How to engage employees: 8 strategies leaders use effectively

By Gabe Scorgie

7 min read

How to engage employees: 8 strategies leaders use effectively
Illustration by Kevin Yu

Engaged employees are the engine that powers successful businesses. When your team is passionate about their work, excited to share ideas, and committed to your org’s mission, productivity skyrockets and the quality of work goes through the roof. 

But keeping your team motivated and engaged can be a daunting task. The key to unlocking your team's potential lies in creating a positive working environment that empowers and motivates them to succeed. 

That's why we've gathered our top 8 ways to help you achieve exactly that. From providing recognition and feedback to fostering open communication and a sense of purpose, these strategies will help you create a culture that motivates employees and transforms your organization.

Why engaging employees matters



Employee engagement produces quantifiable results, and those results speak for themselves in terms of talent recruiting, retention, employee happiness, and business success. 

Engaging your employees matters a lot. It’s critical for talent retention and contributes to employee satisfaction. Happy employees are less likely to leave their jobs, which helps companies establish consistency. If your company is an excellent place to work, the word tends to get out, strengthening the employer brand and helping you attract top talent in your industry. 

Employees engaged in their work are more productive, motivated to do well, and typically produce a higher caliber of work. According to Gallup data, companies with highly engaged employees are up to 38% more productive and 21% more profitable than their disengaged competitors—both good arguments in favor of prioritizing employee engagement initiatives. 

The bottom line is that any effort toward improving engagement is an investment in a company’s success. Engaged employees have a sense of purpose and know that what they do each day means something—not just for themselves but also for their coworkers and the organization as a whole. 

8 effective ways to engage employees

7_Things_employees_need_to_feel_engaged_(1)1. Promote transparency across all levels

Open and authentic communication with employees is not just a nice thing to do—it builds trust and helps foster organizational commitment and engagement. Business leaders can start by creating a working ground of openness and mutual respect while recognizing the value of constructive dialogue between all members. 

This can be achieved through simple steps such as practicing active listening, encouraging employee suggestions in decision-making processes, openly addressing issues, being transparent about expectations, and being open to feedback from all organizational stakeholders. 

Transparency in an organization requires continuous effort but is undoubtedly worth it; once employees know their opinions are valued and considered, they will be motivated to pursue organizational goals actively.

2. Recognize good work

What’s the best way to show your appreciation for great work? Give well-deserved recognition! Properly recognizing good work helps motivate and engage employees, leading to greater organizational success. To get started, here are some tips for recognizing good work in an organization

  • Encourage positive feedback amongst colleagues and peers. 
  • Reward employees promptly with public recognition—like announcements or shout-outs! 
  • Recognize exceptional accomplishments publicly by featuring exemplary employees regularly on social media or corporate publications. 
  • Celebrate successes with team rewards – such as innovative activities or contests – that would boost morale and strengthen bonds between teammates. 

Recognizing good work helps build relationships and makes them more productive and satisfied. So take this chance to make a lasting difference: recognize good work in your organization today!

3. Make it easy to get work done

Employers are vested in employee engagement, which is linked to higher job satisfaction, better workplace morale, and improved productivity. Making the day-to-day work life easier is one way to engage employees. 

To begin with, employers can remove unnecessary roadblocks from employees’ duties by introducing helpful tools like project tracking and task management software which streamlines workflows and encourages collaboration

Additionally, employers should strive to create an environment that rewards innovation rather than penalizes mistakes while at the same time providing more flexibility in terms of working hours. By recognizing achievement and offering incentives for success, employers can incentivize employees to tackle tasks efficiently, inspiring great enthusiasm in their workforce along the way.

Bring people together

4. Encourage team-building activities

Team-building activities are the perfect way to engage employees and foster collaboration. They help to break down barriers, promote trust, and facilitate communication to create a successful work environment. To ensure these activities have the desired effect, there are a few tips that employers should consider. 

Create activities that challenge participants to learn new skills, like having teams build a product or raise funds for charity initiatives. Secondly, encourage team members to inject their own ideas into the sessions - make it open-ended so everyone feels included and part of the process. 

Ensure you tie your team-building objectives back to business goals. Show how improving teamwork will benefit departments and enhance productivity. By implementing these strategies, you’ll find that team-building activities can become a powerful tool for motivating and building a successful company culture.

5. Offer health, wellness, and fitness benefits

Offering health, wellness, and fitness benefits is a great way to engage employees and foster an environment of productivity and job satisfaction. Some tips for implementing these benefits include providing access to fitness centers and gym memberships, offering discounts at local health food stores, facilitating team-building activities like kickball or dodgeball tournaments, and having supportive company policies prioritizing employee mental health. 

For example, companies can offer generous vacation days or flexible hours that allow employees the freedom to really take care of themselves. Additionally, hosting monthly workshops on nutrition, stress management techniques and mindfulness practices can help create an overall workplace wellness culture. 

By taking an innovative approach to offering health, wellness, and fitness benefits, employers will see a reduction in staff absenteeism while also creating a positive work atmosphere that promotes collaboration amongst team members.

6. Promote professional development opportunities

Promoting professional development opportunities is a great way to engage employees and help them excel on an organizational level. Offering training, skills development, and career coaching are all excellent strategies for employee engagement. For example, strategically introducing paid additional time off for an employee to attend an industry conference or obtain certification in their field instantly helps elevate the capability of your staff. 

Additionally, invest in mentoring programs to further align individual goals with organizational objectives and give employees access to meaningful networking opportunities that they can leverage outside of their workplace. Most importantly, make sure you are creating an inclusive environment that nurtures personal growth where every person feels valued and is offered the opportunity to develop their professional skills.

7. Create a collaborative environment

Creating a collaborative environment is essential for engaging and motivating employees. Fostering collaboration through a workplace culture that rewards teamwork, shared problem-solving, and camaraderie can be achieved via several practical tips. 

  • Employers should focus on creating meaningful connections among colleagues by providing opportunities to socialize informally in the workplace. 
  • Offering team-building exercises such as group lunches or coffee breaks can help create an atmosphere of cooperation and mutual trust. 
  • Employers must be willing to listen to employee feedback, ideas, and suggestions to enable personnel to have a safe space to speak up without fear of judgment or repercussions. 

By leveraging these tips to build a productive work culture, employers can win the loyalty of their staff while at the same time increasing productivity and innovation in the workplace.

8. Make sure your workplace is inclusive

Creating a comfortable, safe, and inclusive workplace is invaluable for engaging employees. Studies have shown that companies focusing on a diverse and culturally-conscious atmosphere have achieved greater success than those without. From offering flexible working arrangements to providing childcare services, there are many practical tips employers can take to ensure they create an environment of inclusivity and respect.

Valuable examples may include providing accessibility accommodations based on physical needs and language translations both in the workplace and online to ensure clear communication across different cultures. 

Innovative methods could include inviting cultural experts to discuss customs with employees or organizing employee-led affinity groups to foster more understanding of different backgrounds among all staff members. Focusing on inclusion initiatives remains paramount for creating an engaged workplace where employees feel valued, respected, and safe.

Going beyond engagement

Now that we recognize how vital employee engagement is to a company’s success, we must also remember that engagement is just the first step. 

Establishing a culture that encourages employee engagement requires commitment and strong leadership to see it through. Employees must be encouraged to do their best and celebrated for their accomplishments. 

Periodic reviews, pulse surveys, and soliciting feedback will inform you as to what’s working and where improvement is needed. 

If your employees fail to engage or engagement is low, lack of recognition might be the problem. Grand gestures aren’t always necessary. Sometimes, words of gratitude, recognition from peers or a manager, or a mention on the company feed do the trick. It’s simple, but it means a lot to the employee, and they’ll reward you with greater engagement, productivity, and motivation. 

Of course, a raise, bonus, or promotion never hurts when appropriate.


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Gabe Scorgie

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