How to Improve Employee Engagement & Satisfaction

Employees have faced many challenges and uncertainties during the COVID-19 pandemic this past year. Your employees may be showing signs of exhaustion, stress, and burn-out which could lead to issues such as low productivity, decreased collaboration, and high employee turnover. If you are actively searching for ways to help your employees feel cared for and improve their well-being, here are six solutions to increase employee engagement and satisfaction:

  1. Focus on PTO/Vacation Offerings: During the pandemic, your employees may not be taking any days off (or taking very little) over concerns of their financial wellness. It is when employees go without vacation time that they can become exhausted, stressed, and burnt-out. If you see this happening to your employees, you should focus on revising your paid time off/vacation policies to increase flexibility. By revising carryover and use provisions or paying employees for unused and accrued paid time off/vacation, your employees can worry less about their money situation and more about improving their mental health through a well-balanced work and home life.
    • Vocally encourage employees to take time off when needed.
    • Institute a vacation day where your facility is closed, and everyone takes a paid day off.
    • Provide bonuses and premium pay to employees working during the pandemic.
  2. Organize Team-Building Activities: While group gatherings may not be advisable because of COVID-19, you can still hold activities that have mixed virtual and in-person components. The key to team-building activities is to encourage participation, but not require it.  To secure employee participation, you should make sure to invite all employees, choose an activity that is consistent with the interests of employees overall, and engage employees in a way that is professional and collegial. When you give your workforce the chance to build relationships, you increase collaboration and communication, while promoting goodwill for happier employees.
    • Organize an event such as a virtual puzzle, fantasy sports league, or wine and cheese tasting.
    • Sponsor a “Virtual 5k” where employees complete a 5k run or walk while wearing a company t-shirt and share photos afterward.
    • Hold a Virtual Happy Hour as a stress-free and fun way to allow employees to hang out and talk about their lives outside of work.
    • Have a game-themed meeting, such as trivia, to help encourage employee engagement and bonding.
  3. Implement Employee Recognition Programs: It is important to recognize your employees if you want to improve employee morale and engagement. Your employees will work harder and stay longer if you make them feel important. This can take the form of company-wide and individual recognition. Making time to listen intently to the needs of your employees and showing them that you value their work in your company is the best way to encourage workplace success.
    • Provide employees with expressions of gratitude, like a “thank you” card and free item.
    • Actively compliment the gifted and talented work you see from different employees.
    • Recognize an “Employee of the Month” or a specific department for Exemplary Teamwork or Excellent Performance on a particular project.
  4. Conduct Engagement Surveys: Because of social distancing requirements, your employees may begin to feel out of sync and overwhelmed. With a survey, you can check-in with your employees to see how you can help reduce stress levels, increase productivity, and re-engage them through company opportunities. A survey will allow you to create a listening culture to empower your employees. By letting employees know they are involved with decision-making and problem-solving within your company, they gain more confidence to succeed. And, with the authenticity of everyone’s opinion and diverse perspectives, your company can achieve greater innovation.
    • After a survey is received, be sure to follow-up so that employees know their voices have been heard and if their ideas are being implemented after consideration.
    • To encourage responses, you can throw in an incentive for taking the survey, like a gift card.
  5. Offer Company Wellness Programs: If an employee is healthy, they tend to be happier, so why not implement company wellness programs to promote healthy lifestyles among your employees and their families? There is more to wellness than just your employees’ physical health. By offering wellness programs, you can boost production and engagement; and if you want to create a fun workplace culture, you can Include incentives.
    • Fitness Challenges (such as Fitbit Step or Apple Watch) encourage friendly competition and promote exercise. Fitness Classes, Health Coaches, and Gym Reimbursements are also good options for encouraging employees to stay active and help manage stress.
    • Tobacco Cessation Programs are perfect for employees who need help to quit so that their health (and even finances) can improve, while cutting out the time it takes out of work for a smoke break.
    • Employee Assistance Programs help employees deal with personal issues in their work and home lives. These programs can include counseling (for mental health, family, and relationship challenges), child/elder care resources, legal consultations, financial assistance/planning, help with alcohol/substance abuse, health advocacy, and workplace stress management services.
    • Health Fairs, Biometric Screenings, and Vaccination Clinics provide health education to employees and help them become aware of their health conditions and how to effectively treat them.


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