7 Strategies for Driving Employee Engagement
Your employees are critical to your company’s success, so chances are you’ve invested in engaging, motivating and retaining them.
But have you formally considered how to drive employee engagement?
To do so, building out concrete employee engagement strategies is key. No matter your tactics, there are tons of solutions out there to engage staff while supporting a variety of employee — and company — needs. And it all starts with some good ol’ fashioned communication.
So today, I’ll discuss some important strategies you can use for driving employee engagement. We’ll also take a look at some employee engagement infographics, and touch on how visuals can help human resources and management teams communicate with, train and even recognize employees.
Table of contents:
What is employee engagement?
Employee engagement is about the relationships between employers and employees. It pertains to how enthusiastic employees feel about their work, and therefore how dedicated they are to a company’s core values and success.
Keeping employees engaged is often an aspect of effective human resources management. This comes as no surprise, considering how heavily it factors into a company’s operational performance, from overall morale to revenue and customer experience.
Think about it: your most engaged employees are your most productive. They’re invested in the work they do and have an emotional connection to your company. This explains why improving employee engagement leads to higher employee satisfaction and retention.
But that’s not all! Let’s delve further into the importance of an engaged workforce …
Why is employee engagement important?
Having effective employee engagement strategies comes with numerous benefits, including:
- Improved employee / job satisfaction
- Increased employee retention
- Increased productivity
- Increased profitability
- Improved company reputation
- Increased customer loyalty and satisfaction
- Decreased injury
- Reduced workforce absences
- Reduced attrition
A whopping 92% of business executives believe that highly engaged employees perform better, and feel more job satisfaction. According to research conducted in partnership with Harvard Business Review, this boosts the success of teams and organizations. Most respondents also said their organization has achieved a positive ROI from investing in employee engagement.
However, with hybrid work and remote workplaces on the rise, it may be that employee engagement has never been more critical — and perhaps never been more difficult. According to Gallup, before COVID-19 employee engagement was on the rise in the U.S., and during COVID-19 this trend destabilized.
As workplaces continue to change, employees may need different and/or additional support to stay engaged. But no fear — scroll down to find resources that’ll help with that, and so much more.
Drivers of employee engagement
Every person in the company impacts employee engagement, from leaders to HR to managers to employees.
According to research from Quantum Workplace, the major drivers of employee engagement are:
- Work aligned with employee strengths, interests, and goals
- Trust in company core values, leaders’ skills and integrity
- Employees feeling heard, seen, and valued
- Employees having the information they need to do well
One of the top four factors driving greater employee engagement is thoughtful company-wide employee communications, according to Gallup.
This is even more essential when there are lots of changes underway. Smart communication can equip employees to better navigate these changes.
For example, here are some employee engagement infographics for employees and managers adjusting to working remotely.
Why is communication the key to engaged employees?
Beyond dealing with change, there are many more times when communication plays a pivotal role driving employee engagement.
Skillful communication can help companies when they are:
- Onboarding new employees, or offboarding existing employees
- Undergoing changes in company strategy or structure, such as acquisitions and mergers, mission or focus changes, and executive or management changes
- Evaluating performance and celebrating employee accomplishments
- Working on employee development ideas and goals such as improving skills or wellness
Keep reading to learn more about how to improve internal communications to increase employee engagement.
7 strategies for driving employee engagement
If great communication is key to your approach to engaging employees (hint: it should be), then these strategies will do the trick. Note, we’ve added a ton of employee engagement graphics and templates you can use to execute on these initiatives. This is because visuals support communication by:
- Highlighting things to remember
- Summarizing complex information in a clear way, reducing overwhelm
- Inspiring and motivating people to take action
The resources I’ve included are also incredibly flexible. They’ll work across a variety of channels, and you can fully customize them to your personal liking using Venngage’s templates and intuitive drag-and-drop editor.
With that said, let’s take a look at seven strategies to drive employee engagement.
1. Optimize your onboarding process
When companies onboard new employees, they not only help employees succeed from day one, they set the tone for their entire experience at the company. Meaning, a good onboarding experience maximizes the chance of them becoming a tenured, engaged employee.
Throughout the onboarding process, companies will need materials for orientation and beyond. This includes employee handbooks, job aids and checklists for staying on track.
When these resources are visually engaging, it’s more likely that employees will hang on to them, retain the information within and reference them later.
Design tip: break down your employee onboarding checklists into sections using headers and colors. This helps you avoid overwhelming staff with their to-do lists, and provides a natural hierarchy they can follow.
2. Foster organizational transparency
Employee communication is what keeps employees engaged after onboarding. Often, however, these communications are presented in ways that don’t actually engage them.
Instead of dry documents or disorganized email threads, create visuals that help employees understand key ideas, such as for big-picture strategic plans:
By demonstrating a continuous commitment to transparency, you’ll be able to level with staff and promote higher engagement overall. Rather than having to guess what leaders are planning and any expectations involved, employees will feel informed on organizational processes and gain confidence to boot.
The same rule applies when creating detailed project plans.
Ensuring clear action steps are communicated is vital to any project’s success. The one above uses eye-catching colors to create a visual hierarchy of tasks that’s effortless to understand.
What’s more, using an employee communication solution like Venngage, you can keep organizational charts up to date as your company grows. A layout like the one below will also help employees more easily recognize and connect with one another:
Don’t underestimate the potential impact of company communications such as these. Not only can they ensure employees have the information they need, but they also represent a primary way that employees assess leadership.
3. Develop an employee recognition program
Everybody loves to have their hard work recognized. That’s why taking time to acknowledge employees’ contributions is a key part of any effective employee engagement strategy.
Without an appreciative company culture, you can all but guarantee they’ll seek recognition elsewhere.
No matter whether you choose to celebrate employees on a repeating basis (i.e. weekly, monthly or quarterly) or sporadically whenever the time feels right, make sure you’re providing frequent opportunities and avenues to do so. And what better way to shout them out than to feature their likeness in an attractive visual?
Even though it’s a small action for you (especially when using editable templates, like the one above), sharing this guaranteed to make your team member feel good.
You can also create graphics to mark work anniversaries and signal new hires. When a new person joins, you can help all team members with a visual like this:
4. Encourage professional growth
While it’s great to recognize big achievements, employees want to feel seen and valued in their day-to-day work too.
This often happens during performance reviews, where you have the opportunity to provide validation and constructive feedback. But once these reviews are out of the way, how often do employees revisit performance documents?
Probably not often. That’s why simple, clear and colorful ones are more likely to get revisited, and therefore to serve the function of supporting the employee between reviews.
Part of performance management is also creating learning and development initiatives.
These generally coalesce into the creation of concrete employee development plans that assist employees with achieving their professional goals. By growing workers’ competencies, your organizational performance and adaptability improves too.
Ideally, these plans also help the company identify what skills team members need to develop, and what training opportunities they can offer for this purpose.
Indeed, highly engaging training materials are indispensable tools for an engaged employee. But don’t forget there are also many opportunities to drive employee engagement across the board with fun infographics that relay essential workplace skills:
Related: 6 Employee Development Ideas for Efficient Training
5. Support employee health and wellness
Workplace skills aren’t the only skills employees need to develop to be successful. If companies want to decrease workplace injuries, reduce employee absenteeism and increase productivity, they also need to support employee health and wellness.
Beyond offering benefits, it can be tricky to know how exactly to do this effectively. A simple way to start is to share engaging infographics that educate staff about the choices they can make to support their wellbeing.
Integrate health and wellness support into your employee engagement strategy by customizing this checklist:
You can also make use of this mental health infographic:
Relaying this information shows employees that you value them beyond their productivity and contributions — which funnily enough is a great way to boost both.
Design tip: use soothing colors paired with actionable advice to get your message across while staying on-theme.
6. Offer specific resources for remote employees
As we discussed, keeping employees engaged is that much more difficult when some, or all, of your workers are remote.
It’s hard not to feel siloed when interacting primarily through text conversations or a computer screen. Camaraderie may be in short supply. And the lines of work life balance may be more blurred than ever before.
This is why it’s hugely important to help employees feel valued through your communications. By coming up with strategies to keep remote workers engaged, you’ll gain confidence that your team can handle tasks no matter the geography in the way.
Below are some examples of what the employer can do to foster employee engagement in a remote workplace setting:
Providing materials, like the ones featured above or in this section, shows you’re aware of the unique circumstances and challenges that your employees face. They’ll feel more invested in your organization as a result.
7. Communicate employee engagement ROI
Now you have lots of ideas for improving employee engagement! But once you’ve started executing these strategies, how can you tell what works and what doesn’t?
One way to measure this is by calculating your return on investment. You can measure ROI with:
- Employee engagement surveys
- Pulse surveys that gather real-time feedback on possible employee disengagement (which is especially important during transitional periods)
- Employee lifecycle surveys, for example new hire surveys and exit surveys
Here’s an employee engagement survey template you can customize to your own needs:
Be sure to share your findings with team members. Remember: ongoing company communication naturally drives employee engagement, as they’ll feel more involved.
Tips for creating visuals that engage employees
When it comes time to create materials that help you execute these employee engagement strategies, it’s common for people to feel overwhelmed.
To help with that, here are some tips on how you can make visuals that best support your employee engagement initiatives.
Keep visuals consistent with your company brand
When materials are visually consistent, it sends an implicit message to employees that a company is aligned and coordinated. This increases trust — a critical driver of employee engagement.
It’s easy to apply your company’s branding to visuals created using Venngage. Simply load your brand colors and logos to your account in one click:
And start applying your branding to any employee engagement visuals you have using My Brand Kit:
Use photos of people in the company, whenever possible
At the very least, make sure your organizational chart includes people’s faces.
And that when you recognize employees, they are indeed recognizable:
This helps people in the company feel seen and build connections to one another, especially if members of your team are working remotely.
Pay attention to diversity, equity and inclusion
Be sure to consider diversity, equity and inclusion when it comes to every aspect of employee engagement.
For example, you may want to offer employee training and development on harassment and micro-aggressions. You should also take care to measure how engaged employees of different races, gender identities, sexual orientations, and abilities are. This will give you insight on how to build a truly inclusive organizational culture.
All visuals should also reflect the diversity of experiences that people in your company have. This sends a powerful message of the importance you place on equity and inclusion throughout all business processes, not only those specifically related to diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.
Use photos, icons, and illustrations to represent this diversity. Venngage has hundreds of diverse illustrations, more than any other design tool out there.
Design tip: when using people icons and illustrations in your materials, make sure they are diverse too. You can easily edit the skin color of a Venngage person icon:
Empower employees to create and collaborate
Oftentimes, company communications are strictly top down, driven by leadership’s priorities and needs. But if you want to help employees feel seen, heard and valued, you’ll need to deepen their emotional connection to their work.
To do this, equip them with different employee engagement tools to create communications that serve their own needs and goals. For example, you can create checklists and self-assessment tools that are useful that they can choose to share with others.
Below is a leadership skills checklist that would be handy to share with managers for internal recruitment purposes.
Collaboration is key to success at many companies, and too often teams work in silos. When team members can communicate well with one another and honest feedback is respectfully delivered, they’re more likely to stay engaged.
Sometimes this communication is cumbersome because there’s so much back and forth. Venngage allows for real-time collaboration, so your whole team can not only easily share and comment on designs, but create them together too:
For example, by tracking discussion and outcomes from meetings in visual documents like the one below, employees can feel understood while also having the information and alignment they need.
Design tip: add comments to your creations in Venngage so your team knows exactly where you’d like their input. Ensure you’ve provided ample space for them to do so.
Employee engagement FAQ
What factors drive employee engagement?
Employee engagement is driven by factors like:
- Job satisfaction
- Leadership style
- Employee health and wellness
- Company culture and values
- Employee recognition
- Transparency and honesty
Note that most of the factors have something to do with communication, which is why the strategies and resources outlined above help you do that.
What are the three key drivers of employee engagement?
Though there are many factors involved, the three main drivers of employee engagement are
- Ongoing company-employee communication and feedback
- Learning and development initiatives
- Employee recognition programs
How is employee engagement measured?
Typically, employee engagement is measured using pre-determined Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, for engagement on an individual basis, within teams as well as company-wide. This may result in the distribution of standardized surveys, checklists or assessments (such as the Employee Net Provider Score) that are then used to evaluate engagement.
Other HR KPIs that may be useful to measure engagement include: employee absenteeism, turnover rate and diversity and inclusion metrics.
Based on this information, you can calculate a value for employee engagement ROI. Check out this section for more details.
Drive employee engagement initiatives to boost job satisfaction, employees’ emotional commitment and business success
Your employee engagement strategy is critical to the success of your organization. And cornerstone to having engaged workers is being thoughtful with your communications.
No matter how your company plans to invest in employees and drive employee engagement, these resources and opportunities will play a pivotal role in motivating, aligning and building trust with employees from all walks of life.
Start creating employee engagement and development visuals today using Venngage’s fully customizable templates and easy-to-use editor — no design experience required.