Organizational Wellness

13 Employee Engagement Ideas that Actually Work

Oct 26, 2022
Last Updated May 20, 2024

There are a lot of elements working against improving the employee experience, like toxic corporate cultures or a failure to recognize employee performance. 

Extremely competitive job markets create a mindset of demanding more from employees while providing them with less. Bleak company prospects create environments of negativity where employees spend much of their time looking for new opportunities and less time focusing on their work. Toxic cultures that fail to promote diversity and inclusion make workers feel disrespected and excluded. Even high levels of innovation (which is usually viewed as something positive) can have a disastrous impact on engagement, by demanding longer hours and more personal sacrifice from the workforce.

And given that approximately 40% of workers (or two out of five employees) are planning on quitting their jobs within the next six months, well, let’s just say that this is an issue that’s worth looking into. 

The good news is that there are many different things you as a business leader can do to promote better engagement in your workforce by measuring employee engagement. The great news is that we’ve listed 13 of our favorite ideas and strategies. 

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13 Effective Employee Engagement Ideas

Employee engagement matters. Engaged employees are less likely to leave your company on a whim. They’re also less prone to absenteeism and are more productive while doing better-quality work.

And guess what? Getting your employees enthusiastic and invested in their success (and yours) isn’t even all that difficult — you just need to know where to start. Check out these 13 proven ideas for team engagement, and feel free to apply them liberally throughout your business. 

  1. Encourage Communication

There are few things more discouraging than struggling in silence. Unfortunately, when communication isn’t actively encouraged, then suffering quietly is exactly what a lot of employees end up doing. 86% of executives identify ineffective communication as a major cause of business failures. So, open up the lines of information exchange by creating office hours where workers can drop in and chat. And remember that good communication flows both ways; make the habit of interacting with your employees in natural, low-stress settings, so that they feel comfortable opening up with you when they need to.

  1. Celebrate Milestones

A study by O.C. Tanner concluded that 79% of people who quit their jobs cite lack of appreciation as a major factor. This probably isn’t news to you; people like to know they are valued. What might be news is that something as simple as celebrating milestones can go a long way toward helping your workforce know that they’re appreciated. What kind of milestones? All kinds of milestones! Whether celebrating personally important events (weddings, birthdays, births, etc.) or professional ones (anniversaries, promotions, completed projects), making a big deal helps remind employees of the bigger picture.

  1. Recognize Success

Going hand in hand with celebrating milestones, recognizing and rewarding success can be a major motivator. According to TINYpulse, 85% of US workers enjoy having their efforts recognized, and 78% report that recognition motivates them to perform better. So, when your people go above and beyond, commemorate the achievement! Whether this means a high five or a full-blown party will be up to you and the preferences of your workforce. Which leads us to…

  1. Know Your Employees

It can be difficult to reward your employees when you don’t know what drives them. But it goes deeper than that. Humans are social animals; we form tribes and create emotional bonds. If we’re going to spend ~40 hours per week working with others, we need to trust and depend on them. Building these relationships is a critical part of creating a strong company culture (which can, in turn, improve company revenue by as much as 400%). And if you can develop insights into your employees’ interests and passions, you can tailor their job responsibilities accordingly.

  1. Seek and Act on Feedback

Isn’t it interesting how a lot of these points sort of lead into each other? Surveying your employees and soliciting their feedback through other channels is an extremely effective way to develop a clear picture of what drives your workforce as a whole, what gets in their way, and what suggestions or concerns they may want to share. Just remember to allow your employees to respond anonymously. It’s also worth mentioning that surveys are pointless if you don’t act on them.

  1. Provide Growth Opportunities

You’ve heard the term dead-end job, right? Make sure that’s not how your employees view their time with your company, by providing clear growth opportunities. Meet regularly with your people to understand their goals. What do they want to accomplish? How do they envision their careers progressing? What next steps do they need to take? Then, provide the education, support, and direction to help them get there. SHRM reports that 29% of workers identify lack of growth opportunities as a reason for wanting to quit, and 49% expect their employers to lend a hand with career development.

  1. Offer Health and Wellness Programs

Healthy, happy workers are naturally more engaged… and the modern office environment isn’t always very conducive to either of these states. You can help change all that by offering employee wellness programs. Giving your people resources and opportunities to improve their health not only helps eliminate many of the stresses that stand in the way of engagement, but it also puts your money where your mouth is in terms of demonstrating your appreciation. Just make sure that the health and wellness benefits you provide are actually beneficial

  1. Emphasize Work-Life Wellness

Your employees are more than just, well, employees. They have lives outside of the office, and those lives are important. Make sure that your workers recognize this fact and are aware that you don’t expect them to dedicate everything they are to your company. Be generous with paid time off. Allow for remote-work opportunities. Be flexible with scheduling. And never value the work that your people do above the people themselves. According to a Grand Canyon University survey of 600 businesspeople, 52.5% have considered changing careers to chase better work-life wellness.

  1. Share Company Insights

You wouldn’t ask your employees to drive at night without headlights, so why should you expect them to work for goals and opportunities they can’t see? Internal communications that regularly share company news and other relevant information are effective in motivating 85% of employees. Employer transparency helps your people understand where your company is at and where you’d like it to go, giving your people the headlights they need to drive business success.

  1. Create Networking Opportunities

We already mentioned that humans are social animals and that our connections with others are just as important professionally as they are personally. Networking is the logical extension of this principle. CNBC suggests that 80% of jobs are filled through personal and professional connections, but networking can be a benefit within your company as well as without. When employees build professional connections, they expand their reach and their capabilities. Providing your workforce with opportunities to attend conferences, outings, and social events within your industry will help them become better at what they do, improving engagement in the process.

  1. Promote Diversity and Inclusion

Employees want to know that their workplace is safe, friendly, and accepting of who they are. But when the workplace is lacking in diversity, those who fall outside of the company’s perceived cultural norm can easily end up feeling ostracized or undervalued. By making diversity and inclusion a focus, businesses can create an environment more conducive to employee engagement. And that can seriouslyimprove a company’s bottom line.

  1. Have Areas in the Office for Relaxation and Social Gathering

According to the World Health Organization, stresses in the workplace lead directly to ‘burnout’ (which is now included in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases as an occupational phenomenon). One way to combat this is by allowing your employees to remove themselves from the stressful environment, without removing themselves from the office. Create spaces within your workplace that are designed to help employees unwind. This can be as involved as furbishing a game room or as simple as occasionally designating a meeting room as a quiet relaxation area.

  1. Create community service opportunities

There are a lot of different ways to approach employee engagement activities, but why not give your workforce the chance to give something back? Do the leg work for setting up service opportunities within your community. Your employees will appreciate the break from regular day-to-day work and will be more engaged by understanding and acting on positive company values.


Yeah, there are a lot of things that can get in the way of employee engagement. But so what? There are also a lot of strategies, activities, and opportunities to make engagement a huge part of your business. These employee engagement ideas are only the beginning. Because once you understand your people and what drives them, improving engagement becomes a simple matter of cause and effect. Ready to get started with great benefits that encourage employee engagement? Talk to a Wellbeing Specialist today!

Company healthcare costs drop by up to 35% with Wellhub! (* Based on proprietary research comparing healthcare costs of active Wellhub users to non-users.) Talk to a Wellbeing Specialist to see how we can help reduce your healthcare spending!




Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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