The Ultimate Guide to Improving Employee Engagement: Strategies and Best Practices

Published by:
Joe Caccavale
April 28, 2023
min read

The Ultimate ATS Comparison Guide

Employee engagement is a crucial aspect of any successful business - there’s no doubt about that. When employees are engaged, they are more productive, motivated, and committed to their work, resulting in increased profitability and growth. Companies large and small therefore need to pay attention to the best practices around ensuring employee engagement, or face scalability and retention challenges - that’s where this guide comes in.

In this post, we will explore key employee engagement strategies and best practices in detail, providing practical tips and insights to help businesses create a more engaged and productive workforce. So, whether you’re a small business owner or a HR professional, you’ll learn to understand the importance of employee engagement and how to implement effective strategies to improve it. Let’s dive right in.

Understanding employee engagement: what it is and why it matters

Employee engagement is the degree to which employees feel connected and committed to their work, their coworkers, and their organisation. 

  • Engaged employees are emotionally invested in their work, have a sense of purpose, and feel valued and supported by their employer. 
  • Disengaged employees do not feel this emotional connection to their company, which can often lead to high turnover rates, decreased productivity, and a negative impact on the organisation's bottom line.

So, why does employee engagement matter? Well, on top of the key benefits (such as employee productivity, business profitability and employee retention), which we will go into later, it’s also important to note the potential impact of employee engagement in a more general capacity. 

Company reputation, for example, can be largely determined by the experience that employees have at their workplace. By neglecting to provide workers with job satisfaction, recognition or validation, companies are essentially damaging their own reputation and culture, therefore limiting their scope when it comes to finding top talent for future hires. 

Let’s get into why you should seriously consider focusing on your employee engagement strategies to secure long-term business success.

5 important benefits of employee engagement for your organisation

Employee engagement is undoubtedly a powerful driver of success for any organisation, affecting not only the employees, but the customers, and the workplace culture as a whole. Here are some of the key benefits we’ve identified:

  1. Increased productivity: Engaged employees are more productive and take more initiative to improve their performance. They are also more likely to go the extra mile to achieve their goals, resulting in better results for your company.
  1. Higher employee retention: Engaged employees are more likely to stay with their organisation for a longer period of time. This reduces the cost of recruitment and training new employees, and ensures that experienced employees remain with the organisation, contributing to its long-term success.
  1. Improved customer satisfaction: Engaged employees are more likely to provide excellent customer service, resulting in higher customer satisfaction levels. This leads to increased customer loyalty and repeat business, which is essential for the growth and profitability of any organisation.
  1. Enhanced innovation and creativity: Engaged employees are more innovative and creative, contributing new ideas and perspectives to their work. This can lead to process improvements, product development, and innovation, giving the organisation a competitive edge.
  1. Higher employee morale: Engaged employees have a greater sense of purpose and job satisfaction. They are more likely to feel valued and supported by their organisation, leading to a positive workplace culture.

Employee retention is an equally important factor - so much so that we have a whole blog post about it! Check it out here.

Where to start? Identifying the factors that affect employee engagement

The question you’ll be asking now is: how can I start making adjustments to my employee engagement strategy to start seeing these benefits? Don’t worry - we’ll break it down for you. 

The first challenge is understanding the various factors that affect how employees feel about their work, their colleagues, and their organisation:

  1. Recruitment processes: Many recruitment processes can be lengthy, confusing and boring for candidates. Start as you mean to go on by implementing an engaging, highly-relevant solution to your hiring process needs. With a powerful, unbiased applicant tracking system (ATS), you can delight candidates with relevant testing and tangible feedback - building your reputation and setting the scene for your workplace culture.
  1. Leadership: The leadership style of managers and supervisors can have a significant impact on employee engagement. Leaders who provide clear direction, support, and feedback are more likely to create a positive work environment and foster employee engagement.
  1. Communication: Effective communication is essential for building trust, creating a sense of community, and ensuring that employees understand their role in the organisation. Poor communication can lead to confusion, conflict, disengagement and eventually, high staff turnover rates!
  1. Recognition and rewards: Employees who feel valued and recognised for their contributions are more likely to be engaged. Providing rewards, such as bonuses, promotions, or public recognition, can help motivate employees and increase engagement.
  1. Opportunities for growth and development: Employees who have opportunities to learn new skills and take on new challenges are more likely to be engaged. Providing training, mentorship, and career development programs can help employees feel supported and invested in their future with the organisation.
  1. Work-life balance: Balancing work and personal life is essential for reducing stress and promoting engagement. Providing flexible work arrangements, such as remote work options or flexible scheduling, can help employees achieve a better work-life balance and reduce burnout.

Now that these factors have been taken into consideration, it’s time to look at how to start recognising employee engagement as a core company value and implement the best practices that will help maintain it. 

Strategies and best practices for improving employee engagement

To effectively improve employee engagement, a company will require a strategic approach; one that addresses the underlying factors that influence employee motivation and satisfaction. Here are some of the stand-out strategies and best practices we’ve identified:

How to improve employee engagement

Fostering a culture of engagement: tips and tools for managers

Creating a culture of engagement starts from the top, and therefore requires active participation from managers and leaders within the organisation. Here are some tips and tools for managers looking to maintain a culture of engagement across their team and the wider company:

  • Start as you mean to go on: Employee engagement can begin before an individual is even an employee. Using an applicant tracking software (ATS) purpose-built for unbiased recruitment, featuring automated communications and skills-based testing, you can provide even prospective hires with an engaging, memorable experience from their very first interaction with your company. 
  • Lead by example: Managers play a critical role in setting the tone for employee engagement. By demonstrating engagement themselves, managers can inspire and motivate their teams to do the same.
  • Provide regular feedback and recognition: Providing regular feedback and recognition to employees is essential for building trust, increasing motivation, and promoting engagement. This can include praise for a job well done, constructive feedback, or regular check-ins to discuss progress.
  • Encourage collaboration and communication: Encouraging collaboration and communication among team members can help build stronger relationships and allows more ideas to be shared across teams. Collaboration can include team-building activities, regular brainstorm sessions, or simply team meetings for active discussions.
  • Empower employees: Empowering employees to make decisions and take ownership of their work can significantly help increase engagement and motivation. This can include delegating responsibilities, providing autonomy, and encouraging creativity and innovation.
  • Use technology to enhance engagement: Technology can be a powerful tool for enhancing engagement by promoting communication, collaboration, and recognition. This can include tools for employee feedback, communication platforms, and recognition software. 

How to accurately measure and evaluate employee engagement

Measuring and evaluating employee engagement is, of course, a critical part of improving it. By understanding how engaged employees are and what factors contribute to their engagement, organisations can identify areas for improvement and implement targeted strategies to address them. Here’s how to go about it:

  • Employee surveys: Conducting regular surveys is one of the most effective ways to measure employee engagement. Surveys can cover a range of topics, including job satisfaction, communication, recognition, and work-life balance.
  • Focus groups: Focus groups can provide a deeper understanding of employee engagement by allowing for more in-depth discussions and feedback. Focus groups can be particularly useful for exploring specific issues or concerns.
  • Performance metrics: Performance metrics, such as employee turnover rates, absenteeism, and productivity, can provide insights into employee engagement. High levels of absenteeism or turnover, for example, can indicate low levels of engagement and job satisfaction.
  • Exit interviews: Exit interviews can be a valuable source of information about employee engagement. By asking departing employees about their reasons for leaving and their level of engagement, organisations can identify areas for improvement.

Depending on the size of your organisation, you may need to focus on just one evaluation strategy rather than a combination of the above. Even so, you’ll be sure to see some positive and tangible takeaways from the implementation of employee engagement monitoring tactics. 

5 common challenges and solutions for improving employee engagement

Like many aspects of owning a business, improving employee engagement comes with its challenges. Below, we detail 5 of the most common hurdles that companies need to overcome, and direct solutions for each:

Challenges and solutions for improving employee engagement

By addressing these common challenges and implementing the direct solutions, organisations will be sure to see a more engaged and motivated workforce that will eventually have a positive impact on the wider business. What’s not to like?

Final thoughts

“To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.” - Doug Conant

If you’re looking to beat out your competition and succeed in today’s saturated online market, identifying the right strategies for your employee engagement should be at the top of your list!

As we’ve covered in this guide, engaged employees are more productive, loyal, and committed to their organisation's goals. Plus, with a greater emphasis on their individual growth, they’ll do their bit to support your company growth too. 

Book a demo with our expert team at Applied to discuss how you can implement employee engagement strategies into your recruitment process using our smart platform. 


How can managers foster a culture of engagement?

Managers can foster a culture of engagement by prioritising communication, providing growth opportunities, recognising employee contributions, promoting work-life balance, and creating a supportive work environment.

How can employee engagement contribute to productivity and innovation?

Engaged employees are more productive and innovative because they are committed to their work and organisation's goals, feel valued and supported, and are more likely to contribute new ideas.

How can diversity and inclusion initiatives improve employee engagement?

Diversity and inclusion initiatives can improve employee engagement by creating a more inclusive and supportive work environment where employees feel valued and respected, and can bring their authentic selves to work. This can lead to higher job satisfaction, better collaboration, and increased productivity.

Applied is the all-in-one platform for fairer, more predictive hiring - purpose-built to remove bias and reliably forecast job performance.

Start transforming your hiring now: book in a demo.