The HR Pro's Cheat Sheet for Boosting Workplace Engagement on Any Budget

Mar 22, 2024

The pandemic is in our rear-view mirror now, but its impact on hybrid and remote workplaces persists today. Workplace engagement is a main priority for businesses that need to maximize their productivity and employee happiness while also reducing turnover. In what follows, you'll learn about how to increase workplace engagement and how it will benefit your business.

What is Workplace Engagement and Why Does it Matter?

The connection your employees feel toward your business, their team, and the work that they do is called workplace engagement. More engaged employees are more committed, productive, and advance your company culture. Notably, engaged employees are 23% more profitable than disengaged workers.

Engaged employees are 23% more profitable than disengaged workers.

One of the most valuable benefits of having an engaged team is that it increases retention. This can save you money on recruiting and training. If you think about it in this way, it's easier to see the cost of disengaged employees to your business: lost productivity and higher turnover. In fact, Gallup found that low workplace engagement costs businesses $8.8 trillion globally.

Businesses are trying a number of different engagement strategies to reduce turnover and improve productivity. Some of those methods include:

  • Hybrid and flexible work models
  • Focus on mental health and wellbeing.
  • People analytics
  • Recognizing top talent.

Let’s dive in a bit further to see what makes each of these trends so important for your team’s culture and engagement.

Hybrid and Flexible Work Models

Allowing employees to work flexible hours and work fully or partially from home are popular ways to increase employee engagement. This enables greater opportunities for work-life balance, better productivity, and makes jobs accessible to a more diverse pool of workers. According to data found by Stanford Professor of Economics Nicholas Bloom in 2021, employees valued a hybrid work-from-home model as much as an 8% pay increase.

However, since remote and hybrid roles are more isolated, managers need to go the extra mile to foster emotional connection. By leveraging team building strategies, creating opportunities for more social interaction, and recognizing excellent work are all great opportunities for managers to achieve this goal.

Focus on Mental Health and Wellbeing

There's significant demand from workers for employers that prioritize the mental health of their employees. Employers that meet this objective create positive feedback loops that lead to greater workplace engagement.

Poor employee mental health and general wellness costs your business, and 95% of HR leaders agree. Overworked and depressed employees are at greater risk of falling ill and being disengaged. They will be less productive, more likely to take sick days and will be more likely to resign.

People Analytics

Investigating data from people analytics can reveal opportunities to optimize your workplace engagement. By identifying the weaknesses of your organization, you can take steps to reduce your turnover and increase productivity.

Two important things to keep track of are employee sentiment and recognition quality and frequency. These will help you understand how your team feels about their work environment and how often they are being recognized for their achievements. Surveys are a fantastic way to measure these metrics, especially when done regularly.

Recognizing Top Talent

Putting the spotlight on team members for their achievements can go a long way when working to improve workplace engagement. In fact, it’s been shown to increase your profits by 29%. Recognition reinforces an employee's motivation to excel. It also contributes to that positive feedback loop that keeps employees happy.

Recognizing top performers also sets a good example for other employees, inspiring them to put in similar efforts.

Expert Strategies for Improving Engagement

According to Stacy Wanninger, Senior HR Consultant at BlueFire HR, “Now is the perfect time to infuse HR with a little more creativity in how we manage our workforce.” Here are some strategies used by top HR professionals to improve employee engagement:

  • Foster work relationships and connections: create opportunities for teams to communicate on a personal level.
  • Promote inclusivity and belongingness: help employees feel more welcome, understood, and heard.
  • Incorporate engagement metrics into goal setting: look at your people analytics and find areas to improve upon.
  • Utilize pulse surveys: continually monitor and gather insights with regular team surveys.

One common theme with each of these strategies is personalization. Every employee is a person, and everyone is unique. Meeting them where they’re at with authentic connections, listening to their ideas and concerns with surveys, and centering your work culture strategy around your team are all critical to fighting back against turnover and loss of productivity.

Closer Look: Improve Engagement Metrics

Great HR experts leverage engagement metrics to improve the culture of their remote and hybrid teams. Here’s how your team can leverage metrics to improve employe engagement:

  1. Define your objectives: what do you want to achieve specifically? Are you more focused on reducing turnover, or are you more focused on productivity? Your goals will vary depending on the needs of your business.
  2. Identify key engagement factors: some examples may include job satisfaction, work-life balance, recognition, and connections in the workplace.
  3. Choose your metrics: choose based on your goals and engagement factors. Some examples include survey scores, participation rates in engagement programs, turnover rate, or team performance indicators.
  4. Baseline data: understanding the current state of your business’s engagement will help you understand how changes to the system impact the baseline.
  5. Set specific and measurable metric goals: in line with your original goals, set realistic metric goals that are easy to track. For example, increasing your employee survey response rate by a certain percentage by the end of the year.
  6. Delegate responsibility: know who is responsible for measuring and achieving each part of your strategy.
  7. Monitor regularly: use frequent surveys and other measurement tools to keep track of your progress. This will help you understand if you’re getting closer to the mark with your workplace engagement goals. Use tools like CultureBot to send high-response surveys to your team on Slack.

If you can create a feedback loop of measuring your performance and making course corrections to get closer to your goals, you’ll be able to better build a positive work culture for your team where employee engagement thrives.

Free feedback survey questionnaire illustration

When done regularly, team surveys are an effective way to gauge workplace engagement. Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay.

Quick Wins for Business Managers

You can start taking steps to increase your productivity and retention rates right now! Make progress advancing your employee engagement today with these tips:

  • Recognize achievements: even just a simple 'thank you' can go a long way. Give a shout out to your employees’ hard work on Slack!
  • Encourage open communication: Promote a work environment where open feedback and discussion and welcome.
  • Promote work-life balance policies: encourage your team to take advantage of wellness benefits you have to offer.
  • Thoughtfully onboard new hires: Provide a streamlined and engaging onboarding Process for your new team members.

Try a few of these strategies and see how they affect your team in the short term. Areas where you see a lot of promise may be great opportunities to invest in longer term solutions.

New Innovations in Employee Engagement Technology

There are a number of new innovations that are evolving how businesses promote employee engagement. Some of those technologies include:

  • Digital recognition and rewards platforms.
  • Anonymous feedback channels.
  • Automated prompts driving connections.
  • Gamification driving healthy competition.

Let’s explore each trend a bit further to see how they can make a difference in your business.

Digital Recognition

New and innovative ways to recognize top performing team members are becoming popular with remote and hybrid mode businesses. Instead of annual performance reviews, businesses are moving toward a more periodic approach. Remote work platforms make it pretty easy to make recognition shoutouts to your whole team simply by sending a message to a channel accessible to your team.

Personalized shoutouts on Slack are a wonderful way to recognize your top performing employees.

CultureBot is a great Slack integration that lets you send teammates personalized shoutout messages with rich images and text all using a form. Colleagues can optionally earn peer reward points from shoutouts that can be redeemed later for benefits options selected by managers.

Anonymous Feedback Channels

An anonymous feedback system for employees can foster a culture of candor and receptiveness. If employees can talk about what concerns them without fear of retaliation, they’ll be much more likely to speak their minds. Slack is an excellent place to run these types of surveys regularly. Since it’s where your team is already working, response rates for your survey campaigns will be higher.

new survey campaign inside Slack

CultureBot’s survey creator makes it easy to set up feedback campaigns for your teams.

CultureBot incorporates this technology with customizable forms and survey campaigns. You can create forms and campaigns and view results all from the application’s web dashboard.

Automated Prompts

Increasing employee engagement means building an environment where teams feel comfortable building better relationships with one another. That means more opportunities for casual conversations that you might see around a water cooler at an in-person job. One way to help encourage this is with daily conversation starters. You can do that manually, but an efficient and fun way to achieve it is through automated prompts.

CultureBot can provide regular conversation-starting topics that encourage your team to connect.

CultureBot approaches this with a repository of conversation starting messages to begin each day in your Slack water cooler channel. Managers have the ability to select topics for the conversation starters and the frequency of when they’re posted. They can also add their own water cooler topics to get more personalized and unique.

Gamification Driving Healthy Connection

Some healthy competition and simple, casual fun can be great for team connection and engagement. Live events and games are great ways to encourage this part of your team culture. CultureBot has a library of games available on demand, updated seasonally.

Leadership Sets the Tone

One of the most important lessons to learn in workplace engagement is that the leadership team at your organization sets the tone for how your employees interact. If your managers lead by example with good work-life balance choices, they will inspire their teams to lead healthier and happier lives. This will help make them more productive and engaged.

Managers should be coached to balance productivity and empathy within their teams. Approaching productivity challenges with a desire to understand the problem can lead to collaborative solutions that benefit everyone. If leadership structures workdays in a way that encourages collaboration, that will provide more opportunities for teams to interact and develop positive relationships.

Inviting your leadership team to analyze and address engagement survey results is another terrific way to get everyone on the same page and understand team feedback and concerns.

Keep Your Employees Engaged

Improving your organization's retention and productivity is heavily dependent on your employee engagement. Focusing on employee wellbeing, promoting good work-life balance habits, and building healthier interpersonal connections all compound to build your workplace engagement.

CultureBot has helped businesses from around the world engage their remote teams, reduce turnover, and improve productivity - all by advancing organizational culture. Download our case study to see CultureBot’s impact and how it can help your business.


Visualize $8.8 Trillion

If you were to count $8.8 trillion one dollar a time, one dollar per second, it would take you 278,639 years to count them all. That’s fifty-five times longer than recorded human history!