Employee Engagement Programs and How to Use Them to Boost Morale

Employee Engagement Program Hero

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” 

- Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs didn’t use ‘love’ in the context of work as a buzzword. He understood that a worker’s involvement, enthusiasm, and commitment to their work have bottom-line results for both employers and employees.

The importance of employee engagement is well documented, as is the severe lack of it in the workforce. A 2023 report on the ‘State of the Global Workplace’ found that 59% of employees are not engaged and 18% of employees are actively disengaged.

This means that an overwhelming number of workers globally may not care about the success of their company and are more likely to do the absolute bare minimum to get through the day.

If your relationship with your employees is purely transactional, you are missing out on potential gains for your company.

Wondering how to improve employee engagement? We’re here to help.

Read on to learn how to implement a robust employee engagement program and craft effective employee engagement strategies to transform your workforce's productivity, satisfaction, and success.

What Is Employee Engagement and Why Should You Care?

The meaning of employee engagement, or employee engagement meaning (e.g., definition of engagement including the level of participation required) will depend on the company. However, there are core elements that all companies can agree upon.

At its core, employee engagement is about one’s psychological investment in and interaction with any subject. An engaged employee is loyal, enthusiastic, team-oriented, purpose-driven, and willing to go above and beyond. On the other hand, a disengaged employee is more likely to have a 9-to-5 mentality, isolate themselves from others, avoid taking initiative, and only meet the minimum productivity requirements. In fact, a survey found that the average worker only spends four hours and 12 minutes a day actively working.

The average worker only spends four hours and 12 minutes a day actively working.

An employee’s productivity and quality of work can make all the difference to your company. According to Gallup’s Employee Engagement Survey, companies with highly engaged employees saw an 81% difference in absenteeism and a 14% difference in productivity.

Countering the impact of these disengaged employees isn’t easy. Gallup even suggested the need for four engaged employees for every disengaged one to go past the tipping point to achieve growth. This becomes even more difficult to achieve when faced with significant employee turnover rates, which are increasingly common with low employee engagement.

63.3% of companies with 50-500 employees say retaining employees is harder than hiring them. But this is where employee engagement programs can prevent employees from leaving.

For example, recent research shows that companies see a 52% lower turnover among newer employees when they participate in “purpose” programs, which include workplace giving, volunteering, and micro-actions.

What Are Employee Engagement Programs?

Employee engagement programs are specific initiatives, tools, or activities designed to increase employees' active participation, enthusiasm, and commitment toward their work and the company.

They often aim to provide opportunities for employees to connect with their peers, superiors, and the company's values, mission, and objectives.

Although employee engagement programs and employee engagement strategies may seem like interchangeable terms, they are not.

Confused? Think about it this way: organizing a regular group activity for breaking the ice with new team members is an engagement program, whereas developing a roadmap with different channels of communication, methods of collecting feedback, and forms of encouraging recognition are a part of your engagement strategies.

Brick by brick, the benefits of employee engagement programs build a company’s culture, which is now highly prized among employees.

3 Types of Employee Engagement 

GaggleAMP Types of Employee Engagement

Understanding the three types of employee engagement can help businesses develop more tailored and effective engagement strategies. 

The three types are:

  • Cognitive Engagement
    Requires employees to be fully aligned with their company’s values and goals. This type of engagement generates confidence and curiosity. What does that mean for employee engagement programs? You could host an innovation challenge to brainstorm ideas for a specific problem.

  • Emotional Engagement
    Requires employees to be personally connected to their work, team, manager, and company. You can promote this by creating a positive, safe environment, listening to feedback, and appreciating employees who engage.

  • Physical Engagement
    Requires employees to perform tasks that use both physical and mental energy. These engagements show employees' commitment and help them feel part of something tangible. For example, a well-structured employee off-site can lead to more trust and teamwork between employees.

Implementing Employee Engagement Programs

A wide range of targeted programs can revitalize employee engagement. Here are a few ideas to get you going:

Prioritize Clear Communication

It all starts here. When employers are as specific as possible in communications, they can reduce confusion, build trust, and increase efficiency. For example, you should practice setting clear job descriptions and deadlines.

Explore Avenues for Professional Growth 

You can showcase your commitment to an employee’s career growth by offering mentorship programs, skills workshops, and other opportunities to enhance their skills.

An Illustration of a group of employees celebrating a team effort and gaining a certification

Source: Revolutionizing mentorship with technology at New York Life

Provide Meaningful Recognition

You can build and reinforce a culture of appreciation by implementing reward and recognition programs. Creating this link between performance and appreciation improves employee morale and satisfaction while incentivizing better work outcomes.

Focus on Employee Feedback

The best way to understand employees’ needs and concerns is by regularly seeking employee feedback through surveys and sessions. When employees see this feedback taken seriously and implemented in action, you create a culture of open communication.

Invest in Team-Building Exercises

Whether through tried-and-tested employee engagement activities, off-sites, workshops, or social events, your team members must get to know and trust each other. The benefits of this extend beyond communication and teamwork — they also give employees more personal investment in their work lives.

An LinkedIn post of an employee from Motivosity who highlighted the company for taking all of their employees plus their partners to an off-site trip to Mexico

Build a Diverse and Inclusive Workforce

An actively engaged employee feels safe, comfortable, and encouraged in their place of work. Think of campaigns that take your commitment to diversity and equal opportunity off the page and into the workplace.

For example, many organizations form employee resource groups (ERGs) for various identities, interests, and roles, which help employees find community and support.

Organize Wellness Initiatives 

This includes everything from yoga classes and meditation sessions to charity marathons, health challenges, and wellness stipends. You’ll have to find which wellness initiatives suit your company best. But if it’s something you can do, it goes a long way in boosting employees' mental and physical health!

Successful Employee Engagement

There are countless examples of successful employee engagement solutions.

Some focus on shaping work culture, like cloud computing company Salesforce's "Ohana" culture, which emphasizes trust, growth, and inclusivity. Others are targeted, specific campaigns like Adobe's "Kickbox" program, which provides employees with a physical red box containing resources to kick-start innovative projects.

But, no matter the scope and size of the project, there’s always something to learn from different employee engagement programs.

Causeway: An Employee Engagement Program Success Story

One such success story, backed by incredible data, comes from Causeway, a dynamic technology firm. Despite offering a robust well-being program, an analysis of absence data highlighted rising stress and anxiety levels among their workforce.

To address this, Causeway's Human Resources team outlined vital areas for improvement, including: 

  • Strengthening family-friendly policies.
  • Providing education and emotional support.
  • Enhancing mental and physical well-being services.
  • Reinforcing a culture of well-being.

Their employee engagement strategy involved:

  • Childcare voucher changes.
  • Financial education.
  • Mental health awareness. 
  • A creative campaign recognizing caregivers as "Unsung Heroes," tailored to engage male employees who may be reluctant to discuss personal issues.
  • Promotions focused on life stages, making the benefits more relatable.
  • Using communication channels such as emails, posters, social media, personalized packs, and even coffee mornings!
  • An engagement hub for employees called the "Causeway Lifestyle."

The results (as we promised) are tremendous:

  • 90% of employees believed the company genuinely cared about well-being.
  • Total absence dropped 35%, reducing associated costs by 62%.
  • Targeted area absence costs plummeted by 90%, saving over £70,000.
  • Stress-related absence dipped by 81%, with costs down 98%.
  • Headache and migraine-related absences were reduced by 60%.

Results like Causeway’s prove why implementing an employee engagement program is worth it.

Boost Employee Engagement With GaggleAMP

Having an employee engagement program is more than just increasing job satisfaction. It's about creating an environment where employees are emotionally invested in their roles, aligned with the company’s goals, and motivated to contribute their best efforts. It helps transform routine tasks into meaningful contributions and coworkers into a second family.

If you want to reap an employee engagement program’s benefits, GaggleAMP is your most effective tool.

GaggleAMP ensures your team can seamlessly share tailored content on their social channels, enhancing engagement without interrupting their daily routines. Many program managers use social media to position their product, launch new features and widgets, and also to highlight thought leadership. When your employees are involved in this process, they are more involved in what is happening with their company, giving them a better sense of what's happening throughout the company while playing a part in any successes.

GaggleAMP Rewards Example Image

By introducing gamification, GaggleAMP also adds a layer of friendly competition among employees, making advocacy efforts not just a task but an exciting endeavor.

See how it works by signing up for a demo or jumping into a free trial today.

Join our Newsletter

Stay up to date with the latest in employee advocacy.