8 Simple Activities that Build Employee Engagement

Thoughtfully motivating and engaging employees takes a concerted and systemic approach throughout the organization. That said, there are also simple activities that also support employee engagement — make it a point to do one a day and you will see the benefits in both the short and long term.

  1. Say “thank you.” Be specific about what you appreciated and explicitly acknowledge the positive impact the person had.
  2. Listen without interrupting. Make a point to ask someone what they think about a certain topic. Listen to their responses without jumping in or judging. Thank them for their input.
  3. Invite someone to coffee or lunch. Invest in one-on-one time with someone: a colleague, a direct report or your boss. Don’t bring an agenda; just enjoy your time together.
  4. Ask about an office artifact. Many people have personal items in their work space – if you see an item like a picture or award on display, ask about it. “What a great picture! Who are those folks?” “Look like a nice award – what did you work on?”
  5. Forward an article or event announcement. When you see an article or event that may interest someone you work with, send it along. Include a reason for sending it to add meaning. “Last week, you mentioned your interest in XYZ….; I saw this article and it reminded me of you.”
  6. Ask for help. Most people want to feel both needed and appreciated. Ask for someone’s help, and explain why you are asking. “You did such a nice job with XYZ last month; I wondered if you could give me a hand, so I can learn how you approached it?” or “I really appreciate your eye for detail – could you give me a hand with XYZ?”
  7. Offer to help. Is someone struggling to carry too much?  A simple “can I help?” can make all the difference – even if the answer is no, the person will appreciate that you noticed and asked.
  8. Take a break. In addition to motivating others, you also need to take care of yourself. When you are feeling stressed, or after working long stretches, take a break. Walk around the building, read something of personal interest or check in with a friend for a quick refresh.

Employee engagement is not a static state – it must be continuously renewed and refreshed. Employee engagement is also not a checklist – it takes sustained commitment and strategic investment.  However, simple steps like the ones above also add meaning and value to the employee experience and help institutionalize larger organizational initiatives.