How to Improve Employee Engagement: 7 Ways to Increase Engagement in 2023

February 3, 2023 Workhuman Editorial Team
engagement in workplace

Employee engagement is one way to assess the relationship between an organization and its employees!

Disengaged employees are more likely to look for other opportunities, while engaged employees are more likely to stay loyal to their jobs.

Surprisingly, almost 68% of US employees don’t feel engaged in their jobs. At the same time, companies with higher levels of employee engagement are 21% more profitable than their competitors. 

High employee engagement can be a game changer for your business; it’ll increase productivity, reduce turnover rates, and improve the work culture.

Here’s how to improve employee engagement and overcome engagement challenges for a healthy and growth-oriented workspace:

Challenges with employee engagement

Employee engagement is an HR term that refers to employees’ enthusiasm, motivation, and dedication toward their job and the company. In general, it measures the overall level of content and satisfaction and will directly impact various individual decisions, including the decision to quit. Increased employee engagement is directly related to better productivity, profitability, and work experience. 

Before thinking about increasing employee engagement, company leaders should be able to identify engagement challenges. These are the reasons behind the presence of reluctant and disengaged employees who don’t contribute to the company’s productivity.

Managers might start working hard to find strategies to improve employee engagement and still feel that they don’t yield the desired results. This happens when they can’t identify why team members don’t feel invested in work. Here are the top reasons why employees experience disengagement and lack of motivation. 

Communication struggles

Lack of transparent communication between managers and subordinates is the main challenge affecting workplace engagement. Employees who don’t know what is happening will likely feel disengaged, as they’re simply asked to do different tasks without understanding the purpose. 

Moreover, unclear communication contributes to spreading rumors and wrong information that might harm the company in the short and long run. Peer-to-peer communication can be affected due to the lack of training or the company isolating employees without engaging them in team-building activities. 

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Lack of recognition

Employees will lose motivation, and their productivity will significantly decrease when they know they won’t be rewarded for their efforts. Unfortunately, according to a recent study, 81% of managers state that employee recognition isn’t a strategic priority for their organizations.

Inadequate pay

Inadequate pay is the leading reason for employees’ dissatisfaction with their jobs. The temptation to negotiate a low salary for some employees may have grave consequences for the business.

Inadequate pay causes a high turnover rate because employees will always be on the lookout for better chances. On top of that, it causes low morale and poor performance because they won’t have enough motivation to do their job properly. 

Employees who are paid less than they deserve won’t feel valued, so they’ll look for the closest opportunity to leave their jobs.

Traditional managerial styles

As more young people join the workforce, managers might still stick to outdated managerial styles that no longer work. The authoritative management style is one of the least appealing to current employees as it disempowers them and makes them feel like tools instead of being active participants

People are dictated to do specific tasks without understanding the purpose behind them. As a result, they lose interest and contribute to the monotonous company culture. 

Negative work environment

Micromanagement, high levels of turnover, lack of communication, and neglecting employees’ needs can create a negative work environment. In this environment, engagement levels will decrease, employees will be anxious and stressed out, and eventually, their productivity will decline. 

Negativity in the workplace is highly contagious, so even previously motivated and engaged employees will soon become less interested in work. They will approach meetings and tasks with a negative attitude, complain a lot, and refuse to cooperate with others. As a result, team conflicts will also increase. 

7 steps to improve employee engagement

For employees to feel engaged in their jobs, they need to know that they can grow in their careers. Through rotations, assignments, promotions, and developmental plans, employees won’t feel stuck in their jobs. 

Tips to improve employee engagement

When employees feel that they’re spending meaningful time contributing to their individual success and the company’s success, they’re more likely to feel engaged. 

In addition to career growth, employees need to know that their managers care. Working with empathetic, understanding, and supportive managers will encourage employees to be more invested and engaged. 

Recognizing employees in times of crisis will push them to work harder and encourage them to become more active in group discussions and brainstorming sessions. Moreover, celebrating career and personal milestones with employees with a modern reward system like the Workhuman® Service Milestones® will help team members realize how much you appreciate them.

The following employee engagement tips represent strategies managers can implement to measure, build, and improve employee engagement. 

1. Put employees first

Employees’ well-being and wellness should be the number one priority for any organization. Managers who value their employees as assets rather than tools will be able to successfully retain, encourage, and motivate their team members. 

A workplace culture that respects employees and cares about their physical and mental well-being will encourage them to be more productive. In addition, managers should understand the importance of a work-life balance and develop innovative ways to help employees feel more comfortable. 

This will include offering remote and hybrid work setups, paid vacations, and flexible working hours. Stress and burnout are the leading reasons why employees quit, and high turnover levels will affect the company’s productivity in the long run. Every team is different, so managers must be sensitive to these differences. 

If you notice that your employees have lost motivation, you can offer them time off or adjust their work hours to accommodate their personal needs. 

People will be more motivated when managers define the company’s values and goals and ensure that employees’ goals align with the company’s. Explaining the mission and shared values make employees feel they’re part of the decision-making process. 

According to recent studies, Microsoft has the highest levels of employee engagement in the world. It offers an inclusive culture that always puts employees first, encourages collaboration and communication to guarantee well-being, and promotes a growth culture through intensive personal and professional development programs.

2. Measure employee engagement

Managers always ask about how to build employee engagement. However, this shouldn’t be their first priority. 

The first step to improving employee motivation isn’t to develop innovative employee engagement ideas but to measure the current level of engagement and compare it to the desired outcome. Many managers wonder how to measure employee engagement successfully because it involves a lot of qualitative metrics.

First, you should define engagement outcomes. These are the key findings that you’ll measure while implementing a strategy to make employee engagement increase. You should focus on what matters to the company and your employees at the same time. 

Understanding individual needs like successful teamwork and communication, trust, career development, confidence in the future, compensation, and recognition will help interpret the current engagement levels. 

measuring employee engagement

You should also measure the satisfaction level regarding the current pay system, reward program, compensations, promotions, and feedback. 

There are several tools that managers can use to measure engagement, in addition to pulse surveys. Asking questions, giving out questionnaires and polls, offering employee feedback forms, and examining suggestion and idea boxes will help you evaluate your team’s current engagement level. 

3. Set a model

Managers who practice what they preach will positively impact the performance and engagement of their subordinates. As a manager, if you show interest in the company’s values and explain its mission, employees will follow your lead, putting the company first. 

Accountability is another key factor that impacts engagement in the workplace. Managers who hold themselves accountable encourage workers to become more active. 

They need to know that they work with the right people in a safe work environment that values their contribution and shouldn’t be worried about making mistakes. 

Finally, employees must feel that their manager is actively listening to them. They’re not dismissed, and their needs aren’t ignored while managers’ needs are prioritized. If a manager encourages employees to work according to specific standards, they should start with themselves.

Values like respect and trust should be mutual. In addition, a successful manager should respect the chain of command and make use of regular feedback and other valuable input methods before making a decision to encourage collaborative work. 

Statistics show that only 50% of employees know what is expected of them, and only 40% report that managers help prioritize their goals. Therefore, your main focus should be to explain what employees should do and why they need to do it. Next, you should develop innovative ways to see how things can be done better to boost performance.

4. Prioritize communication

Successful, transparent, and continuous communication will increase employee engagement. So, communication should be your top priority if you want to improve workplace engagement. 

Identify communication gaps and understand why miscommunication happens. This might be due to a lack of conversations, following outdated communication tools, sticking to old ways that didn’t work, or simply not providing the employee with enough information. 

For example, some workers won’t find emails effective because they always deal with spam emails, so they might miss an important message. As a result, the company should refine and enforce a new communication policy to improve employee engagement. 

An intranet communication app can be used for regular updates and announcements, helping employees stay in the picture. In addition, employees should be able to ask questions, express frustration, and provide feedback to make interactions more positive and inviting. 

During meetings, managers should encourage creative participation and allow employees to feel empowered. Remember that offering choices, asking for real-time feedback, and giving credit will improve employee engagement levels. 

5. Analyze people’s analytics

To understand how your employees feel, you need to do two things. First, you should use potent tools to measure levels of motivation, engagement, and satisfaction in the workplace. And then, you need to hire people who can use these tools and interpret the data to identify engagement and disengagement trends. 

Experts will be able to understand the relationship between numbers and qualitative measures like satisfaction, loyalty, and comfort. Although measuring happiness in the workplace is pretty challenging, several quantitative metrics can help you understand its effect. 

Employee engagement improvement is possible with some innovative and reliable tools. For example, managers can use tools like the Workhuman Moodtracker® to ask employee engagement questions or run an employee engagement survey to see what causes frustration and negativity in the workplace.

mentoring is a great way to improve employee's skills

This critical task is the mission of the HR department. HR managers should be able to integrate all employee information and trends from when new hires join the workforce to when they quit or get promoted to identify the most rewarding and least rewarding experiences they’ve dealt with. 

Managers can measure the potency of a reward system to see if it actually leads to the desired business results. For example, a new recognition system to make workers feel valued might be implemented if employee turnover levels increase despite providing bonuses and rewards. 

An increase in vacations can indicate that employees are disengaged and unwilling to work. In this case, managers should find the root cause behind their disengagement and see how to improve the work conditions to restore high levels of workforce engagement.

Focusing on team-building practices to encourage better cooperation will also improve engagement. A manager should set an example by becoming a good team player and recognizing the efforts of others. 

6. Adjust your management style

If you’re following a traditional, outdated managerial strategy, then it’s about time to change it. Unfortunately, a study shows that 58% of managers never received any formal training. Instead, they were just promoted and suddenly found themselves responsible for tens or even hundreds of people. 

This usually makes managers confused about the true meaning of an empowering leader. Micromanaging managers usually have time management issues and can’t finish the assigned tasks. This happens because they don’t trust their employees enough to delegate tasks. 

At the same time, they deprive employees of any growth or development opportunities, as they’re always stuck following their orders. As a result, employees lack a sense of purpose and aren’t able to integrate efforts to achieve bigger goals. 

Changing your management style to a high-performance management strategy will save you and your company. The idea is to start with the people you work with, not the tasks you must complete. 

Successful managers don’t view employees as tools but recognize that they’re the company’s biggest asset. So they listen to suggestions, encourage feedback, hold frequent brainstorming sessions, give credit when due, and implement employees’ recommendations.

Empowered employees feel responsible and are held accountable, so they feel more engaged as you give them more responsibilities. As a result, they’ll go the extra mile to contribute to the company’s success. 

Adapting your management style for success

7. Contribute to the community

Employees will feel more engaged and connected to a company that gives back to the community. Volunteering opportunities, offering contributions, and supporting charity organizations will positively impact employees’ feelings about their workplace. 

Charity contributions can also be incorporated into the company’s internal rewarding system. For example, the company can ask employees to choose their favorite charity to pay on their behalf. If employees already pay for charity, the company can double their contributions. 

A socially responsible company will retain employees in the long run. Employees are part of the community the company serves, so there should be clear instructions regarding how to respond to public feedback. 

A study shows that 70% of employees agreed that cultivating a culture of volunteerism boosts morale, increases workplace positivity, and contributes to higher retention rates.


They believe that what the company projects on the outside is reflected inside the office. As a result, organizations that contribute positively to the community will have a better internal workspace environment. 

Here are six more ways to increase employee engagement, regardless of the external challenges an organization may be facing.

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Understanding how to improve employee engagement should be a priority for every aspiring manager. Of course, it takes a village to reach this goal, but it all starts by identifying the significant challenges and developing a detailed framework for solving every problem. 

Remember to prioritize employees’ wellness and make sure they communicate with their leaders in a healthy way. You may also want to reconsider your management style if it’s outdated compared to today’s standards.