Cracking the Code of Employee Engagement

August 9, 2020

Cracking the Code of Employee Engagement at HR West 2019Understanding why employee engagement is so elusive, how to create and sustain personal vestment, and implementing one or several of our ideas can help you crack the code and build a sustainable program that will propel employee engagement forward.

Numerous discussions on the absolute necessity of connecting workers to their work have been written to help businesses discover employee engagement ideas and implementation techniques. Despite the plethora of articles and concepts on the web to assist companies, it remains an elusive matter, but with the right process for your company, it is also one that can provide incredible value.

In Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace, the research shows only 15% of employees feel engaged despite the research showing companies with engaged workers perform 202% better than others. A healthy relationship between employees and management is indicative of good employee engagement. Unfortunately, in today’s environment, employees often feel disposable and employers and employees alike feel they cannot trust each other which dramatically affects the cooperation needed to engage workers and increase productivity.

Why is employee engagement so elusive?

Job security has long been a measurement of a good job. Employers looked favorably upon longevity, and employees wanted to know that their jobs were safe, so they could provide for themselves and their families. However, the workplace today is unstable—employees long for better opportunities which can lead them away from traditionally stable jobs, and employers know there is a vast worker pool to pull from, so they don’t always see the importance of an engaged employee.

This new dynamic has led to a loss of trust as employers lessen or eliminate rewards, bonuses, and other benefits that encourage personal investment in a company. This is only amplified by companies that leave employees with few resources to establish a path for their career—like training, coaching, and support for education.

The truth is, though, employee engagement will remain elusive so long as employers are not tracking it. Real-time tracking is available, but not often used, which can leave a gap between what engagement a company believes is happening and what is actually occurring. Executives must be on board with tracking and actively engaged themselves in encouraging employee engagement ideas around the table.

Three ways to create and sustain employee engagement

1.    Tracking is Essential

Real-time tracking is available—and the insights gained from this far outweigh annual performance reviews or surveys. The reason is simple. By the time you do a yearly review, it’s too late to address areas of concern.  The data is old. Employees are not always experiencing the same issues even one month after they crop up, so creating timely solutions is nearly impossible.

2.    Add Training Options

Employees need to know that their company is involved in their career goals. Most people don’t come into entry-level jobs wanting to remain there, and it is important that leaders in the organization recognize future leaders in the lower ranks. To that end, training and advanced education show employees that the company wants them to succeed and advance. This also results in a sustainable leadership pipeline that can benefit the company for years.

3.     Introduce Incentives

Financial incentives are obviously a great way to encourage engagement and keep rock star employees on your payroll, but incentives don’t always have to come in the form of bonuses or pay-for-performance options. Extra time off work, clear paths to promotions, and small things like cake for an employee’s birthday enhance the happiness of workers which builds a culture of trust and sets the foundation for engagement.

Employee engagement ideas

These employee engagement ideas have been gleaned from companies of all sizes and range from: a) doable for every business to consider your culture or b) trial implementation before rolling it out.

Voice of the Employee Board. This technique implemented by Amazon is a whiteboard hanging in a high traffic area that allows employees to post ideas for improvement, complaints, and to give recognition to co-workers or leaders for excellent work. Employees can post with their name or anonymously and then HR compiles the feedback and assigns it to a leader to respond to it. Amazon also uses a “Voice of the Business” board where senior level management can post updates, improvements, and changes which offers transparency from the upper levels.

Access to Executives. One small startup that has found success in its three years of business offers employees direct access to the executives. Instead of filtering through HR or a middle man, employees can go directly to the CEO, COO, and CTO with ideas. The executives can then give advice, make decisions, and engage in transparent behaviors with the employee in real-time instead of waiting for a response for long periods.

Personalized Onboarding Program. The Society of Human Resource Management’ guide Onboarding New Employees Maximizing Successsays that more than half of companies who have implemented strong onboarding programs have noticed improved customer satisfaction rates and better employee retention rates. Providing a program that guides employees past the onslaught of new information and addresses what they hope to accomplish in the position through employee-guided goals.

A Path to Leadership. Many companies lag in this area. Employees don’t know whether they can earn promotions, what training they need to move into higher positions, and how to climb the ladder. We can look yet again to Amazon as an example of how to create a path to leadership program. Amazon holds regular training for employees that they can self-assign. This training gives them boosts into pools of workers who can be called upon for an interview for a higher-level position. And, high level management can be picked up with either on-the-job experience over a period or a degree which Amazon reimburses employees for at a high rate.

A Few More Ideas…

  • Happy hour after work for bonding.
  • Mentorship with management or a more experienced employee.
  • Use collaboration tools to promote working together.
  • Encourage wellness by hosting a lunch yoga session or employee workouts.
  • Clarify goals and methods to achieve those goals regularly (more than once a year!)
  • Be flexible—let them work from home if possible on snow days or if their children are sick; allow personal days for mental health
  • Incorporate FUN—monthly competitions, July 4thBBQ, or encouraging employees to choose a favorite saying for their business cards.
  • Give recognition—perhaps start a monthly newsletter that promotes the good things the employees are doing and highlights two or three workers, their lives, and who they are in and out of work.


Dianna Wilusz SHRM-SCP; SPHR
Dianna, CEO and Founder of The Pendolino Group, is passionate about creating transformative experiences in business and with teams. She passionately infuses more than 25 years of Operations, Human Resources and Change Management experience into every client project including for-profit, not-for-profit and educational institutions. Dianna is currently a board advisor to several for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. The team at the Pendolino Group has served thousands of clients across many industries, stages of growth, and internationally in the areas of knowledge management, continuous improvement, process management and improvement, executive and leadership development and human resources management. Dianna believes that the capacity to create powerful change resides within each one of us, and she is committed to the exchange of best practices and the co-creation of the next generation of collaborative innovation, community transformation, and business results.

Check out Dianna’s HR West 2019 Session  Cracking the Code: The Elusive Nature of Culture
March 13, Wednesday 9:00 a.m.-10:15 a.m. – Jr. Ballroom 3 & 4

Register to attend the full 3-day conference or for a day (Monday or Tuesday):



Share HR West 2018 Details! > HR in the most innovative place on earth! #HRWest18
Posted in HR BLOG and tagged , , .

Leave a Reply