25 Employee Engagement Ideas

25 Employee Engagement Ideas


Employee engagement is not an exact science. So far, the whole concept has been built on HR experience, positive psychology and business models that engage a company’s talent towards a productive culture of success.

At the core of employee engagement, similar to any company’s foundation, are some values. These values determine the why, how and what of that company.

In today’s economy, you’re building your company brand both through external as well as internal efforts. Playing two battlefields at the same time can prove to be tricky, that’s why some companies decide to focus their resources only on the external branding front. Meanwhile, they neglect their internal environment, failing to provide an engaging, challenging and appealing workplace.

Enters talent management. A grey area where an HR manager meets a Talent Manager/Chief Happiness Officer. Confusing? Yes. And if it’s confusing for the person actually holding that position, imagine what it does to the employees he or she is supposed to be engaging.

So, we came up with 25 ideas that can save a manager in need of some inspiration. If you’re pressed for time or simply want to save all these ideas, download the free eBook with 25 employee engagement ideas for your team.

1. Assign company values

Assign one of your company’s values to a certain employee, every month, based on a peer-voting process. The person who best represented that value can be set as an example and be publicly acknowledged for his actions.

2. Have teams create their own set of values

Designing your own game rules makes playing a lot more fun. Team synergy is not an easy objective to attain, and it’s definitely not a rapid one. But it is essential to the end-game objective and to the overall performance of the project. Having teams create a team culture, based on 2-3 commonly agreed values or ground rules can help nurture and speed up that process.

3. Encourage personal projects

Give employees a 1-2 h/ day window to pursue their own projects. Having people from different departments connecting and bouncing ideas can help get a new perspective. Projects and initiatives can get new directions, encouraging a creativity and energy flow that would only benefit the rest of the working hours. Ever heard of the Blue Sky program?

4. Assign a buddy/mentor for every newcomer

An important part of the onboarding process is having someone answer some really important questions. Questions that someone would be hesitant to simply ask a manager. Building a trustworthy relationship with someone with more experience in that company can help guide the newcomer. This way he or she can better adapt and grow part of the team.

5. Have themed office days

For the more open-minded companies, this initiative can bring a lot of fun and increase employee loyalty. Bring your

[insert object/person here] to work or Chocolate [insert day here] can boost up employee morale and kill monotony at work.

6. Have team photos

Have photos of your team on a wall, or frame them around the office. Group photos, funny photos, events photos or random photos snapped when people weren’t watching. It’s a cultural element that can encourage and foster work relationships and employee engagement.

7. Play the Happiness At Work card game

By applying knowledge of the brain and how we work together, Choose Happiness @ Work engages adult learners in a unique and powerful way. It is a powerful tool that engages learning, application, humor and team-building in a fun, facilitative experience and it teaches science-based tools in a way that allows people to safely raise and discuss issues, build trust, and boost engagement.

Each of the over 50 scenarios in the game identifies and provides context for a common workplace situation, followed by a succinct scientific justification for why it is a problem at work. Try it!

8. Encourage charity

I got an email the other day, after downloading a resource online that simply made my day. The awesome people at Network For Good came up with a Corporate Charity Gift Card. You can personalize your own company gift card and reward employees by allowing them to make a charitable donation to an organization of their choice. Take Aveda’s example. The company came up with a cause that was aligned with their company’s mission, empowered employees to team up and raise money for that cause, in a friendly but competitive manner. And it worked.

9. Encourage volunteering

If you find yourself doubting the classical money-to-charity approach, you should try the new volunteer-for-a-cause angle. Give your employees a couple of days a month to volunteer for a cause they support. Here’s a great reference article.

10. Raise salaries

I’m sure at least half of the people reading this article will have an eyebrow up at this point. Bear with me. In 2008, attrition among AT&T Mobility’s retail sales consultants cost millions annually and impacted the service experience. The company reduced costs, increased revenues and improved the customer experience by developing employees to be more inspired and engaged.

11. Remind people your company’s mission and values

It’s important that you emphasize, once in a while, what your company stands for. People need to be reminded of why they are doing what they’re doing.

12. Recognize and encourage innovation

You might have heard some pretty inspiring ideas around the office. What about that project that came together so well and had some amazing improvements that no one initially thought of? Find out who came up with that idea. Give them a friendly “Good job!” or recognize them publicly for going the extra mile.

13. Celebrate achievements

Big or small, they are the solid proof that the work people are putting in has meaning. No one can go through tasks and assignments for months, or even years without burning out. Refill their energy tanks with some recognition and celebrate their hard work. This is also a great way to glue together teams.

14. Celebrate people

Birthdays, promotions, retirements, newcomers welcoming, there are plenty of important moments where people can be put at the front of the company. They make the company and it’s a great and relaxing way of showing them that they matter.

15. Give and receive feedback

Yes, everyone knows that and everyone talks about it. But it’s really hard to implement. You’re dealing with peoples’ work, their position, their emotions and key success factors. It’s a dangerous mix that the wrong feedback can cause to explode. Keep it simple. Offer a framework or a system that employees can use with confidence and honesty. Let them know you value their opinion and, most importantly, act on that feedback. More thoughts on feedback.

16. Try some unusual employee engagement ideas

It’s the small things that can sometime make a difference. Like having colored mugs at work or an awesome air freshener.

And since we’re on the Out-of-the-box topic, you could try an Art Team Building. The guys at Team Building Singapore came up with this concept that encourages creativity and gives employees a different way to connect. Get creative!

17. Show respect

This should be the cornerstone for every office interaction. Especially when it comes to people in different hierarchies. Read more about Respect In The Workplace.

18. Empower your employees

Nothing creates a greater sense of responsibility and ownership like having the decision power. Don’t be afraid to let people be their own leader. It’s surely a great way to build trust, as opposed to micro-management.

19.   Encourage learning

Challenge and support employees in learning and developing their skills. Not only will you have a motivated and well-prepared workforce but you’ll see an increase in employee happiness and employee engagement.

20.   Get social

Go out, have fun, have teambuildings and weekend competitions! It can be really overwhelming to work, work, work 8-12h a day and crave a weekend that passes in a blink of an eye. Join sports competitions and encourage team playing activities.

21.   Make sure that people have all the resources they need

This doesn’t sound like other typical employee engagement ideas but it has an important purpose. You need to make sure that you have the basics covered before you move on to other, more abstract, ideas. Equip your employees with the tools and systems that will make their job easier. This way, you’ll get them to invest their energy into doing great work, instead of wasting precious time.

22.   Ask the people who really know employee engagement

Being as this is a fairly new business component, you should trust the experts. Consult the right people to help you build a solid employee engagement strategy.

23.   Get answers from your employees as well

This is related to feedback but it’s more of an indirect feedback. Monitor and analyze your employees, your teams and the overall workspace. You’ll get some essential pointers into what works and what you can improve.

24.   Build long-term engagement

Don’t settle for a quick fix. Develop a long-term employee engagement strategy with clear objectives and action steps for more than a year, then re-evaluate and build on it.

25.   Try and try again

We’ve based this advice on our experience and the experience of others that we’ve worked it. However, what works for one company might not work for another. It’s important that you try and adapt, until you find the perfect angle for your employee engagement strategy.



The basic HR processes, recruitment&selection, onboarding&training, performance management, performance appraisal, rewards and recognition and actual employee management leave little or no time for employee happiness or employee engagement.

We recommend that you have someone specifically responsible with employee engagement, to track and measure changes and improvements made.

Start with these 25 employee engagement ideas and build on that. Tell us how it goes!


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About the Author:

Paula is a content strategist with a big passion for life and the pursuit of happiness. When she's not creating an eBook or tweeting the latest trends, she's probably petting a cat or watching a movie.


  1. Avatar
    Ascanio July 15, 2014 at 6:27 pm - Reply

    Great article. I recently wrote one on Employee Engagement myself- here is an excerpt.
    The data clearly shows that a significant portion of an organization’s staff believe their CEOs have negative mindsets and don’t communicate often enough with them. With all the stress it’s hard to always maintain a positive and enthusiastic attitude, however doing so will help lower your stress, increase your energy and make you feel a lot better. It will also set the tone for your entire company and make building up your personnel and inspiring them to become leaders a whole lot easier. To help you and your c-suite team more thoroughly engage your workforce I have listed some of executive leadership coaching
    tips that I find most effective:
    Look for what’s working well – not what’s broken or needs fixing.
    Personally recognize and publicize their achievements whenever possible.
    Create a culture of service and compassion.
    When evaluating employee performance use the “sandwich” method:
    Start by praising their contribution to date.
    Then explain areas and ways their performance can be improved.
    Conclude with some positive reinforcement that leaves them feeling respected, supported and valued.

  2. Avatar
    Surekha sawant July 24, 2014 at 10:07 am - Reply

    employee engagement activity is the best thing which is done by hr and its a give refreshment therapy for employee on working time

  3. Avatar
    Ultimate Hampers February 25, 2015 at 3:37 pm - Reply

    Some absolutely fabulous points raised here! Gone are the days of ‘I’m the CEO and you do as I tell you’ to know a more dynamic team environment.

    • Paula Clapon
      Paula Clapon February 26, 2015 at 4:03 pm - Reply

      Thanks! Really glad you liked our ideas!

    • Avatar
      Paula Alexandra Clapon June 2, 2015 at 3:07 pm - Reply

      Really happy you enjoyed the article!

      • Avatar
        Snigdha April 21, 2016 at 6:34 am - Reply

        Hi Paula!

        This article has really given me a clear overview of my job 🙂
        I am an ‘Employee Happiness Officer’ at a corporate, the last point Try and try again makes sense now.

        • Avatar
          Paula Clapon April 21, 2016 at 7:09 am - Reply

          Hi Snigdha! Really happy you found it useful! What advice would you give to people who want to apply for such a position or who are just getting started as Happiness Officers?

  4. Avatar
    Brickell Princess June 2, 2015 at 2:58 pm - Reply

    All of these tips worked wonders in the 1990’s when Generation ñ was coming into the workforce. But since then, these tips have been used, abused, and manipulated by incompetent managers and led to the creation of toxic working environments. For example, telling off an employee and throwing in the word “feedback” does not excuse your lack of respect for the individual! I have come to realize that Americans are so socially handicap that it is impossible for American managers or “leaders” as they like to label themselves, to motivate, engage, and inspire individuals. Americans are so socially handicap that you cannot recognize the humanity within the worker. And that’s you #1 flaw as a manager!

    • Avatar
      Paula Alexandra Clapon June 2, 2015 at 3:13 pm - Reply

      I think we’ve all dealt with managers who don’t abide by common human interaction rules, let alone advanced leadership methods and it’s the objective, unfortunate reality of many workplaces. When we first started putting together these tips we had two individuals in mind: first, the open-minded, educated manager with a sincere desire to do their best for their team and secondly, the experienced manager who used to know all these things and maybe even came up with some of them but who needed a reminder after years of experience. Unfortunately, for managers who refuse to live up to the responsibility of actually developing a team and investing in the people they work with, you’re right, these tips will be useless. Hopefully more and more teams will be driven enough to change or replace this sort of managers.

  5. Avatar
    Jennifer Orr June 9, 2015 at 8:29 pm - Reply

    These are all great! A few really stood out to me that I really liked. One of them being number four, assign a buddy/mentor for every new comer. Nobody likes being the new person anywhere, especially a job. Being the new person you are unsure of how things work in the office or where to go on your lunch break. Having someone there to show all of these things and someone to always ask questions to is very good tool to use. Another one that stood out to me was number fourteen, give and receive feedback. This is great because if you don’t tell the person what he or she is doing wrong, they will continue to do it. But giving feedback is a great way to talk to them about how to do things the correct way and receiving feedback from the employer is good because it allows them to voice their concerns with how things are doing within the company and can give you some excellent ideas. Here are a few games that can be played within the office to improve employee engagement http://vingapp.com/employee-engagement-ideas-win/

    • Avatar
      Paula Alexandra Clapon June 10, 2015 at 10:26 am - Reply

      Thanks for the games suggestion Jennifer! I really appreciate the feedback!

  6. Avatar
    Rina December 16, 2015 at 6:03 am - Reply

    Great Ideas,…Thanks for sharing…

    • Avatar
      Paula Clapon December 17, 2015 at 8:36 am - Reply

      Hi Rina! Glad you liked our ideas! Hope they prove useful to you and your team. We’re currently working on a new eBook for employee recognition, set to launch early next year. If you’d like to keep in touch with us you can join our monthly newsletter database (available in the website footer) or circle back from time to time, we know we’d love to have you! Happy Holidays!

  7. Avatar
    Nirav December 31, 2015 at 12:05 pm - Reply

    Innovative Ideas, keep up the good work Paula towards releasing stress and stretching smiles on faces of employees 🙂


  8. Avatar
    João Duarte October 20, 2016 at 3:03 pm - Reply

    Amazing article! Great to see all these ideas to boost employee recognition. I just would like to reinforce number 13! Celebrating daily victories is extremely important, specially if your company is growing. Besides, from my personal experience I may guarantee that side projects impact greatly not only any employee motivation but also they contribute for the employees hard skills and knowledge transference to the company day-to-day.

    • Avatar
      Paula Clapon October 21, 2016 at 1:31 pm - Reply

      Thanks for sharing João! Glad you liked the article!

  9. Avatar
    Aleksandra Rybacka January 11, 2017 at 7:54 am - Reply

    Thank you so much, Paula, for this wonderful article.These ideas are very comprehensive, ready to use them in practice!
    Happy that I found it, mainly because we’ve recently published a case study on the similar subject, based on our experience: https://www.timecamp.com/blog/index.php/2017/01/boosting-employees-engagement/. Hope you’ll like it!
    Aleksandra from TimeCamp

  10. Avatar
    Reality HR January 27, 2017 at 11:51 am - Reply

    This is a really interesting blog post, thank you for sharing these tips. We have recent posted two blog posts on employee engagement also as it is something spoken about a lot and something that should be taken seriously: http://www.realityhr.co.uk/blog/employee-engagement-tips-part-1/ and http://www.realityhr.co.uk/blog/employee-engagement-tips-part-2/ Happy and productive people equals growth!

  11. Avatar
    Swati February 16, 2017 at 10:53 am - Reply

    Paula an insightful article on EE. Enjoyed reading it and hoping to implement as much as we can. Great work.

  12. Avatar
    snehal April 3, 2017 at 10:43 am - Reply

    Thank you for sharing these tips

  13. Avatar
    Employee Feedback app December 26, 2017 at 2:03 pm - Reply

    Hey Paula! Thanks for giving great ideas for employee engagement. In any business, employee is the important part and everyone should want to engage their employees and I am also looking for the same, your ideas are quite impressive and specially point no. 24.

  14. Avatar
    Cherry McCarthy February 27, 2018 at 10:45 pm - Reply

    These are a ton of great ideas to get businesses thinking about employee engagement! Kind of shocking to know that some sit back and do nothing. They are still on the “CEO do as I say every day” wagon, but employees are looking for more. Feedback is essential, kind words, fun events, and team building. A happy employee is a productive employee…so keep them happy! Even if it takes a little time away from the office, it will be time well spent on building productivity.

  15. Avatar
    Jodi Shapiro April 30, 2018 at 1:44 pm - Reply

    These are all really great ideas! Specifically employee recognition is something I feel is often overlooked by an organization. So many companies feel that there’s no reason to recognize employees because they’re “doing their job” but keeping morale up and providing motivation is so important in a workplace! So many simple things can be done to provide that recognition but going above and beyond with things like small gifts or alternative gestures can go a really long way to keeping those employees satisfied and wanting to stay with the company for longer.

    – Jodi Shapiro

  16. Avatar
    Corporate Courses May 2, 2018 at 11:40 am - Reply

    In today’s economy, you’re building your company brand both through external as well as internal efforts.This is great!

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