9 Employee Engagement Ideas You Need to Know About

Guest post by Daniel Pawlak

A version of this post originally appeared on the Snacknation website.

45% of employees are not engaged at work.

Source: Dale Carnegie

Employee engagement and retention are at the top of the priority list for modern day HR managers. Of course, every company wants to attract and KEEP the best talent.

The problem?

We see so many employees in the job market today becoming uninspired and bored of their work, just to quit their job and begin the job hunt after less than two years.

We decided to speak with some of the best HR professionals all across the country to discover their very own employee engagement strategies.

Below are 9 of the best employee engagement ideas you should be applying in your office.

1. Get your health and wellness program in order.

Kevin Sheridan, New York Times best-selling author of Building a Magnetic Culture, has helped the world’s largest corporations improve and cultivate productive work environments.

We asked Kevin what he thought companies should be doing to improve workplace engagement:

kevin_sheridan“The bottom line is that anyone who knows about employee engagement is also a firm believer in instituting health and wellness programs. There have been multiple scientific studies proving that health and wellness efforts not only yield higher productivity and engagement in the workplace but will also help reduce turnover, as job stress is the #1 reason people quit (along with a lack of work-life balance which is related to wellness as well).”

2. Align your company with a purpose

Snacknation CEO Sean Kelly recently gave a presentation at HR Star Conference to over 850 human resource professionals. In his presentation, titled “Millennials in the Workplace,” he discussed the importance of aligning your company with a purpose. He emphasized that it’s not about focusing on “what” you do, so much as “why” you do it.

3. Emphasize work-life balance.

We hear the term “work-life balance” all the time, and in theory it seems pretty straightforward. However, finding an optimal work-life balance can seem like an impossible struggle for some. It can be challenging to find the right balance between work life, and personal life, without neglecting one or the other.

Blake McCammon from Blogging4Jobs, a popular HR blog, shared his thoughts about the role of work-life balance in employee engagement.

Blake“Work-life balance is one of the most important things employers can do to help employees not only stay healthy and fit, but keep them engaged day by day. 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.”


4. Stand for something your team can be proud of.

We asked Irene Becker, voted as one of the top 100 Employee Engagement Experts Online, to answer the question of how companies implement and sustain employee engagement activities when engagement is at an all time low.

Irene-Becker-profile“By showing our employees that we care, that we stand for something they can be proud of, and that we offer them meaningful, purposeful work and an opportunity to grow, learn, contribute and succeed because we know that success is a me to WE equation that starts with:

  1. Personal, professional development and a structure for growth and recognition are alive in the organization.
  2. Managers, mentors and trainers that are equipped to coach, inspire and bring out the best in their people.
  3. Communities of purpose; groups that are centered around a purpose driven business, CSR or community activity are alive, aligning shared values and mission with collaboration.
  4. Transparency of communication and the integrity of the organizations commitment to growth, recognition and the optimization of individual and collective potential is mirrored in new ways of developing team spirit and vertical/horizontal collaboration.
  5. Human interaction, social activities that engage our people as human beings in the human side of being part of a vibrant, growing, thriving culture.”

5. Promote perks that boost mental and physical well being.

Perks are a great way to make your office a more fun place to work and keep employees happy. JellyVision Interactive Marketing, for example, offers some unique perks for their employees:

  • Unlimited vacation days (with the assumption this privilege won’t be abused)
  • The ability to work from home whenever necessary or work out an unconventional schedule
  • On-site yoga and a free healthy catered lunches every week
  • Company refrigerators and cupboards stocked with fruit and healthy snacks
  • A yearly Wellness Day featuring free 15-minute back massages for every employee and a taste test of unusual, healthy juices
  • Mustache Day (a sort of mustache-themed Halloween that culminates in a fancy lunch out)
  • Frequent company-wide involvement in charity fun runsMustache Day

6. Provide ongoing coaching and training.

A study done by Deloitte in 2012 found that employee retention is 25% higher for employees who had participated in company-sponsored mentorship.

Coaching and mentorship should be an ongoing process that doesn’t end after the employee’s initial on-boarding. Although some people in your organization will proactively seek mentorship, others may not be as forward about it. Offering an optional weekly coaching session to discuss strategies and ideas to help different members of your organization improve can make a huge difference.

7. Open consistent lines of communication.

Asking for feedback from workers can help you learn about issues and resolve problems before they escalate. Some of your employees may have helpful ideas about improving workplace efficiency, but you’ll never hear them unless you establish open communication with your staff.

Ask managers of your organization to setup weekly meetings to see where their direct reports need resources, and any new ideas they may have. You’ll quickly discover that both managers and direct reports look forward to these meetings, and strategically use them to improve their departments on a weekly basis.

8. Offer healthier options at your workplace.

We spoke with Jason Lauritsen, Director of Best Places to Work at Quantum Workplace, about how to increase employee engagement by making healthier foods available on site.

jason-lauritsenThree-fourths of employees want access to a healthy cafeteria or vending options at their workplace, but less than half of employers actually offer it as a benefit. This creates a great opportunity. Not only will providing this benefit help organizations play a role in boosting productivity, increasing performance, and lowering healthcare costs, but we’ve also found that employees who work at organizations that provide healthy cafeteria or vending options are 10 percent more likely to be engaged.”

9. Encourage volunteering

Corporate Volunteers

Most people want to feel that they are contributing to a greater cause in their lives.

Committing to one’s work and becoming involved in a cause gives employees a greater sense of purpose. 71% of employees who participated in an LGB Associates survey about employee volunteer programs indicated that they felt more positive about their company as a result of these programs. Purpose driven work through a cause is linked to improved productivity and morale, which can make a huge impact of your company’s bottom line.


Focusing your attention on engaging employees results in higher productivity, better retention rates and improvements in organizational success. Now it’s your turn to take these ideas and apply them in your office.

If you liked these tips, please share your thoughts! For more easy and actionable tips to increase engagement at your workplace, check out Snacknation.com.

About this author: Daniel Pawlak is the Marketing Coordinator at Snacknation. His goal is to help companies become incredible places to work by improving employee health, productivity and engagement. 

CSR Food For Thought: Employee Engagement Matters

CSR Food for ThoughtThe CSR Food for Thought series is a bi-weekly roundup of recent news from around the web, presented to you in one bite-sized post.

A Quick Guide to Effective Employee Engagement
From Business 2 Community: There’s no simple equation for employee engagement. But the actionable tips in this article come pretty close.

Want more? Find out how corporate volunteer programs increase employee engagement.

Integrating Corporate Citizenship across the Value Chain
From Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship: “It is clear that stakeholders are holding companies responsible not only for their own actions, but for the actions of their suppliers and business partners as well.”

7 Lessons from a Successful Corporate Social Responsibility Program
From Forbes: TCC is rocking CSR. Find out how your program can follow suit.

10th Annual Global Volunteer Month Breaks Record
From Morgan Stanley: Volunteerism at Morgan Stanley has been increasing every year for the past 10 years. And this year is no different.

Check out our feature on Morgan Stanley for Pro Bono Week 2014.

Employee Engagement for Purpose-Driven Business 101 (Or 5 Reasons Clif Bar Employees Are So Damn Happy
From Sustainable Brands: Forget triple bottom line. Clif Bar has five bottom lines. And it’s helping their business soar.

Follow us on Twitter for CSR news and trends throughout the week: @VM_Solutions.

Corporate Social Responsibility Food For Thought

CSR Food for ThoughtThe CSR Food for Thought series is a bi-weekly roundup of recent news from around the web, presented to you in one bite-sized post.

Why Startups Should Build Social Good into their DNA
From Financial Post: “There may be some investment at the outset, but in the long run you’re going to save money.” – Adrian Grenier

What Kind of Leaders are Millennials?
From U.S News: Keep your stereotypes about selfishness. Millennials want to lead by empowering others and social causes. Find out what else in this article.

And check out our own take on millennials in the workplace from the corporate volunteering perspective.

Corporate Social Responsibility: Nice Guys Finish First
From eMarketer: Yes, consumers want the companies they buy from to engage in CSR. And this article is chock full of stats to prove it.

JetBlue Moves People through Employee Engagement
From Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship: Take a thorough look at JetBlue’s hard-to-match, rockstar-level CSR efforts, including their volunteer program called Community Connection.

Want more? We interviewed JetBlue last year when they were nominated for our corporate volunteer award. Find out how they use VolunteerMatch Solutions to power their volunteering.

20+ Million LinkedIn Members Add Volunteer Section to Profile
From LinkedIn: From 0 to 20 million in less than a year. LinkedIn users show how important volunteering is to professionals.

Hope you enjoyed this roundup! Follow us on Twitter for CSR news and trends throughout the week: @VM_Solutions.

Don’t Miss Your Worm! Early Bird Rates for the 2015 VolunteerMatch Summit End Soon

Come Together at the 2015 VolunteerMatch SummitNow is a great time to register for the 2015 VolunteerMatch Summit.

Why? Early bird rates end July 31st. That’s in two days!

Why attend the 2015 VolunteerMatch Summit?

“The collaborative feeling among the participants is absolutely incredible.”
-Wendy Hershey, Mercer Investment Consulting, Inc.

At the Summit, you’ll have the opportunity to come together with corporate social responsibility and employee engagement professionals, as well as national nonprofits.

You’ll participate in interactive workshops, attend networking sessions, and hear from industry experts, all related to working across sectors to solve the world’s most pressing problems.

Who should attend the 2015 VolunteerMatch Summit?

“I never get the opportunity to be in a more like-minded group of professionals all at once.”
-Lauren Keeler, Apollo Education Group

If you manage your company’s employee volunteer program, this summit is for you. If you’re a CSR professional looking for better ways to work with nonprofits, this summit is for you. If you’re with a national nonprofit and are looking for better ways to work with corporate partners, this summit is also for you.

And if you’re looking for a place to network and learn from others doing similar work with employee volunteerism, this summit is for you.

Late BirdBe the early bird and go catch your worm. Register today for the 2015 VolunteerMatch Summit to lock down early bird registration rates.

Bird photo credit: Adamantios



Don’t Keep All That Corporate Volunteerism Knowledge to Yourself!

VolunteerMatch Solutions is now accepting Best Practice Network webinar session proposals.

Present at a Best Practice Network WebiarHas your company done something out-of-the-ordinary with your employee volunteer program – and seen impressive results? Have you witnessed new trends or conducted research around corporate volunteerism? Are you simply a corporate social responsibility rockstar?

Don’t keep all that knowledge to yourself! VolunteerMatch is asking CSR and employee engagement thought leaders and practitioners to submit session proposals for our Best Practice Network Webinar series.

The Best Practice Network Webinar Series, presented by VolunteerMatch Solutions, brings together thought-leaders in employee volunteering and corporate social responsibility to explore how your company or brand can elevate your program for social good. The BPN Webinar series happens bi-monthly and is free to the public.

You will be a voice in the CSR community, strongly advocating for increased recognition of the potential of volunteer engagement to transform workplaces, communities, campuses, and brands for the better. Our demographic, registration numbers, & promotional reach will help get your voice out there:
• Attendee demographic – administrators, academics, consultants, employee volunteer
program managers, community/HR, and other CSR practitioners.
• Attendee registrations – depending on the topic, this ranges from 100 to 200+.
• Exposure through VolunteerMatch Solutions site, blogs & newsletter lists – Over 15,000
monthly average reach.
• Mentions on VolunteerMatch Solutions social media – Twitter over 1.3K followers, LinkedIn over 330 followers.

Topics should relate to the webinar’s mission of building a better world through corporate responsibility and volunteerism. Some examples of overarching topics could include: corporate/nonprofit partnerships, understanding your nonprofit partners needs & capacity, understanding your corporate partners goals, partnership communications (internal and external), partnership evaluation/metrics, volunteer program manager empowerment (both corporate and nonprofit), internal & external partner buy-in. While topics can be high-level and strategic, attendees should leave the webinar with some kind of actionable content.

Interested? Learn more and/ or submit a session proposal.

Corporate Social Responsibility Food For Thought

CSR Food for ThoughtThe “Food for Thought” series is a roundup of recent CSR-related news, presented to you in one bite-sized post.

CSR Programs Increase Revenue up to 20%, Says Verizon, Campbell Soup Study
From Environmental Leader: Get the stats on how a great CSR program can benefit your company in all kinds of ways – not just in increased sales.

Beyond the PDF: 5 Tips to Leverage CSR Reports for Greatest ROI
From Triple Pundit: CSR reports aren’t just for investors anymore. Find out how to make your reports resonate with a wider audience with these 5 tips.

For more on CSR and ROI, check out our recent blog post, Answering the Eternal Question of Return on Investment.

5 Affordable Benefits Employees Appreciate But Few Companies Offer
From Entrepreneur: Read about how a few extra benefits can differentiate your company in a huge way, helping you bring on and keep top employees. Oh, and pay special attention to number 5.

U.S. Employee Engagement Unmoved in June at 31.9%
From Gallup: While higher percentages than previous years, 31.9% is still pretty low for the number of employees engaged at work. Read how Gallup calculates these numbers.

And don’t forget: Corporate volunteer programs are a great way to increase employee engagement.

Why Having a Heart is Good for Business
From Huffington Post: Learn how companies can show their employees they care about their communities – and what this means for business.

Enjoy! And follow us on Twitter for CSR news and trends throughout the week: @VM_Solutions.

Words Matter: 4 Simple Language Changes to Grow Your Employee Volunteer Program

4654424717_cf0f293c2e_bCrafting the perfect volunteer opportunity that fits with your company’s mission. Fighting for internal buy-in for your employee volunteer program. Letting the world know the good your employees are doing.

Running an employee volunteer program comes with many moving parts. That’s why it’s all too easy to overlook one important thing:

How you talk about your employee volunteer program to your employees impacts its success.

I’m not talking about mass, public communications. I’m talking about the simple, day-to-day communications you have with your employees about your program: That email you sent announcing your new program. That conversation you had with your colleague about your next event. The announcement in your internal newsletter.

In these communications, the words you use are important.

Why? They can make your message stand out from the hundreds of messages your employees receive daily. They can create a personal connection between your volunteer program and your employees. And in turn, they can increase excitement for and participation in your program.

But where do you start? Here are four tips for increasing employee engagement in your volunteer program, using simple language changes alone.

  1. Use Active Voice
    Your employees will be more interested in your program if they trust in its credibility. Credibility is implied when you speak or write confidently. And what’s the number one way to convey confidence when writing or speaking? Use an active voice.

    This means reducing your number of “to be” verbs such as “are”, “is”, “was” and “will be”. For example, “We will be cleaning up Renatska Park,” can change to, “We will make Renatska Park a cleaner space for our community to enjoy.”

  1. Involve Your Listener
    We all want to feel like we’re a part of something. Use the words “you” and “your” in your communication to make your employees feel like you’re talking to them directly. (i.e., “Renatska Park needs your help,” and “You can improve outdoor space in your community.”)
  1. Tell a Story
    You may think the facts will speak for themselves, but without a story to frame them in, people will forget them or overlook them all together. It’s in our nature as humans to enjoy and respond to stories. For example, instead of simply focusing on the number of students your employees tutored, talk about one employee who was particularly touched by one student.
  1. Keep it Short
    There’s nothing worse than an email that you have to scroll to find the bottom, or when a person talks for ten minutes about something than could have been said in two. Know the key points you want to convey, and stick to those. And rather than anticipating every, little, possible uncertainty, offer a format for people to reach you if they have questions.

Using these tips, you’ll decrease the amount of quick skims through your emails and zone-outs while you’re speaking. You’ll increase the amount of times your message actually gets read and heard.

Before you know it, more and more people in your company will also be talking about your employee volunteer program.

Photo credit: Steve Johnson