50 Best Employee Engagement Ideas [2023 Edition]

Simona Lokvenec

by Simona Lokvenec · Updated Jan 31, 2023

Employee engagement activities matter because they help bring innovation in your company, instill more passion within your employees, and secure higher employee retention rates. They also help create a work culture which promotes progress and ongoing development, while the fun ones make the work day more dynamic, but also more enjoyable.

And employers who understand the importance of employee engagement ideas are always on the lookout for new ones.

And that’s when we step in!

Here at PulseMate, we’re always committed to delivering the latest information, creative ideas, and high-quality content within the realm of employee engagement.

And we hope this article will convince you of that.

Table of Contents

What Is Employee Engagement

50 Best Employee Engagement Ideas

Frequently Asked Questions

Final Words

What Is Employee Engagement?

Employee engagement is a concept which refers to the dedication and passion employees have toward their jobs. In essence, engaged employees feel more passionate about their jobs, which is why they’re more productive, perform better, and genuinely believe their efforts and contribution make a big difference in the workplace.

Highly engaged employees love their jobs, appreciate their peers, have a positive attitude, respect their employers, and feel connected to their team. They try to do their best, and encourage their peers to do the same.

This is why, as an employer, employee engagement should be one of your priorities. After all, more engaged employees results in less employee absenteeism, increased employee retention, better performance, and improved customer satisfaction.

To learn more about employee engagement, make sure you read our detailed employee engagement guide.

With that said, let’s move on to the 50 best employee engagement ideas.

50 Best Employee Engagement Ideas

We’ll start this list with the more formal ideas first, and move on to the more neutral, fun suggestions next. Let’s go!

1) Build a strong HR team


How your employees perceive your company, their coworkers, and you, largely depends on the HR treatment they receive. It doesn't matter what employee engagement strategy you come up with if you don't have a killer team to put in the hard work and implement those new ideas. Now, you’re not your HR team, but you’ve hired all those individuals belonging to the team, so it’s only natural for workers to expect that your HR team stands for your values and beliefs.

This is why you should focus on building a strong HR team - a team you and your employees can rely on. Effective HR teams comprehend the overall company culture, career opportunities, and the importance of employee retention and employee development, and with that contribute to a more inclusive workplace where every individual employee feels accepted and appreciated.

2) Prepare a pleasurable onboarding experience


Starting a new job is always stressful, but a pleasant onboarding experience lessens the anxiety that comes with it and helps the new hire settle into their new job much more easily.

During the onboarding process, it’s important to allow new employees to ask questions, take notes, and voice any concerns. You should explain everything their job entails and who they should consult in case they have an issue.

It’s also useful to assign a buddy or a mentor at the beginning stages. This person should look after the new hire, and be at their disposal until the new employee feels comfortable to work much more independently. All of this helps new employees feel less confused, frustrated, or insecure.

During this process, it’s important that you not only encourage and praise your new hire, but also express gratitude and recognition to the mentor/buddy employee, too.

3) Conduct employee engagement surveys


This is probably one of the most frequently implemented employee engagement ideas. And this shouldn’t surprise us, after all, conducting employee engagement surveys is a very straightforward way of checking how (dis)engaged your employees are.

These surveys are easily actionable employee engagement initiatives that could potentially improve employee experience and job satisfaction if executed well. Such surveys measure how passionate your employees feel about what they do, how devoted they are to your company, and how likely they’re to stay in the company.

There are many ways as to how you can conduct such surveys throughout a company's different departments. You can do them weekly, monthly, or yearly even. It all depends on how frequently you wish to check on your employee engagement levels.

Our survey tool PulseMate makes all this super simple and easy, as the surveys can take as little as a few minutes per week. By assisting you in getting relevant data regarding employee engagement, PulseMate allows you to strengthen your team and improve overall performance levels as well - and who wouldn’t want that.

That said, many employers also opt for online platforms that allow them to keep in touch with their workers on a daily basis, whether they're in the office or operate as remote employees, which is something we explain in the next section.

4) Pick an employee engagement platform


More and more employers are opting for an employee engagement platform in order to:

  • monitor their projects in a single place;

  • manage their tasks;

  • help boost the overall working atmosphere;

  • have a fun way of connecting and communicating;

  • provide employee feedback (both public and private, depending on how you decide to communicate in specific situations);

  • recognize employee achievements;

  • conduct employee surveys and see how their employees feel on a daily basis, and so on.

If you take a closer look at all the features, functions, and options you get with such tools, you’ll probably realize that you’ll manage to achieve so much more, than dwelling on separate employee engagement ideas.

So, instead of thinking about the best method to provide feedback, coming up with ways to organize your project and manage your team, and contemplating how to reward your employees - all you need is a single employee engagement tool, and you’ve done much more than just kill two birds with a single stone!

5) Set clear goals and expectations from the start


Stating your expectations and discussing work criteria should come way before you end up hiring new employees. Being open with candidates can save your company from disengaged employees who were not completely aware of what the job entails.

And, yes, we know employers state expectations in the job description, but being transparent during the job interview and stating details and what truly matters to you as an employer is always a big plus. And when you do it face to face with the potential candidate, it adds another meaning than just writing it down next to the job position’s requirements.

6) Set office hours


This may remind you of your university days, when you had to check your professors’ office hours so that you could go and ask them questions about an upcoming exam, some notes you may have missed, or a chapter from the book you couldn’t understand no matter how hard you tried.

Well, this is more or less similar, it’s just that now you have the “professor role”, and you don’t have students coming to your office, rather your employees.

And they’re not asking about exams or notes - they’re inquiring about their tasks, salaries, days off, a project they may struggle with, a colleague they disagree with, and so on.

Allowing your employees to come to your office and give feedback, share concerns, or simply talk to you is a great way to bond with them, but it also provides them with a sense of security and makes you more approachable in their eyes, which is always a good thing.

7) Encourage mutual respect


Respect is one of the pillars upon which successful business rests. No business ever lasted long if employees were full of resentment, distrust, and disrespect. Whether it’s someone’s tone of voice, body language, facial expressions, or the words they say (or sometimes don’t say), all of this can help you determine if you’ve been treated with respect or not.

That being said, the opposite should apply, too. Many, if not all, of the best managers and company leaders strive to be polite and well-mannered, even if they disagree with their workers. This leads to greater employee morale and really helps you become a better person altogether, which should be more than enough motivation already.

And last, but not least, employees should show respect among each other regardless of their position, current salary, qualifications, and so on. So, next time you aren’t sure whether there’s enough respect in your company, observe your employees and how they behave and talk to one another. You might be surprised by what you see/hear.

8) Include variety in your daily/weekly meetings


If you host meetings that are predictable, repetitive, and above all absolutely monotonous, you have a BIG problem. Holding such meetings makes workers yawn, scroll their phones, gaze in the distance, get lost in their thoughts, and all of this ultimately leads to employee disengagement.

However, introducing some versatility - such as allowing employees to talk and present instead of you, having team members step forward and express their ideas, even eating some desserts, makes everybody engaged, in one way or another.

9) Allow employees to prioritize their tasks


For some employees, getting their administrative tasks done first, and then focusing on the more creative ones is a better approach. For others, getting creative and doing the fun bit first is more stimulating, while leaving “the boring tasks” for the end of the working day.

The order in which employees choose to do their tasks says nothing about how capable, smart, or qualified they are. It simply shows there are different working preferences, and they should absolutely be allowed (as long as they don’t cause trouble within the workplace).

For instance, if an employee leaves answering emails at the end of the day, yet there’s an important email from a client, they should, of course, answer it ASAP.

In essence, it’s about allowing employees to prioritize their tasks, but trusting them to do so properly as well.

10) Hold brainstorming sessions


Making decisions on your own and coming up with ideas regarding your company’s progress is great, but asking your employees to help every now and then should also be welcomed. In brief, arranging brainstorming sessions with your employees can help you arrive at conclusions and solve any dilemmas you may have much faster than you can do it on your own.

And you don’t need to schedule formal brainstorming sessions. For instance, let’s say you wish to introduce a new product/service, but you’re not quite sure what that should be. You put a piece of paper on the office board and invite each employee to pitch in with an idea. Then, you go through all the suggestions and discuss the best and the most promising ones.

After all, with all the changes going on in the business world, along with the stiff competition, employers need to be more creative now than ever before.

11) Create incentives

The beginning of the employment period is always exciting, but over time that enthusiasm starts to wane. Especially if employees feel as though “there’s nothing to look forward to”, especially if they don’t see how they obtain a more senior role, get a higher salary, or be given different responsibilities.

So, keeping employees engaged is key, and creating incentives is another way to do so. And we didn’t mention senior roles or higher salaries randomly - money is indeed a well-known and universal motivator. And it doesn’t always include higher salaries - it may be frequent bonuses (for individuals and/or whole teams), travel compensations, a certain budget to invest in your training, and so on. Put simply, everything that employees receive apart from their base salary.

That said, there are many ways to provide your employees with incentives, and not all of them revolve around finances. It’s best to see what works well for your employees, and what types of incentives would stimulate them effectively.

12) Talk openly about why you want to implement employee engagement ideas

A lot of employers are reluctant to consider implementing employee engagement ideas (especially very specific ones such as doing surveys or arranging one-on-one meetings). However, employee engagement should neither be feared nor neglected.

We even encourage employers to openly talk about why they’re implementing some of their employee engagement ideas. You can be open and pretty much straight forward with your employees by telling them that you want to introduce, let’s say, the employee of the month challenge, to inspire them to challenge themselves and be more motivated when performing their tasks.

13) Follow through on your promises

There are a lot of promises employers can make to their employees, like reviewing their application for a senior role within the company, increasing their salary, giving them an end of the year bonus, and so on.

There are no instructions, suggestions, or recommendations with this idea. It is what it is - whenever you make a promise to an employee, make sure to stick to it. Of course, things happen and sometimes unpredictable events may prevent you from making some changes or applying some things as fast as you want, but employees know when they’re being deceived and when employers are truthful, so even if you sometimes can’t keep a promise, at least explain the reasons in the most sincere way possible.

14) Be a role model

This one is easy to understand, yet difficult to implement for so many employers in their daily work. It’s simple: if you aren’t passionate about your work, why should your employees be? If you aren’t engaged, why should they be? Lastly, if you aren’t devoted to your employees, why should they be loyal and devoted to your business?

Being a role model puts a lot of pressure on employers. They feel as though they need to be perfect. They believe they can’t make mistakes, and must always make the best decisions.

Your employees understand that you’re a normal person, just like them. Therefore, they don’t expect you to be flawless. They just expect you to be you. In essence, they wish to see you being your authentic self.

And if that means you’re sometimes having a bad day or can’t be as productive as you usually are - that’s okay. As long as you love what you do, and you set an example of how workers can have the same level of enthusiasm, you’ll be fine.

15) Ensure a suitable working atmosphere

People say that good workers can work under any condition, but let’s face it - can you really motivate your employees to do their best if their office is dirty, there’s no proper ventilation, and the temperature in the building is either too high or too low?

More importantly, should you?

Making sure your employees have a suitable working atmosphere is very important regardless of their position, salary, or how long they’ve been in the company.

Also, you need to ensure that the equipment, all devices and systems are well maintained - you wouldn’t like a fire emerging from old cables or poor ventilation.

Next, try to create an open air office environment. We understand that certain offices may not allow for this, but if it’s possible, we strongly urge you to do it. Nothing replaces fresh air, especially when workers need to spend hours in a single office.

Finally, you shouldn’t neglect the importance of plans, too. Not only do they make up for a good office atmosphere, but they help reduce stress, boost productivity, cut down sickness and absenteeism, and clean the air, too.

16) Provide, but also ask for feedback

As an employer, you probably find yourself constantly giving feedback to your workers, but you rarely ask for it in return. Many may wonder, “Why would employers need to depend on their employees’ feedback?”.

Well, such feedback is valuable in many ways. First of all, you’ll see how your employees perceive you, what they like and dislike about your methods, behavior, and overall management. You’ll get insights into what’s working, how they feel about certain matters, and of course, what actions you should take next.

Working for a company which treats feedback as something important, rather than a process that should be feared, allows employees to express themselves freely, and discuss matters openly with you.

Finally, having frequent feedback helps both you and your employees to reflect upon your overall work, performance, habits, responsibilities, and behavior. Keep in mind that this feedback should be anonymous, since you want your employees to express themselves freely, without being afraid of any consequences because of something negative they may have said.

17) Ask employees for their ______ preferences

It could be work preferences, employee recognition preferences, food preferences (yes, you may even ask your employees what type of food they’d like to see next in the canteen, of course, assuming your company has one), and so on.

Learning about your employees’ individual preferences is great because it allows you to develop a tailored approach toward each one of them. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should remember every single thing about them, or that they’ll always have their preferences satisfied, but it’s good to keep at least some of them in mind so that they can be fulfilled when it’s possible to do so.

It’s worth knowing when to say “No” to some preferences, too.

For instance, if an employee comes to you and they wish to take days off at the beginning of June, but you have an important product launch scheduled for that period, and there are already several employees who asked for some time off in the exact same period - of course, you can say “No”. You do need to explain what the situation looks like though, so that you can avoid any misunderstanding. It’s all about letting your employees know you’re trying to accommodate their needs and preferences, but that doesn’t mean you can_ always do so._

18) Encourage employees to establish a work-life balance

According to Gary Keller “Work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls-- family, health, friends, integrity-- are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered.”

So, how can people balance their private lives and careers? Well, one of the ways is to actually be an employer who supports this kind of balance.

Although obtaining such a balance may seem impossible at times, it’s worth striving for it at all times. Now, this work-life balance has a different interpretation for each employee.

As an employer, it’s enough to allow your employees to be flexible in their work, manage their tasks in a way they consider to be effective (where this is applicable), and not give them more than they can handle. It’s also about knowing when to make some changes in your company.

For instance, if you feel like your employees start getting overwhelming amounts of work, they can’t seem to fulfil all their tasks, and this is affecting them in a negative way, it may be time to hire more people.

All in all, everything revolves around closely monitoring how employees cope with their work and how it affects their mood.

19) Socialize

Do you talk to your employees only when you need to assign a new task, discuss a new project, or ask work-related questions?

Do you tend to go long days without mingling with your employees and go to their offices only when something work-related comes up?

If this is you, it’s time to reflect. And we’re not suggesting you’re doing anything wrong, or that you don’t want to spend time with your employees. It’s just that sometimes you’re probably so overwhelmed by the number of responsibilities that the last thing that’s on your mind is to chit-chat with your workers.

When there’s a will there’s a way, though. If you’re busy, for example, you can join your employees for lunch. When you need to chill and enjoy some fresh air, you can ask an employee to join you. Socializing is really in the simple things. This can do wonders for the relationship you have with each of your employees.

It’s all about finding just the right balance, where you’re not annoying your employees all the time, but you’re not forgetting they exist either.

20) Notice burnout before it causes chaos

Burnout can be sneaky. It can be disguised, so it’s not always easy to notice, and more importantly, employees may be in denial that they’re dealing with it.

Employee burnout can happen even to employees who love their job, appreciate their salary, accept their boss, and don’t mind overworking themselves. So, if burnout may appear in such situations, imagine what it looks like when employees are under a lot of pressure, such as before an important work trip, product/service launch, or a meeting?

And if this goes on for a while, it can really develop into something much more serious. Some of the common burnout signs employees experience are: lack of concentration, physical and emotional exhaustion, very low productivity, bad performance, procrastination, mood swings, health problems that may worsen over time, and so on.

And although it’s not up to you to “heal” your employees, you should be able to notice when an employee seems to be struggling. And then you can approach them and see what seems to be the issue.

Finally, don’t burn yourself out in the process, while trying to save your employees. A healthy employer sets the example for their employees - if you’re chaotic, burnt out, and exhausted from everything, chances are your employees will “copy” the same vibes and adapt similar behaviors. So our recommendation is to always lead by example.

21) Do strengths evaluations

Strengths evaluations refer to a type of assessment which helps employees learn things about themselves, gain more confidence, and reflect upon their skills. Put simply, employees contemplate their strengths and skills, and put them down on paper. It doesn’t have to be a formal test taking event - it can just be a spontaneous type of evaluation where employees get to learn about their strengths.

Such evaluations are useful because they give insights which can later be put to good use. The results from these evaluations enable employees to maximize their potential, enhance their skills, and take their performance to the next level.

22) Set up company culture

Employees’ qualifications, previous work experience, and performance are important, but they aren’t everything. Sometimes hiring an employee who is hesitant to take initiative at times, but shows polite behavior, loyalty, and commitment may be a better fit than an employee with just amazing qualifications and leadership skills (and a huge ego).

To know which are the right employees for your company, you first need to define your company culture. Your employees should understand your company values and be in alignment with them. Their attitude, communication, and overall behavior matter much more than you may anticipate since this doesn’t just increase employee engagement, but it boosts employee retention, too.

23) Invest time (and money!) in an adequate office look

We talked about the importance of a suitable working atmosphere, but here we’d like to discuss yet another aspect closely related to it.

Namely, cubicles, badly lit offices, and out-dated technology can definitely contribute to low employee retention. And we probably don’t even need to explain why.

Workers today want modern spaces, safe buildings, and top-notch technology (of course such requirements will definitely depend on the line of work being discussed). Put simply, employees wish for more than just basic conditions.

They really want to see that their employers have invested time (and money!) to make the company a nice place to work at. After all, they need to spend approximately 8 hours per day (Mon-Fri) there. It definitely needs to be more than just nice, so look for an architect, consult designers, do some research, and of course, consider your budget.

24) Go to your employees for advice

Going to your employees for a piece of work-related advice will engage them much more than any other task they may have to complete. You can ask them about certain calculations, or some section from the latest report they may have submitted. You may even ask them to help you write the speech for an upcoming meeting you need to attend.

After all, each of your workers possess a unique set of skills, strengths, and capabilities. And they can all help differently and provide relevant opinions.

By doing this, not only are you potentially solving your issue, but you show them appreciation and acknowledge their contribution. It sends the message that you respect their opinion and decision-making skills.

25) Discuss both wins and loses

It’s very easy for employers to discuss successful projects, new clients, and higher revenue months. Talking about what you managed to achieve with your employees is not only a piece of cake, but rewarding and motivating on its own, too.

That said, losing clients, having an argument with a customer, or making less money than what you and your workers planned can be quite tough.

But success isn’t always linear. And the more employers are willing to embrace the challenges that come with running a company, the easier things can be. And this means discussing such matters with your employees openly.

Simply saying something as simple as “Hey, I know we set our hopes on this client, but it’s not the end of the world. Let’s reflect on what we could have done better and we’ll know what to do next time” can help employees feel as though they haven’t really failed, and more importantly, that you’re on their side, and you’re both winning and losing together as a team.

26) Give equal opportunities to all employees to move laterally within the company

It’s normal that some employees may wish to try out different roles throughout their time working in the company. They could be curious about a different job position, they might want a more flexible work schedule, or they might even want to get promoted.

Whatever the reason may be, it’s good to discuss such matters with your employees first. Ask them openly what their expectations are, why they want such a change, and how they can contribute to this new department/position.

If they have the ability, experience, and knowledge, the good thing about allowing for such shifts is that you get to retain experienced workers instead of allowing them to look for a new job elsewhere.

27) Embrace inclusivity and diversity

Diversity in the workplace usually refers to having individuals from different gender, race, age, education, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and so on, in your company.

By hiring such diverse employees, you’ll have a better understanding of potential clients and customers who come from different backgrounds themselves. Diverse workforce also contributes to:

  • an increased range of ideas;

  • better tolerance and acceptance in the office;

  • higher employee engagement rates (as employees tend to perform better in more diverse settings)

  • better company reputation, and so on.

28) Don’t make changes without informing your employees

“But I’m the employer, I should do as I please”, you may say. Of course, you absolutely have the final say in most cases, but informing employees about significant changes ahead of an important meeting or a presentation with a client, for instance, makes them feel “part of your tribe”.

Put simply, it lets them know you trust and respect them enough to inform them beforehand about any changes you may be planning. Plus, you can also get their opinion about the matter at hand. Sometimes you may get valuable insights and information that might make you reconsider some of your decisions and choices.

After all, your employees are pretty much aware of what’s going on in your company, and those with a sharper mind can conclude whether a change is good or bad right away.

29) Acknowledge your employees

And we don’t just mean to acknowledge their efforts or successes.

We mean that you should acknowledge them as people - for who they truly are. It’s all about getting in touch with their human side, not just the professional traits they may have. It’s about knowing who tells the best jokes, who makes the best coffee in the office, and who cleans after their peers have left a mess after some meeting.

And it’s all about how much you’re willing to “learn” and notice such things, buried under the pile of tasks, projects, and stress.

30) Embrace individuality

If you allow your employees to be as authentic as they can, they’ll do their job in a way which is more aligned with their personality, skills, and overall experience.

For instance, if an employee needs to have three coffee breaks during the day, let them have them (as long as they manage to finish the tasks for the day, of course).

Or if an employee needs to walk around the office while brainstorming, or developing a project, don’t “confine” them in their chair.

On the whole, it’s about allowing an employee’s personality to be in the centre of their work performance. When you do so, you’re allowing them to fully express themselves, without them being afraid they don’t fit into a mould, or that someone may criticize them for their approach, methods, or ways of doing things.

31) Be flexible

With the increasing number of countries and companies exploring new working schedules and options, the good, old 9-5 doesn’t seem as attractive. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic urged many employers to provide remote work, which has now become hybrid work for many companies.

Flexible work is linked to significantly better levels of employee satisfaction. Moreover, it's no longer something that only freelance workers experience. As the world keeps on changing, many traditional companies offer flexible work to their employees. Accordingly, it's a good idea to start thinking of ways to integrate more flexibility to your work arrangements, such as allowing work-from-home days where able.

And how you decide to go about this, is completely up to you. You may allow workers to come in late at work, but then ask them to stay later, too. You might allow them to work from home, and come to the office only when it’s absolutely necessary. Employers may also provide sabbaticals or even secondments. Some companies even offer unlimited vacation days (of course, if you introduce this within your company, you need to make sure it won’t be abused).

Offering a flexible work culture encourages employees to be more productive, focused, and satisfied. It prevents a monotonous atmosphere and offers a more easy going work culture.

Finally, talk with your employees about what flexibility means to them. You can even ask them to come up with reasonable suggestions, and see whether they make sense.

32) Don’t neglect emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence in the workplace is important both for employers and employees, and it refers to one’s ability to understand their emotions, and those of their peers. That said, it’s also about learning how to manage them properly, too. Emotionally intelligent workers can handle interpersonal relationships in a much better way, achieve their professional goals more successfully, and communicate their ideas, thoughts, and suggestions to their colleagues and employers effectively.

Working on one’s emotional intelligence helps individuals make significant progress in their careers, promote a positive work environment, and be in control of their feelings in various situations. And there are many ways to do so. You may try:

  • observing your employees’ reaction in stressful situations and then talking to them about it (drawing their attention to how they behaved may help them consider things from a different perspective);

  • asking employees to take a self-evaluation test (you may create the test in collaboration with your HR team);

  • encouraging employees to take responsibility for their feelings;

  • asking them how their actions affect their peers, and so on.

On the whole, emotional intelligence allows you to learn a lot not just about your employees’ emotions, but your own emotions as well.

33) Publicly praise employees

Let your workers know their peers have done a good job. Acknowledge their successes publicly. This will not only make those employees feel proud and accomplished, but it will also motivate their peers to obtain the same appreciation.

Of course, you shouldn't praise employees just for the sake of praising them. You may go through periods where there’s no need to praise employees publicly that much. Of course, we’re not saying you shouldn't be discussing your employees’ performance and successes, it’s just that if you overdo something, it isn’t special any longer.

In other words, there should be specific criteria and guidelines when it comes to what’s considered “normal” success, which is something that should happen on a daily basis vs. what it means when an employee has overperformed and managed to truly surpass everyone’s expectations.

34) Treat failure as a part of the “work game”

Failing at a task, project, or acquiring a client is something that happens to all of us, both employers and employees. Such moments are to be understood as a part of “the work game”. In essence, they’re there to help us grow and evolve and do our jobs better in the future, as it’s another learning experience to reflect on. So, when your employees feel defeated, find a way to brighten up their mood. It can be by playing a song they love, saying a joke all of you can relate to, sharing a story about something that happened to you which you perceived as “failure”, and so on.

Put simply, it’s not about what you’ll say or do to make them feel better - it’s enough for them to know you’re there, and you’re trying.

35) Be a leader, not a boss

Being a leader, and not a boss may sound mainstream, but it’s true - your employees need a leader, and not an employer who will just boss them around.

But how can you differentiate between leaders and bosses? Also, how do you know whether you’re a leader or a boss?

Well, leaders don’t have trouble working with their employees and influencing them, whereas bosses usually command without actually doing any work themselves.

Next, leaders try to inspire and motivate employees whenever they can - bosses explain their views and expect others to agree with them right away. There’s almost no room for fruitful discussion with bosses - things have to turn out the way they imagined them.

Then, leaders have great mentorship qualities, accept mistakes, and can guide employees in the right direction, but bosses use a punishment/reward method much more frequently.

Finally, bosses see themselves as being better than their employees, whereas leaders consider themselves to be part of the employee team.

36) Introduce unique office solutions

You don’t need to build a space shuttle to provide your employees with unique and creative office solutions. You just need to give them something which many employees consider out of the ordinary, such as using an exercise ball as an office chair, or perhaps a standing desk.

Of course, your office should have “regular” chairs and “regular” desks, but it’s good to spice things up and provide versatility every once in a while. Employees can choose to use a standing desk when they don’t feel like sitting, or if they experience some back discomfort or pain, they may opt for the exercise ball instead of their regular chair.

In general, employees like when they have options. It feels nice to choose what best suits you at a given moment, and if you’re willing to make that happen, it could result in a higher employee engagement.

37) Provide coaching, mentoring, and training sessions

A lot of companies offer their employees coaching, mentoring, and extra training. However, not all of them are high-quality programs. It’s not just about organizing a training session. It’s about making it an informative and a meaningful experience for your employees.

It really is about quality over quantity. Now, these sessions can include a variety of topics. Some of them may be specifically tailored to your employees and their preferences (just ask them what they’d like to learn more about), others may help them improve some skills, whereas some sessions can just be about sharing experiences.

And while coaching, mentoring, and training sessions are great for gaining more knowledge and improving skills, deep down it’s about team bonding, too. And that’s what makes these sessions so valuable.

38) Don’t make assumptions

Not sure who submitted the last report? Ask your employees.

Can’t understand why a client sends a nasty email? Talk to the employee who communicated with them.

Don’t know why this product launch is taking longer than expected? Ask your workers.

Asking instead of assuming should really be every employer’s motto. Many employers are quick to jump to conclusions, as they believe they’re able to always track their employees’ progress, and keep up with all the projects and things that are going on inside the company.

However, they don’t have all the necessary information at all times. That’s why asking questions and communicating with your employees openly is crucial to securing smooth performance and a satisfied workforce. Of course, such an approach also prevents miscommunication along with the negative consequences that come with it.

For instance, let’s say an employee was supposed to send you a summary from the latest meeting they’ve had with a potential client, however, you never received it. Instead of assuming they may have forgotten to do it, send a quick reminder to see what seems to be the problem. Sure, they may have forgotten, but maybe the meeting was postponed and they let the supervisor from their department know, instead of communicating it directly with you, for instance.

39) Introduce mental health days

According to the following mental health statistics:

  • 82% of the workers dealing with a mental health issue don’t inform their superiors whenever they struggle with mental health (this is usually due to being embarrassed, afraid of losing their jobs, and so on);

  • Mental health disorders are said to cost the global economy $1trillion (this is because mental health leads to higher absenteeism, and therefore reduced productivity);

  • If depression is identified and handled, companies are capable of bettering their employees’ productivity, reducing sick days, and minimizing job-related accidents.

Knowing all of this really makes one wonder - how on Earth can employers ignore their employees’ mental health issues?

Of course, we’re not saying it’s up to you to recognize this, secure their treatment, or be held responsible for their state of being, however, acknowledging an employee is struggling with their mental health for whatever reason is a start. Then, you can offer them support, like allowing them to work from home if coming to work sometimes feels overwhelming, or giving them a few mental health days off while they’re dealing with their personal issues.

40) Encourage further professional development outside your company

We already talked about coaching, mentoring, and training sessions, however, the true greatness in an employer lies in their ability to encourage employees to seek further knowledge and possibilities. And sometimes they’re outside your company.

International conferences, retreats, and even webinars by other companies and experts will not only expand your employees’ horizons, but benefit your company, too! Your employees will be inspired and committed to their goals (as well as the company goals) more than ever.

Also, if it’s possible, offer to pay for some of their experiences, such as a plane ticket, accommodation, and so on.

41) Develop an attitude of gratitude

Be grateful for everything you’ve achieved so far in your business practice. It takes courage and determination to call yourself an employer.

Be grateful for your employees. After all, if it wasn’t for them, you (probably) wouldn’t be where you are today.

Be grateful for where your organization is heading. Remind yourself that there’s so much more to come.

But gratitude is multiplied when it’s shared publicly and others get to hear it.

Developing an attitude of gratitude can be done in several different ways. From a simple thank you after someone has sent you an email, to putting an office board with post-it notes and asking each employee to write what they’re grateful for at the end of each working day.

Building a grateful workplace doesn’t happen overnight. But the more you encourage gratefulness and appreciation among your employees, the more present it will become within your company.

42) Apologize (when you’re wrong)

Yes, employers aren’t flawless and they make bad decisions every now and then (how shocking, right?).

And there’s no problem in being wrong or making a bad decision - the problem happens when we don’t want to apologize for it.

Let’s say you’re checking your latest project’s report, and once you’re done reading it, you feel like something doesn’t add up (someone made a wrong calculation in the project report). You talk to the project’s leader, they explain that they’ve double checked everything, but couldn’t find any mistake. In the meantime, you may have said some harsh words to them or told them to be more professional in the future. You check the project once again and realize you were the one who miscalculated things.

This is a very simple example (silly even). But in such situations a lot of employers may find it hard to admit they’re the ones who got things wrong, and not their employee. They may even feel their pride and authority being affected (if they need to apologize).

Our advice to you is: don’t be that employer. There’s nothing wrong with saying you were wrong. It happens all the time to everyone. Just say you misinterpreted things, and you’ll pay more attention next time.

Your employee will appreciate this apology, and we’re more than certain they won’t hold this unfortunate event against you.

43) Keep in touch with employees

If there’s an employee who called in sick - why not text them the next day and see how they’re doing? Or maybe send them a get well card? Even if someone is going through a complicated process, such as a divorce, you can simply let them know that if they can’t fully dedicate themselves to their work during this time, you won’t hold it against them.

Showing employees that you care and are aware of their struggles doesn’t make you a “weak” employer. On the contrary, it shows an employer who looks after the well-being of all of their employees and is genuinely concerned about the things that may be going on in their lives.

44) Create habits, routines, and traditions

Celebrate work anniversaries, important company events, and performance achievements. Make April masquerades and Halloween celebrations a thing. Start each day stretching in the office. Celebrate each birthday in the office by ordering a personalized cake which best describes the employee whose birthday you’re celebrating (that is, unless your company has hundreds of employees). Wear a shirt with your company logo each Tuesday. Make group photos each Easter. Plan after work parties each Friday in a bar you and your employees get to call “you place”.

There are many ways to create long-lasting habits, routines, and traditions. And you don’t need to do everything we listed. You should discuss such matters with your employees and see what they like. For instance, some of them may dislike the idea of attending an afterwork party each Friday (or any Friday). Others may not enjoy masquerades or Halloween.

It’s all about choosing several things so that you get to make everyone happy with at least one thing.

45) Do fun stuff

We’re all for professionalism and everyone doing their jobs, but doing a fun employee engagement activity every once in a while wouldn’t hurt. In fact, it’s exactly these fun times that help boost employees’ productivity in the long-run.

So how can you have fun at work? After all, most people never associate the act of working with having fun. But you’re not on the lookout for such employees, right? You want to have engaged employees.

Now, doing fun stuff at work can range from someone bringing their guitar to work and telling jokes during lunch break, to having a game console during short breaks and using adult coloring books. You can have team building activities in-office or off-site regularly.

Fun activities like a scavenger hunt or trivia game are just some fun ideas you can try. Any other activity that helps bridge teams and encourages everyone to unwind will be an effective way to boost employee happiness and camaraderie.

That said, it’s important to draw a line between having fun and doing actual work. You don’t want employees using a game console throughout the whole day, or immersing themselves in adult coloring books for long periods of time.

46) Develop a wellness program

Employers tend to undermine the importance of looking after their employees’ well-being. They feel as though it’s not their job to handle their workers’ health matters.

However, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t initiate things or provide opportunities for their employers. And it doesn’t have to be anything complicated.

It could be something as simple as hiring a meditation coach to come on a weekly basis in your offices and work with your employees; you may also offer discounted gym memberships (you may need to look for some gyms that will want to collaborate with you); or offer healthy snacks in the office, like fruits, nuts, and so on.

Healthy workers are successful workers, and these initiatives will be much appreciated by your employees which will, in turn, make them like their job that much more.

47) Have a bring-desserts-kind-of-day

Some may find this suggestion weird among other employee engagement ideas; others may not even see how this is related to employee engagement. Most people would definitely find it to be a tasty suggestion though, and that’s what helps create a positive atmosphere within the workplace.

Having workers come to work anticipating a “bring-desserts-kind-of-day” will literally make them hurry to work. People can bond over their favorite ice cream, discuss potential projects while eating lemon cake, and forget about their worries while eating donuts.

This is something that may happen during lunch break, during a meeting, a coffee break, and so on.

And if the “bring-desserts-kind-of-day” doesn’t resonate with you, you may opt for something different instead. In essence, the dessert on its own may not be anything special at all, but it’s all about making your employees' days less monotonous and mundane.

48) Start a club

Starting a club is about finding something your employees like, which isn’t directly related to their work, but offers an opportunity for them to socialize and bond. For instance, you may introduce a book/movie club.

Doing this fosters both professional and personal development, and it’s an amazing way to stimulate employees to try something new, connect with their peers, and simply expand their knowledge.

This also helps employees meet peers who work in other departments and hear different perspectives on various matters. Discussion about books or movies helps workers take a stand, defend their views, and simply have a voice.

Finally, make sure you make such clubs easily accessible and approachable. People shouldn’t struggle to participate in such clubs and discussions - this isn’t supposed to be a burden, it should help them relax, and enjoy themselves. Also, it’s up to you whether this is done during work, or outside of it.

49) Have an employee-of-the-month challenge

You can implement this employee-of-the-month challenge in numerous ways. You could give public praise and announce the employee of the month based on their performance, give a specific award, have others vote for them, and so on.

However, whatever it is that you do - be consistent, and don’t just randomly change the rules each month. If you’re doing an employee-of-the-month challenge, your employees need to know and understand how to potentially become one.

So, first and foremost, you need to clarify what it is that you’re rewarding - is it the employee who completed the most projects, submitted the most detailed reports, collaborated with a lot of colleagues, or perhaps the one who came up with the best new idea?

There are many ways to approach this - the important thing is to find the option that resonates with your employees best.

Finally, be careful how you go about this since you don’t want to develop rivalry within the office, rather increase the competitive spirit and motivate employees to perform better.

50) Leave hand-written notes around the office

This employee engagement idea is pretty much self-explanatory. From time to time, you can leave inspirational hand-wirtten notes around the office.

You may put them on the wall, leave them on an employee’s desk, or pin them on the office board. The notes don’t have to convey any complicated messages, they could be something as simple as “Go team!”, “You’re doing a great job!”, “Proud of your progress so far!”, and so on. Of course, the content written on the note will depend on whether you’re addressing the whole collective, or you’re just leaving a note for a specific employee.

Finally, in a world that’s constantly focused on digital communication and receiving emails, messages, and notifications, getting a hand-written note is a breath of fresh air.

Bonus idea: keep upgrading your employee engagement ideas

The last employee engagement idea is paradoxically encouraging you to keep exploring and upgrading employee engagement ideas.

In essence, the pursuit for such ideas doesn’t stop here. Number 50 isn’t the end. It could be for this article, but we always want to empower employers to continue researching, finding new methods, and ways which work to promote employee engagement in their companies.

And that’s exactly what we wish to do with these employee engagement ideas.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many employee engagement ideas do I need to apply?

As much as you want to!

Really, ideas have no numeric limitations, so why settle on a specific number? Plus, you don’t need to choose several of them, and then stick with those till the end of your career. In essence, there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to how many employee engagement ideas you should apply within your workplace.

To start with, you can stick to some that have proven to be successful in your company. Then, you may try out some new ones - simply to test the waters. Also, you can implement several ideas at once, or stick to just one for a while.

It’s worth mentioning that certain employee engagement ideas develop quite organically and it takes time to see the results.

How do I know which employee engagement ideas to pick?

No one can tell you which employee engagement ideas to pick - especially when there are so many of them. That said, we do have a piece of advice to share with you, which is to choose the employee engagement ideas which sit well with you, your values, and your current business needs. Also, you need to take into account your employees’ personality, expectations, and wants.

It’s all about making a compromise, and adjusting your employee engagement plans accordingly.

That said, there are certain employee engagement ideas you shouldn't ignore.

One such idea is conducting surveys, or opting for an employee engagement platform. These have proven to be miraculous for each work environment. And they sit well with employees, too.

In essence, they take it as part of their regular job description, so there’s not much discussion about how comfortable they are with it. After all, you do need to find a way to measure employee engagement so that you can later work on improving it in some areas.

Final Words

To sum up, there are many employee engagement ideas out there, and it may seem challenging to try all of them. We hope our article not only informed you about new and creative ideas, but it also inspired you to try them out in your company as well.

Employee engagement may be a daunting aspect to handle and apply, but once you have the right ideas - it’s a walk in the park.

And with our article, you have much more than a just list of employee engagement ideas.

You have the best ones.

Further Reading