Workplace training

11 minute read

11 Best Employee Engagement Ideas That Get Results

Brandon Schaefer

Brandon Schaefer

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Let's talk about employee engagement ideas. If you want to retain top business talent, you absolutely need to understand the importance of keeping them engaged. Continuing to say that you’re going to keep employees engaged, but doing nothing to actually grow strong corporate culture, doesn’t cut it anymore. You need to put the rubber to the road and actually implement strategies that drive employees to rave about your company.

Always remember that top talent attracts top talent 

So once you get the ball rolling, don’t stop. Keep the positive momentum going by committing to build a strong positive corporate culture every day.

One problem that leadership teams have in regards to increasing engagement, is that they just don’t really understand what they need to do. It’s no fault of theirs though, as this is new territory, and new roads to success are being created every single day. The good thing is, that with a little expert guidance (like the tips that are shared below), you can turn your company from zero to hero relatively quickly.

Employee-engagement-ideas-activitiesEmployee engagement programs work best when leadership teams provide guidance, support, and direction, on a consistent basis, over an extended period of time. This is not a one-and-done type task, corporate culture initiatives must be a long-term play to have maximum employee participation. So, let’s get down to business here by sharing the best employee engagement ideas and activities that will keep everyone motivated and wanting to come to work every day.

The best employee engagement ideas for building a strong corporate culture 

1. Put the "why" behind the work an employee is doing

To have an employee show up every day and just go through the motions makes no sense. Let the employee know that their small piece is vital to the entire company running smoothly. When onboarding them, give a tour of all the departments in your office and introduce them to everyone and show them where they fit into the corporate equation. Making employees feel like a part of the “whole” is vital to building individual self-esteem.

Bonus: Reward employees for doing excellent jobs and let everyone know how special they are.

2. Give employees the ability to create content

People are most likely going to listen to and be influenced more by their peers, than their direct leadership team, so give employees the opportunity to create content and share their success stories about working at your company. A short piece of written blog content will work great, and if the employee is open to getting behind the camera and sharing their story, that’s even better. It’s all about building up employee morale from within your company, by your employees themselves.

Bonus: Share content on your social media channels while helping position your employees as authoritative resources in your market segment.

3. Give employees the freedom to be creative with what they love

People want freedom, and when you give them freedom, they become much more productive and creative in the process. If they have a strong social initiative that they’d like to share at an upcoming meeting, let them share what they love, why they love it, and how it helps them feel more fulfilled. If they have a side project that they’re working on, let them work on it. As long as they’re putting everything they have into their specific job task with your company, it’s fine to have them work on what personally excites them as well.

Bonus: Provide funding for employees when they’re working on a personal project that may help grow your business.

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4. Provide an opportunity where every employee can become a superstar

Seeing a “sleeper” come out of the woodwork because they were given an opportunity to get some momentum and get some exposure for how good of work they do, is one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever see. Everyone has a bit of magic and uniqueness within themselves, but sometimes it’s hidden behind hurt or shame, or something else that’s negatively affected their life. As a leader, let them know that it’s ok and that it’s their time to shine.

Bonus: Have employees share their success stories with other employees during meetings.

5. Give employees the freedom to work where they work best

In today’s day and age, especially with the millennials, people want to work when, how, and wherever they’re going to be the most productive, and sometimes that’s not going to be sitting in an office environment. Some people work better in the morning, some work better at night, whatever the individual employee preference is, let them run with it. If they’re not getting their work done, then you can have a conversation about switching things up.

Bonus: Offer flex working space for when employees do come into the office for meetings. 

6. Make every employee feel special

Every person that I’ve ever met wants to feel special to someone, so be the corporate leadership team that lets employees know that you love them for who they are and what they do. Work with your employees for a few minutes in each internal meeting and share the value and benefits of having every employee make every person that they work with feel special. A simple thank you, a big smile matched with a bright and shiny hello, goes a far way when a fellow peer is struggling with something in their personal or business life.

Bonus: Be the first to reach a hand out when someone is feeling down or has something going on in their life that they need help with.

7. Provide an open environment for collaboration

From my experience, the best ideas typically come from within your very own organization, when collaboration between different people and departments occur. Here’s the thing with collaboration though, get different people, from different departments involved, to drive the most creativity. It’s easy to get sucked into the vacuum of the same people, in the same meetings, giving the same ideas. For collaboration to work effectively, you need to open the door to letting new people in the room.

Bonus: Set up a weekly or monthly open collaboration session.

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8. Offer leadership training courses for all employees

Thinking that employees know exactly what you want them to do in terms of building leadership and morale amongst themselves is a big mistake. Offer continual training and share examples of what successful employee engagement looks and feels like. Leadership training is a great opportunity for you to see who’s really invested and committed to building strong corporate culture vs. who’s really just skating by and looking to bail when they can. It’s all hands on deck with training, and again, this is not about you drilling how it needs to be, it’s just you sharing successful lessons that will help everyone pull together.

Bonus: Let employees that excel in leadership, teach it to their peers.

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9. Create and host team-building  activities

Hosting activities is probably the most popular and most talked-about out of all the employee engagement and activities, but it’s most likely the least liked by actual employees.

Learning and retention happen best when people are not told what they need to do, but rather, through the experience or situation that they’re currently having, they naturally take ownership and start to come up with their own ways to blend their knowledge into your specific corporate culture initiatives.

That being said, activities are still a key ingredient for success, but I just want you to look at it from a different viewpoint so you can get the maximum bang for your buck in the activities that you do elect to participate in. Activities must be based around giving people the opportunity to get to know each other better and to learn to rely on one another. If you say, “We’re going to have a team-building activity,” people are naturally going to snicker and put their guard up, but if you say, “We’re going to go and have some fun together,” and leave it at that, people go in with an open mind. It’s all about the psychology of how people think and feel.

Bonus: Do all activities during normal business hours so it doesn’t affect families outside of standard work hours.

10. Give employees the opportunity to make decisions

When big decisions arise, pull everyone together and let them know that the leadership team is asking for every employee's help in making this decision. This builds morale and lets everyone know that they’re important and that they have a say in what goes on. It’s no longer ok to just run a company as a dictatorship. The more employees feel like they have a say, the more engaged they’re going to be.

Bonus: Let employees assign themselves to their own decision-making teams.

11. Help employees build confidence

Look, the bottom line with all this information is that people are human beings and they want to be treated nicely. Great leadership always leads by example, not by dictatorship. Commit to yourself to be a great leader, and make sure that everyone on your team commits as well. Everyone at a company needs to be rowing in sync for maximum productivity.

There’s no time to mess around here, as competition is fierce and companies are vying for top talent, so if the word on the street is that you’re company is lacking in terms of strong corporate culture and employee engagement, it’s going to be tough to not only hire top new talent but keep the top talent you have currently. 

Bonus: Create many small “winnable” opportunities to build confidence up.

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Over to you

The great part about increasing employee engagement is that you’ll probably have someone that has worked at your company for years, finally come out of their shell and rise to be one of your superstars. I’ve seen it happen time and time again, and I know you may not believe me at the moment, but just hear me out and give this employee engagement thing a try, and you’ll see. When this occurs, magic really happens in terms of getting corporate culture initiatives going because it’s a great story that people can hear and see with their own eyes.

Like I say, “Great pay is not everything in today’s market. Strong corporate culture, matched with great pay, is the winning combination.” It’s going to take effort on your leadership team to pull everything together, but once you get headed in the right direction, you can cover a lot of ground and change a lot of lives, very quickly.

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Brandon Schaefer

Brandon Schaefer

Brandon Schaefer is a professional corporate business strategist. Brandon’s leadership and business skills have been featured by Google, as well as many other top industry resources.

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