Employee Engagement

7 employee engagement ideas for a more productive workplace

By JD Farrugia

Mar. 9, 2023


  • Only 21% of the global workforce is engaged at work, costing the global economy $7.8 trillion.

  • Engaged workers are motivated and productive, have better mental health, and are more aligned with their organization’s core values. 

  • There are a number of actionable employee engagement activities that HR professionals can do to help improve engagement within their organization. 

Arguably, one of the most challenging endeavors of any human resources professional is improving employee engagement. Engaged employees are those who are enthusiastic and dedicated to their job and the organization they work for. 

An engaged employee is motivated, productive, and aligned with the company’s values, mission, and goals. They work well with their fellow team members and mentors, have high levels of job satisfaction, and are less likely to leave the company in search of a new job. 

In 2009, only 12% of employees surveyed were considered to be engaged at work, according to research by Gallup. Over the next decade, that percentage grew to 22%, dipped slightly during the height of the pandemic, and is now at 21%

The high level of disengaged employees is even more worrying, considering that disengagement at work also costs the global economy $7.8 trillion, accounting for 11% of the GDP. 

If you’re looking for ways to boost your employee engagement strategy and obtain a more engaged workforce, here are seven practical ideas that you should definitely consider. 

1. Design a stickier onboarding process

Set the tone of the employee experience from day one. The first touchpoints and experiences new employees have at your company and how you operate will influence how engaged they’ll be going forward. 

A good onboarding process will:

  • Make new recruits feel welcome.
  • Obtain information and grant access to resources in the most straightforward way possible.
  • Communicate the organization’s vision, mission, and values clearly and explain how the new employee fits into them. 
  • Outlines expectations and company rules. 
  • Introduces new hires to their team members and kickstarts team building. 

With hybrid and remote work becoming increasingly popular, employee onboarding has also had to adapt. Onboarding activities for remote employees have to take place over platforms like Slack. 

Workforce management tools offer paperless employee onboarding solutions that simplify and optimize the process for both employer and employee.   

2. Conduct frequent employee surveys

Surveys are a great way to collect employee feedback and insights from your employees in an empirical manner. They give you firsthand information on how your workforce is experiencing their work environment, from the tasks they do to the overall company culture.    

You can utilize these insights to improve engagement, employee retention, and productivity and to reduce burnout. There are three main types of surveys that are commonly used by HR professionals:

  • Employee engagement surveys. These gather metrics on an employee’s commitment, motivation, and passion for their work and the company they work for. Such metrics include Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) and retention rate. 
  • Employee opinion and satisfaction surveys. These gather information on your team’s attitudes and perceptions of the organization. They could be done using both quantitative and qualitative methods. 
  • Employee culture survey. These give you insights into an employee’s point of view and how that compares to the day-to-day realities of your organization. 

There are many types of questions you can ask and metrics you can gather, so it is important to first decide what information matters the most to you. If you’re looking to understand employee engagement, focus on asking questions that will gather information on things like team dynamics, your company culture, and professional development.

3. Gather shift feedback

A lot can happen in one shift. Making a habit of gathering information after each workday is a great way to quickly identify and fix issues and reinforce things that worked. 

Shift feedback is a two-way process where managers give feedback on employee performance, and employees give feedback on management and on their experience with that particular shift.

Shift feedback tools that are embedded in your company’s tech stack facilitate the feedback process, particularly for remote workers. They allow for a standardized and efficient way to provide and receive feedback at all levels. 

This two-way feedback process is important for employee engagement as it shows employees that their feedback and their experience matter. Receiving feedback on a shift-by-shift basis will also help employees learn more about how they can perform better. It is also a great opportunity to show employee recognition in cases of a job well done. 

4. Use a performance-values matrix

The performance-values matrix is a great way to evaluate employee performance and how their behavior aligns with the overall company values. 

The matrix x-axis shows the company values, while the y-axis represents employee performance.

A Quadrant Graphic Showing the Performance-Values MatrixPerformance is measured as the work an employee carries out for the company. Values are then measured as an aggregate of how well employee is aligned with organizational standards. 

To measure individual value alignment, most companies use a matrix specifically designed just for value assessment. A system like this allows you to score employees in things like honesty and accountability so you can identify where people meet company standards and where they fall short. 

You can then apply these ratings to the performance-values matrix.

Each employee is placed along the matrix, helping you understand which ones are producing good work and which are contributing to company culture. Employees who exemplify both are found in the top right-hand quadrant – this is ideally where you want all your employees to fit. 

Employees in the lower-left quadrant are low performers and have low-scoring behavioral attributes. These employees are probably not a great fit for your company. 

The other two quadrants consist of employees who are high performers but have low values match (top, left) and those who have great behavior but aren’t performing very well (bottom, right). These are the employees who you might want to invest some time in to help them move into that high-performance, high-values match position. 

5. Offer more flexibility with shifts

More workers are seeking greater flexibility at work. Research shows that flexible work arrangements lead to higher productivity and more connectedness to workplace culture and reduce employee absenteeism. It helps workers balance their work responsibilities with their personal lives. 

For frontline and shift-based employees, flexibility can be achieved through shift bids or shift swap systems. In shift bid situations, managers publish available shifts, allowing employees to bid for the ones they want. Shift swapping is when employees can request to exchange shifts with their co-workers, subject to managerial approval. 

Employee scheduling software streamlines shift flexibility in what would otherwise be a chaotic undertaking for HR professionals and managers.  

6. Maximize employee self-service

Giving employees the autonomy to carry out HR-related tasks without needing intervention from HR cuts out admin time and improves efficiency at all levels. Mobile tools for employees do things like request time off, swap shifts, clock in, review timesheets, and update their personal information all in one place.

Using employee self-service tools also takes significant pressure off of your HR team, allowing them to focus more on developing strategies to reduce turnover and increase engagement rather than having to fix errors and update information constantly. 

7. Prioritize and facilitate employee professional development

Employees who feel stagnant in their career paths are more likely to feel disengaged at work. Having milestones to reach and goals to attain, on the other hand, gives employees a sense of purpose and accomplishment, leading to higher engagement. 

There are a number of employee engagement activities related to professional development that an employer can consider. At a basic level, management should work with employees to develop career goals and milestones to be included in their regular performance evaluations

There are also a number of initiatives and perks that employers can offer their employees:

  • Training and development activities
  • Mentorship programs
  • Attendance to conferences
  • Paid course tuition

If your organization is a place where your employees feel they can grow, they are more likely to be engaged at work and stick around longer.

Check out our webinar on How to Drive Engagement for Hourly Employees

If you’d like to find out more about how to increase engagement among your workforce, check out our webinar below:

Webinar: How to Drive Engagement

Laura Timbrook, NBC-HWC, CHC, AADP certified coach and podcaster, takes us through some quick, actionable solutions to combat issues surrounding high absenteeism and high turnover rates.

Interested in more than a webinar? I wouldn’t blame you. Hop on a call with us today to find out what tools you should be using to boost your employee engagement.

Schedule, engage, and pay your staff in one system with Workforce.com.