engagement activities to foster a positive work environment:

  • Employee recognition program: A Fortune 500 Networking appliances company’s employee recognition program celebrates both professional achievements and personal accomplishments outside of work. This approach engages workers by demonstrating that the company values them beyond their professional contributions. Employees feel appreciated and motivated to perform at their best.
  • Clear and open communication channels: A Fortune 500 Networking appliances company prioritizes transparent communication by establishing clear channels between employees and upper management. For instance, the company facilitates communication between employees and senior leaders on special occasions like birthdays. This initiative promotes a sense of camaraderie and trust within the organization, enhancing employee engagement and satisfaction.

A Fortune 500 CRM company:

A Fortune 500 CRM company prioritizes employee engagement through initiatives that support both employees and the community. The company offers paid volunteer time, allowing employees to give back to their communities while feeling supported by their employer. A Fortune 500 CRM company also engages employees through charitable donations and welfare programs, demonstrating a commitment to social responsibility and employee well-being. These initiatives contribute to a positive workplace culture and help retain top talent within the organization.

A Fortune 500 CRM company implements several strategies to enhance employee engagement:

  • Paid volunteer time: Employees at A Fortune 500 CRM company are granted 56 hours of paid leave annually to engage in volunteer work within their chosen communities. Additionally, the company supports charitable initiatives by matching employee donations, providing up to $5,000 in matching funds. This encourages employees to contribute to social causes, fostering a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
  • Diversity and inclusion groups: A Fortune 500 CRM company offers employees the opportunity to participate in diversity and inclusion groups. These groups, comprised of staff with shared backgrounds, identities, or interests, promote inclusivity and diversity within the organization. By empowering employees to connect with like-minded colleagues and advocate for diverse perspectives, A Fortune 500 CRM company cultivates a culture of respect and belonging, thus driving positive engagement.
  • Focus on wellness and work-life balance: A Fortune 500 CRM company prioritizes the well-being of its employees by offering various wellness initiatives. One such program is the wellness reimbursement program, where employees receive $100 per month to spend on wellness activities such as yoga classes, nutrition programs, or gym memberships. This initiative underscores the company’s commitment to supporting employees’ physical and mental health, promoting work-life balance, and ultimately enhancing overall engagement and productivity.

Include employee engagement in your long-term goals.

Incorporating an employee engagement program into your long-term vision is essential for retaining talent and staying competitive in the market.

Employees seek out companies that actively engage them, contributing to a vibrant work culture that benefits the entire team.

To kickstart positive employee engagement, consider adopting strategies such as fostering an inclusive culture and utilizing talent assessments to ensure employees possess the necessary interpersonal skills for their roles. These initiatives not only attract and retain top talent but also cultivate a productive and motivated workforce poised for long-term success.



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