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Building a Successful Employee Engagement Strategy for Better Productivity

Post by
Daniel Freshwater
Building a Successful Employee Engagement Strategy for Better Productivity

There's nothing more frustrating than having a team of employees who are disengaged. Employee engagement strategies can make all the difference when it comes to productivity and company culture. The benefits of an engaged workforce are clear: higher productivity, increased retention rates and improved company culture. A few striking statistics from Gallup:

  • It takes a more than 20% pay rise to lure most employees away from a manager who engages them, and next to nothing to poach disengaged staff
  • Lost productivity of not-engaged employees is equal to 18% of their salary
  • Organisations with a strategic investment in employee development are twice as likely to retain their employees

Even with all the positives to increasing employee engagement, it can be difficult to implement a strategy to successfully combat it.

In this post we will discuss how you can build an Employee Engagement Strategy for your organisation and start seeing results today!

Employee engagement strategies can take on many different forms. They are as unique as each business and should be customised to your organisation's needs and culture, here are some essential ideas that will help you put together a strategy that succeeds:

1. Define your company culture

First things first, you need to take a step back and look at your company culture. Identify what feel good factors already exist within your organisation? What do you want them to be moving forward? Now is the time to determine if the company needs a significant change in culture, or if you're just enhancing the culture it already has.

If you're unsure, a good reference point is your company values. Are the team living up to the values today? Many companies have a short list of values - the Commonwealth Bank for example uses:

  • Integrity
  • Collaboration
  • Accountability
  • Excellence
  • Service

To help further define your culture, it is useful to further detail the key attitudes and behaviours which represent each value. It can be useful to start with a simple list of common behaviours and actions. What attitudes and behaviours should the team be showing? It can be useful to start with a simple list of common behaviours and actions that represent the kind of culture you're looking to integrate.

2. Determine your shared purpose (finding 'Ikigai')

Happy people are motivated people. Employee engagement strategies are most successful when a clear company purpose is defined. While it may seem simple in theory, the best way for your colleagues to feel engaged is by aligning on what drives them individually with the companies purpose.

A company's purpose is often defined by its mission statement, which should be able to answer the following about your business:

  • What do we do?
  • How do we do it?
  • Who do we do it for?
  • What value do we add?

That's where Ikigai comes in; Ikigai is a Japanese concept that means the 'reason to get up in the morning'. It's also a philosophy that links your work to personal happiness.

Discussing a candidates Ikigai during the hiring process and seeing if it aligns with your companies purpose is a key way to avoid early cultural and productivity issues.

3. Introduce new hires to the team and set expectations for their roles

It can be easy to throw new hires into their role and have them hit the ground running, but that isn't always effective and is linked to lower employee retention rates. With a clearly defined culture and shared mission/purpose, it's important that this is linked into individual employees role descriptions and responsibilities. The quickest way to alienate and lose critical staff is to have a disconnect between their role and the direction of the organisation.

Set clear responsibilities across your team, with KPI/OKRs that make it clear their contribution is linked to the companies mission and their purpose, or Ikigai.

4. Motivate and Reward

Rewards should not be limited to only tangible metrics, like sales numbers and output, but also focussed on rewarding the people who go above and beyond to contribute to your organisations culture. Is there an individual who runs weekly trivia, organises drinks at 4pm on a Friday or always helps anyone on the team? Make sure their efforts aren't ignored.

Rewarding and recognition should be a part of daily business. To foster a culture that follows this, set up regular catch ups, such as:

  • Weekly team catch-ups for everyone to thank others in the team
  • Monthly rewards to thank people for going above and beyond; maybe a gift card, monetary bonus, or a surprise gift box.

5. Establish clear communication channels

An important part of any employee engagement strategy is to ensure that all your team members know how and when to raise an issue. Having a transparent communication channel in place will reduce internal stress levels by making sure issues are dealt with quickly, correctly and sensitively. A few things to consider implementing if they're not part of your process currently:

  • Regular one-on-one meetings
  • Regular social outings - having informal catch-ups help the team relax
  • Adding a communication and manager feedback component to performance reviews. Rather than a performance review being largely one-way feedback, this allows employees to provide feedback directly to their manager
  • Employee Exit interviews - don't shy away from these! With the right questions and environment, exit interviews can help you get on top of people and culture issues before you've got a full team exodus on your hands

Your front-line managers are key to successful communication across the organisation. As such, it's important to invest in them, which leads to the next point...

6. Offer training and personal development opportunities

Providing training opportunities can help staff to grow in their roles and also improve the quality of work they produce. Training should be offered on topics relevant to both an employee's role and interest, so people are more likely engage with it. This will not only aid productivity but provide a morale boost by allowing employees to follow their own passions outside of work too.

Gallup's CliftonStrengths assessment found that companies with a focus on developing their employees achieved:

  • 7%-23% higher employee engagement
  • 14%-29% increased profit
  • 10%-19% increased sales
  • 6%-72% lower turnover

A few key things to keep in mind:

  • Performance Development, Not Performance Management.
  • Focus on shorter, more frequent coaching sessions rather than irregular management 'reviews'
  • Internal Recruitment. In the current tight job market, doing less with more means relying on your highly developed and dependable internal staff.

7. Provide feedback in a timely manner, so employees know how they're doing

The best way to encourage and improve productivity is by providing regular feedback. This should cover both positive and negative examples, so employees know what they're doing well at as much as when something can be improved upon.

When an employee knows how effective their work is, it will incentivise them to continue producing high-quality results - which leads us nicely onto our next point...

8. Be open minded when it comes to feedback from others about your leadership skills or management style

Don't ignore negative feedback! Employee engagement is all about treating people fairly, so if someone has information that suggests you are not being fair or have a certain style of management that isn't working for your employees - it's important to listen and consider the implications.

Lead by example when giving feedback too - don’t be passive aggressive but instead be straight-forward and deal with issues head on.

Finally, Employee Engagement is not just about managing staff members to achieve results - it's also about creating a workplace culture that encourages people to speak up if they see something wrong or have an idea for how things could work better. Employee Engagement Strategies should always include structural means of involving all levels of your organisation in culture building.


Employee engagement strategies are a sure fire way of improving your business performance from the get go! If you implement these techniques into your company culture then not only will your staff feel valued but also more engaged in their roles too. Building a successful internal team takes time but with a bit of effort creating an engaging strategy from day one you'll be on the path to success.

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