20 Actionable Employee Engagement Activities and Ideas for 2021 (PLUS 5 Bonus Ideas)

Employee Engagement Activities and Ideas

Companies that conduct employee engagement activities have better customer engagement, greater productivity, better retention, and 21% higher profitability. (Gallup)

Employee engagement is a hot topic for companies around the globe – and for a good reason.

It’s because you want to understand how people are feeling in your company so you can improve the culture and work environment.

Wondering how you can do it?

In this article, you’ll discover 20 awesome employee engagement activities and ideas that you can implement right now. We promise you’ll make more progress in improving employee engagement by using these ideas.

Here’s the List of 20 Employee Engagement Activities and Ideas

  1. Salary transparency
  2. Encourage employees to learn
  3. Allow pets at work
  4. Offer free meal and snacks
  5. Show appreciation
  6. Work from home opportunity
  7. Respect employees’ ideas and thoughts
  8. Employees reward program
  9. Parental leave
  10. Encourage fun activities
  11. Flexible work hours
  12. Special perks for loyal employees
  13. Attractive leave policy
  14. Wellness programs
  15. Encourage employees to be volunteer
  16. Adoption assistance
  17. Employee stock options
  18. Fitness programs
  19. Celebrate birthdays
  20. Celebrate employees’ milestones

Enjoy!

Free BONUS: Download this entire list as a PDF. Easily save it on your computer for quick reference. Includes 5 bonus ideas and examples from real companies not found in this post.

20 Employee Engagement Activities

Wondering how to improve employee engagement? Check out these amazing employee engagement strategies and ideas.

Idea 1. Salary Transparency

Discussing salaries with coworkers has long been considered one of the biggest offenses. 

It doesn’t work anymore.

Some of the most common concerns raised by employees are:

  • I’m not getting paid fairly.
  • A poor performer is getting paid more than me.
  • I want to quit because I’m being paid low.

What can be the solution?

Salary Transparency.

Salary transparency can boost employee morale as employees appreciate the openness about compensation.

Buffer has the concept of “Open Salaries.” They have a simple formula to calculate salaries and they share this with the whole team. It makes the buffer an open company.

Buffer salary transparency

Idea 2: Encourage Employees to Learn

If you want to improve engagement levels, you need to show your employees that you’re here to help.

You can help in your employees’ growth by paying for online classes or courses, allowing them to attend workshops and events during workday hours.

Hubspot provides ongoing learning opportunities like the Free Books Program, the [email protected] online platform, a mini-MBA Fellows program, HubTalks, workshops, and more.

Hubspot learning program
employee engagement ebook

Idea 3: Allow Pets at Work

Allow pets in the office can help in reducing stress and making people friendlier. Work-life balance is valuable for employees, and being able to bring one’s dog or cat to work can help employees feel they are closer to achieving that balance.

Banfield’s PAWrometer™ shows that 67% of employees believe pets help increase productivity.

InMobi allows pets at work. It all started when a top executive started bringing her pug Bella Boo to the office. Now Walter, the lab, and Becky, the cat, are a common fixture at the InMobi office. Today many employees bring dogs to work, especially on weekends.

allow pets at work

Employee Engagement Idea: Allow pets at work – Click to Tweet

Idea 4: Offer Free Meal and Snacks

“There’s no such thing as a free lunch”? 

These days, more businesses offer free lunches and snacks to their employees. Little perks like free lunch really make a big difference in how they feel about their company.

People want to work for a company that treats its employees well, and free lunches are a safe hint that the company is doing something right to keep employee relations thriving.

Canva provides free lunch and snacks for their employees. They cook breakfast and lunch for people every day and make sure snacks, and drinks are always stocked. They also beautify the space with murals and indoor plants.

Canva free meal

Idea 5: Show Appreciation

You can tell your colleagues, coworkers, and employees how much you value them and their contribution any day of the year.

If someone on your team hits their monthly or quarterly goal, make it a win for your department or the whole company. Celebrate personal wins. Announce it to the rest of the team.

Legal Monkey’s Appreciation Board allows every employee to write down comments and positive feedback to fellow staff members.

Legal Monkey’s Appreciation Board

Idea 6: Work from Home Opportunity

It’s difficult to find the right balance between work and personal life to feel good that both areas are receiving enough attention.

Provide a work from home scenario and flexible hours where employees with children or adults with hobbies are allowed the freedom to enjoy life to the fullest, but still get their work done.

Aha! is an entirely remote company. You get to work from where you are the happiest. With no opportunity to bump into folks around the office, it simply takes an intentional effort to connect.

Aha remote team

Idea 7: Respect Employees’ Ideas and Thoughts

Asking your employees’ thoughts on work-related matters shows that you respect and value their input. Plus, you could end up with some really great ideas that improve your business. 

Why not have a suggestion box in a common area where anyone can propose ideas? Or an anonymous survey where people can submit their opinions?

REI has created a user-friendly online “company campfire” that allows the retailer’s top managers to share their ideas and their employees to comment.

REI company campfire

Employee Engagement Idea: Respect employees ideas’ and thoughts – Click to Tweet

Idea 8: Employees Reward Program

Create some healthy competition and reward excellent performance with incentives for successful goal achievement.

You can also try some non-monetary programs., such as certificates, trophy, days off, etc.  According to the Incentive Marketing Association, 65% of employees prefer non-cash incentives.

Employees can earn Zollars or “Zappos dollars” for participating in training by answering questions or volunteering to help out.  This play money can be used to redeem Zappos branded schwag, such as a gym bag, desk fan, or water bottle, which is only sold through the company’s internal Zollar Store.

Zappos reward program

Idea 9: Parental Leave

Companies are expanding and improving their parental leave policies in different ways. Increasing parental benefits for mothers and fathers has been shown to have positive outcomes for the employees, their families, and their employers.

American Express recently announced that the company’s U.S.-based regular full-time and part-time employees will be eligible for 20 weeks of paid parental leave.

Amex parental leave

Idea 10: Encourage Fun Activities

Do something fun together. Playing something or other fun activities help people bond with others on the team who they don’t interact with on a daily basis and builds a better sense of community within your organization.

The response to Evernote’s unique coffee program has been quite positive. Employees are reporting that by taking a “break” to make coffee for their coworkers, they were able to clear their heads, using a different part of their brains to get creative juices flowing.

Evernote fun activities

Idea 11: Flexible Work Hours

A flexible daily schedule enables employees to come to work early and go home early or stay late and arrive late. It allows employees to work when they accomplish most, feel freshest, and enjoy working.

Spotify employees have the option to swap traditional days off like Christmas for alternative days off of their choosing, like Yom Kippur, Easter, or Diwali.

Spotify wfh option
employee engagement ebok

Idea 12: Special Perks for Loyal Employees

As a company, you have to offer special perks to your old employees to make them happy and engaged. Your loyal employees are your most valuable assets and long service also needs to be properly recognized and rewarded.

In Metis Communications, After you’ve worked for the company for four years, you get the fourth week of vacation every year, and after five years of employment, employees are eligible for Friday vacation days in the summer.

Metis Special Perks

Employee Engagement Idea: Offer special perks to loyal employees – Click to Tweet

Idea 13: Attractive Leave Policy

Your company’s leave policy has to be compelling for both prospective and long-term employees. It’s also important that you structure it to reward tenure. Many studies show that when employees take time off, they’re more productive because they’ve had time to recharge.

Accenture India follows a leaving pooling system. ‘Hours That Help’ program, as it calls it, is an initiative that allows eligible employees, who have exhausted their paid time off (PTO), to receive additional leave through ‘leave donation’ by their colleagues.

Accenture leave policy

Idea 14: Wellness Programs

Mentally and physically healthy employees bring an array of benefits to the businesses they work for. The employer can offer compulsory employee training, staff seminars, or even work with a third-party provider offering a variety of programs.

Cadence recognizes that parenting responsibilities continue and in fact grow as the children grow older. Cadence provides support at every stage of parenting, from baby-care to parenting counseling.

Cadence parenting program

Idea 15. Encourage Employees to Be Volunteer

Volunteering can be a life-changing experience and an important chance for employees to build new skills. Plus, it’s a great way for your company to give back to the community.

Bajaj Finserv encourages the employees to volunteer their time and skills to the betterment of the society they are a part of, whether as part of an organizational event like tree plantation or registering for a community event.

Encourage Employees to Be Volunteer

Idea 16: Adoption Assistance

Many companies now offer adoption benefits to employees. If your company does not have an adoption assistance program, then build a program and help your employees who want to adopt a child.

Snapchat gives an adoption reimbursement of up to $10,000. Adopting parents are also given 8 weeks of paid leave to bond with the new child.

Adoption Assistance

Idea 17: Employee Stock Options

Many companies encourage employees to acquire ownership in the form of shares. These shares are allotted to the employees at a rate considerably lesser than the prevailing market rate.

You may set aside up to 25% of compensation through payroll deductions to purchase Adobe Stock every six months that are at least 15% below the fair market value. The discounted price is locked in for a 24-month period.

Adobe stock option

Idea 18: Fitness Programs

Fitness programs are one of the amazing ways to create a healthy office environment. The goal is to create a culture where employees choose to live a healthier lifestyle. There are a variety of companies that provide fitness programs to their employees.

Lululemon gives employees $25 twice per week to go to different workout classes. The company also offers employees access to local gyms, and even reimbursements if certain gyms aren’t covered in their wellness program.

Lululemon Fitness Program

Idea 19: Celebrate Birthdays

Birthdays only come around once a year (obviously), so use them as an opportunity to make sure your employees feel special. Show them why they matter to you, why they’re dear, and an indispensable part of the company.

Springworks celebrates employees’ birthdays. The cake is an added incentive for the team spread across three floors to get together.

celebrates employees’ birthdays

Employee Engagement Idea: Celebrate employees’ birthdays – Click to Tweet

Idea 20: Celebrate Employees’ Milestones

Celebrating an employee’s milestone or work anniversary can make them feel how valuable they are. While there is no need to throw a party or disrupt the entire workday, a few resourceful gestures will go a long way.

UrbanBound throws employees a jacket ceremony and celebration, which involves a friendly Pictionary match, drinks, and dinner. A tradition from day one, the company plans on maintaining it even as its staff continues to grow. The company also hosts a quarterly Champion’s Dinner.

 Celebrate Employees’ Milestones

Employee Engagement FAQs

What are the three key elements of employee engagement?

Here are three key elements:

– Have meaningful relationships with employees.
– Make sure you communicate with your employees openly, honestly, and often.
– Employees would work harder if they were recognized more.

What are good employee engagement questions?

Here are some great questions that you can use in your next employee engagement survey:

– Do you feel proud to be part of the Company?
– Would you like to recommend our company to your friends?
– Would you nominate the company as “Best places to work”?
– Do you plan to be at this company in the next three years?
– Do you feel empowered and recognized at work?

How do you engage employees in the office?

Here are some employee engagement activities:

– Get to know your employees.
– Provide them all the required tools.
– Let them know company goals and visions.
– Invest in their personal/professional growth.
– Recognize and reward their work.
– Create a positive work environment.

What are the best team building activities for work?

Read this article to learn 25 team building activities. Use them freely at your next team meeting.

What are some employee engagement ideas?

In this article, you’ll find 20 employee engagement activities (mentioned above).

What are some top employee engagement apps?

Here, you’ll find the best employee engagement apps to implement in your 2021 strategy.

Now It’s Your Turn

You just accessed 20 employee engagement ideas. Whether you implement two or all 20 ideas, you’re showing the people you care about cultivating a better workplace every day.

What employee engagement activities do you use in your company? Let us know in the comment section.

Free BONUS: Download this entire list as a PDF. Easily save it on your computer for quick reference. Includes 5 bonus ideas and examples from real companies not found in this post.

EngageWith is easy to use and effective employee recognition tool that will help you attract, engage, and motivate your employees. Try It Now!

Originally published on Feb 10, 2020 02:33 PM, updated July 28 2021

Pawan Kumar

I'm a Content Marketer at Springworks. I've been featured in many reputed publications and online magazines! I'm an avid reader and movie buff. Let's connect on Social Media.

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