18 Employee Engagement Best Practices

By: | Updated: September 27, 2022

Here is our list of employee engagement best practices.

Employee engagement best practices are policies that companies put in place to spur enthusiasm towards work among their staff. For example, leading from the front lines or cultivating diversity. Generally speaking, these guidelines are designed to get employees more invested in their work and involved in achieving company goals.

These best practices are informed by employee engagement statistics, and are similar to virtual employee engagement ideas, employee engagement strategies, employee engagement frameworks and employee engagement campaigns. These efforts help reduce employee turnover and employee attrition, and boost employee satisfaction.

Specifically, this list includes:

  • best practices for employee engagement
  • employee engagement tips
  • leadership best practices that improve employee engagement

Let’s get into it!

List of employee engagement best practices

Nurturing dedicated employees is a major part of being a good leader. To help you, here are tips for developing some of the most effective employee engagement best practices.

1. Articulate employee and company objectives

Communicating the company’s goals and expectations is important. Knowing company objectives lets everyone understand the company’s focus and direction, while explicit expectations give employees a definite target to hit. These two pieces of information help your colleagues understand how to achieve success within the company and how to help the company progress, too.

You can reach your goals with project management software.

2. Inspire your team with meaningful work

One way to get your colleagues excited about coming to work is to assign and explain how tasks clearly fit into the company’s big picture goals. If assignments fulfill this requirement, your team will feel that their work actually makes a difference and has a purpose, which keeps engagement up.

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3. Develop human connections with your employees

It is pretty common for upper management to feel utterly disconnected from lower level employees at companies. When this situation occurs, it is easy for your team to become unengaged if management does not appear to understand or appreciate their employees’ work.

The best way to offset this issue is to develop human connections with team members. Not only will your team appreciate leaders who trust them enough to be vulnerable around them, but employees are more sympathetic towards bosses who seem like regular people.

An easy way to start developing these questions is with icebreaker questions and playing icebreaker games or improv games.

4. Cultivate diversity of thought

When building your team, be conscientious of who you bring onboard and what skills and expertise they bring to the table. While some workplaces gravitate towards hiring certain personalities, this practice risks creating a homogeneous team, which restricts the organization’s potential for innovation.

When everyone has similar backgrounds, the lack of varied experiences may limit the solutions the group proposes. This drawback is a major reason why teams should hire candidates from traditionally underrepresented groups. Maximizing the team’s diversity cultivates a multiplicity of thought, which leads to improved overall effectiveness.

One way to cultivate this thought is watching team building movies or reading team building books.

5. Build on employee strengths

Employees become disengaged when they feel like they are not being properly challenged. To prevent your colleagues from feeling underutilized, assign suitable tasks. Effectively harnessing the team’s strengths requires management to identify employees’ strengths so teams can build competency with tasks that are natural extensions of those skills.

To discover where your team’s strengths lie, they can do free personality tests.

6. Adapt to the times

One of the easiest ways for employees to lose trust in management is if those at the top are unable to be flexible. Whether the organization has trouble adopting new technology or adjusting to working from home due to emergency situations, management must adapt to the times to appear like they know what they are doing to maintain engagement.

You may also want to use employee engagement software.

7. Create an open and honest feedback loop

To figure out what changes will help your colleagues work at their best, open up communication with your team. By periodically conducting surveys, you can glean valuable information on how your coworkers feel about their work and what aspects of their work life to improve.

To help your employees feel free to express themselves without fear of retribution, make the surveys anonymous. Once you have gathered answers, set up a system where you can respond to the feedback without revealing the source’s identity. When employees feel that management is listening and responding to them, it raises engagement.

You can get feedback via one on ones, employee resource groups, or by asking poll questions.

8. Make engagement an ongoing process

With everything from monitoring company performance to revising budgets to attend to, managers may have trouble keeping employee engagement top of mind. However, engagement initiatives must be an ongoing process to be effective.

To keep these initiatives ongoing, surveys and one-on-ones cannot be conducted only once. Instead, check in on your employees every week so the action becomes habitual. Sustaining these engagement policies is important because it shows your continued commitment to keeping your employees happy.

This engagement can help boost morale.

9. Check in after the two-year mark

According to Quantum Workplace, employee engagement is usually highest initially, but takes a significant downturn after the first one or two years of working at the company. This data indicates that how your colleagues feel after the first two years plays a significant factor in employee retention, since dissatisfied workers are more likely to leave.

The best way to show that you care about your coworkers’ work experience is to check in with them after the two year mark. Schedule a special one-on-one and ask your employee:

  • How has their experience been with the company so far?
  • What is their favorite experience and worst experience with the company?
  • What can the company do to help them do their job better?
  • What new skills would they like to gain?
  • Where do they see their career going in the next five years, and how can the company get them there?

Making these inquiries lets you gauge how your team member is feeling, and helps you institute changes that may convince your employee to stay on longer.

You can also celebrate employee work anniversaries.

10. Train managers to manage people

With time, knowledge, and experience, leadership often promotes exceptional employees to managers. However, what is often lost in the mix is that becoming a manager involves actually managing people. Thus, to become capable managers, new managers must learn how to delegate tasks, resolve conflicts, and properly treat their employees, in addition to wielding the technical expertise they have.

Learn more about how to manage remote teams.

11. Encourage professional development

Employees also often become unattached to their work if a clear forward career trajectory is not obvious. Because of this issue, it is important to provide opportunities for your team to level up their skills and proceed up the corporate ladder.

Here are some policies that encourage professional development:

  • Supply an educational stipend to help employees buy books
  • Send employees to industry conferences
  • Set up a mentorship program within the organization
  • Create a next step up position, if that role does not already exist
  • Plan knowledge sharing book clubs or talks
  • Bring in speakers or teachers that can provide new insight or teach new skills

By showing your team members the way ahead, you encourage them to challenge themselves to take on more responsibilities or learn new skills. This supportive environment not only makes your crew stronger, but also helps keep your employees engaged at work.

You can also focus on developing team building skills.

12. Give your employees freedom to experiment

One way to boost employee engagement is to stop micromanaging and give team members freedom to experiment. If you have made the effort of cultivating a diversity of thought within your team, then choking your colleagues’ creativity by overly controlling their moves would be a huge waste. Instead, let coworkers innovate and they will care more and more about work, and your company will only benefit.

If you would like to keep track of these experiments, you can use time tracking software.

13. Plan team building activities

You can also maintain high engagement by planning regular team building activities. Organizing one or two events a month breaks up the monotony of work and strengthens coworker friendships, raising engagement levels. When a company invests in team building, it shows care for the staff. This quality convinces team members to stay on longer, and attracts new talent.

If your team works remotely, then consider looking into remote team building activities. You will be surprised at the variety of events you can hold solely via an internet connection.

We also recommend doing team building with your executive team and following team building best practices.

14. Instate a health and wellness program

Another way for the company to display care towards the team and increase engagement is to instate a health and wellness program. When employees can take care of their bodies, they feel happier, and that sense of well-being translates to the workplace.

Some ideas for a health and wellness program can include:

  • A gym or fitness class stipend
  • Hiring a fitness instructor to hold classes at the company
  • Healthy food options for team lunches or dinners
  • Sponsoring annual health check-ups
  • Bringing in a massage therapist every week to help employees relieve stress

By incorporating a health and wellness program at work, both the company and its members benefit. When employees are healthy, your team gains the bandwidth to become fully engaged at work, making members more productive in the process.

Learn more about employee benefits and perks and the best employee benefits platforms.

15. Reward successes

Showing gratitude towards your employees is another aspect of maintaining engagement. When you reward team successes, you acknowledge your coworkers’ efforts and show that their work matters.

You can reward employee success by:

  • Publicly thanking or praising the employee’s accomplishments
  • Giving end of year bonuses
  • Physical or virtual gifts
  • Promotions or more responsibilities

Since people like getting recognized and awarded, proactively rewarding your team fuels employee engagement by providing incentives for achieving positive results.

Here are ideas for employee gifts and a list of employee appreciation quotes.

16. Create a culture of empathy

Of course, your employees will not always succeed. If your colleagues fail, then create a culture of empathy by providing an environment where team members can learn from their mistakes, instead of receiving punishment for them.

A culture of empathy lets employees experiment without worrying about dire consequences if experiments do not work out. By constructing a supportive environment for employees to try and fail, coworkers will learn to trust the organization, which raises engagement.

Here are more ideas on how to improve company culture.

17. Conduct exit interviews

Inevitably, even your most prized team members may leave the organization. To help improve employee retention, conduct exit interviews to understand why people are quitting. While these interviews may not change the departing employee’s mind, the insight you gain may help prevent coworkers from withdrawing in the future. By correcting your organization’s weaknesses, you will most likely end up enhancing engagement at the workplace.

You may want to plan an office retirement party too.

18. Lead by example

Finally, one of the biggest factors for promoting employee engagement is to walk the walk. As part of your company’s management, if your team can tell that your heart is not in it, then that attitude will permeate the workplace, trickling down to your employees. People like passion, and if you are passionate about the company and your work, then you will inspire passion in your team members in turn, which stokes engagement.


Employee engagement is necessary for a productive, happy workplace. When your company prioritizes engagement strategies and keeping team members committed and engrossed with their work, your company will thrive.

Next, check out this list of employee engagement books, these books on employee experience design, these work social committee ideas, and one with ideas for employee of the month.

We also have a guide to employee engagement theory, a list of the best activities for employee engagement at work and a list of employee engagement benefits.

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FAQ: Employee Engagement Best Practices

Want to learn how to get your employees fully engaged in their work? Here are some commonly asked questions about the best practices in employee engagement.

What is employee engagement?

Employee engagement measures how happy and passionate your team is towards work. When employees feel committed and excited about their jobs, their engagement is high, which results in better performance and productivity.

How to improve employee engagement?

Improve employee engagement by:

  • Inspiring your team with meaningful work
  • Articulating employee and company objectives
  • Developing human connections with your employees
  • Cultivating diversity of thought
  • Adapting to the times
  • Building on employee strengths
  • Creating an open and honest feedback loop
  • Making engagement an ongoing process
  • Checking in after the two-year mark
  • Training managers to manage people
  • Encouraging professional development
  • Giving your employees freedom to experiment
  • Planning team building activities
  • Instating a health and wellness program
  • Rewarding successes
  • Creating a culture of empathy
  • Conducting exit interviews
  • Walking the walk

These policies will help your team members feel like they belong at the company, and improve your employees’ work experience. Feeling supported in this way lets your colleagues blossom into better employees, who are fully engaged at the workplace.

What are some best practice engagement strategies?

Some best practice engagement strategies are:

  • Inspiring your team with meaningful work
  • Articulating employee and company objectives
  • Developing human connections with your employees
  • Cultivating diversity of thought
  • Adapting to the times
  • Building on employee strengths
  • Creating an open and honest feedback loop
  • Making engagement an ongoing process
  • Checking in after the two-year mark
  • Training managers to manage people
  • Encouraging professional development
  • Giving your employees freedom to experiment
  • Planning team building activities
  • Instating a health and wellness program
  • Rewarding successes
  • Creating a culture of empathy
  • Conducting exit interviews
  • Walking the walk

These strategies help companies keep employees motivated and engaged at work. By adopting these engagement best practices, your company is one step closer to progress based on employee needs and wants.

What are some successful employee engagement programs?

Some successful employee engagement programs are:

  • Mentorship programs
  • Health and wellness programs
  • Feedback and survey programs
  • Team building activities
  • Professional development programs
  • Reward programs

These programs serve a variety of purposes, but they all help incentivize your employees to do their best at work. By establishing some of these programs at work, your team will be more motivated to perform above and beyond.

Author avatar


Content Expert at teambuilding.com.
Jessica has a double major in English and Asian Studies, and experience working with teams across cultures; including 3+ years in Taiwan.


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