When a workplace is filled with happy and engaged employees, the culture takes on a life of its own. It’s nearly impossible to not get caught up in the enthusiasm of these organizations. People are smiling, real progress is made in meetings, innovations bloom, and everyone is focused on producing the best work while having fun. So, how do we get there? Here are 21 fresh employee engagement ideas you can implement.
Editor’s Note: This piece was originally published in 2015. It was updated in September 2018 with fresh information.
Show Your Employees Your Appreciation
Letting employees know how much they’re appreciated can do wonders to create a positive and productive environment that’s also great for business. According to PayScale’s 2017 Employee Engagement and Retention Study, lack of appreciation is a key reason workers cited for quitting their jobs. On the other hand, a University of Warwick study found that employees provided with incentives to boost their happiness were between 12 and 20 percent more productive on the job. What kind of impact could productivity increases like these have on your bottom line?
Luckily, there are many ways to show employees appreciation, starting with paying them good and fair wages. To paying competitive salaries isn’t enough by itself. What also matters is that you talk about your pay practices with employees. PayScale research discovered that most people think they’re underpaid, even when they’re actually paid at the market rate or above the market rate for their position.
To make sure your employees feel good about their pay, make sure you or your people managers talk about pay with employees early and often. At a minimum, have your managers sit down with their direct reports to review their pay during the on-boarding period and during each pay increase cycle. Employees should understand what they’re making, how you’ve determined the range for their position, where they are within the range, and what they can do to move up and earn more. In addition, employees should have a clear idea of your organization’s compensation philosophy.
More ideas for more engaged employees
Here are some other ways to boost employee morale, workplace productivity, and ultimately, retention.
- Show a little more praise. Say “thanks” to a worker at least once a day. You can do this verbally, or leave a note of appreciation on his or her desk.
- Give some recognition. Don’t hold back. Publically let employees know you notice their efforts.
- Remember a special event. Employees always appreciate it when their birthday or anniversary is remembered. Have a little party or sign a group card for them.
- Give a gift (or two). Don’t stop at a card. Include a little token of appreciation, such as a pair of movie tickets or a gift card from a local retailer.
- Celebrate successes. Every month, take the time to treat the team to a free lunch, and go around the room to talk about the achievements of your people.
- Do something wacky. Get your entertainment committee together and hold fun and out-there events that all employees can participate in.
- Offer workplace flexibility. Working people need balance in their lives, and you can show respect for their sanity by providing opportunities to exercise flexibility and work-life balance.
- “Float” paid time off. Honor one unscheduled paid day off per year.
- Raise the roof on wages and benefits. Don’t let the competition steal your best people! Make sure your pay and benefits are the best in the industry. Again, unsatisfactory compensation is the number one reason people leave companies
- Make learning a part of the culture. When employees want to move up, onsite training and learning incentives make this possible.
- Provide rewarding projects. Most employees respond well to tasks that are well-suited for their interests and passions.
- Open up work spaces. Gone are the days of cubicle farms. Provide open and collaborative places where employees can create together.
- Update the dress code. Let your employees have “dress down” Fridays and relax a little on the stuffiness of business attire with casual work wear.
- Invest in your employees’ well-being. Develop a low-cost corporate wellness program or bring in fitness equipment so employees can lead healthier and more active lifestyles.
- Let employees vent. Over time, frustration can build up in stressful careers, so give your employees access to support to deal with the tough issues.
- Help employees save for the future. Include a retirement plan in your benefits. Match employee savings to encourage healthy participation levels. Help employees pay off their student loans by contributing some money each month toward paying off their debt.
- Link performance to payday. Instead of a set percentage wage increase each year, give employees the chance to earn more with progressive raises based on their performance metrics.
- Give credit where it’s due. Encourage employees to come up with better ways of doing things and recognize this as a regular practice.
- Participate in industry conferences. Got some bright stars among your ranks? Let them shine by sending them to participate and speak at industry conferences.
- Share the rewards. Businesses can extend the same corporate discounts and perks they get with all employees through special rewards programs.
- Get more personal. Take the time to be on the floor with your employees as often as possible to let them know you love what they bring to the table.
These are just a few ideas. What innovative employee engagement ideas have worked for you? Let us know in the comments.
Want to foster employee engagement? Download your free copy of PayScale’s ebook Five Keys for Retaining Top Employees, which provides deep insight into what makes for a happier, more productive workforce.