5 Employee Engagement Ideas for Your Small Business

Your employees are the backbone of your business. Some companies ensure their team is satisfied, happy, and productive, while others let employee wellness fall by the wayside. But in every small business, there are always improvements that can be made when it comes to employee engagement. 

Some of the most effective employee engagement ideas for your small business won’t break the bank or require a lot of heavy lifting on your part. All they require is a bit of forethought and planning.

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Why is employee engagement important?

Employee engagement is important because it leads to increased profits, higher productivity levels, and a boost in office morale. It also results in higher employee retention rates and less absenteeism, which are financial pluses for your small business. 

Besides the work-related bonuses, your team members benefit from working in a more engaging and stimulating environment. Overall, making your company a more pleasant place to work helps your employees cultivate their existing skillsets and make innovative workplace contributions.

Related: What SMBs Need to Know About the Hiring Crisis

What kind of employee engagement ideas can you implement?

So, you’re on board with the plan to increase employee engagement, happiness, and productivity. But where do you start? These five ideas will help your small business take the next step.

1. Offer non-working social activities

Work can be stressful. Giving your team time to bond outside of a work context is essential to improving their teamwork and collaboration. 

Company pizza parties, Zoom happy hours, and other non-working social activities allow employees from different departments to get to know each other better. This encourages more effective collaboration when they do get back to the grind. 

Social activities are especially important for remote teams who may not have access to the pre-meeting or lunchtime chats that are staples of office working.

2. Actively solicit frequent feedback

Autonomy is the top measurement of employee satisfaction. Allowing employees to have some degree of ownership in workplace decisions is one easy way of boosting this all-important autonomy. When your team feels more in control of their workplace environment, they’re likely to be happier and more productive at work.

There are several ways of collecting employee feedback, and some might work better for your business than others. More traditional routes include implementing a suggestion box, an open-door policy, or distributing surveys regularly. You can also hold performance reviews on an annual basis, whether that’s quarterly or annually. 

Another path involves hosting company meetings to gather input on management decisions that will affect your team, such as how to best use a spare meeting room or what kinds of snacks to keep in the kitchen.

Read more: 20 Employee Engagement Survey Questions You Need to Ask

3. Implement a mentorship program

Mentorship programs can be overlooked in today’s workplace, but they can be a powerful catalyst for employee engagement. Both mentors and mentees stand to benefit from these unique learning opportunities—increased team diversity and advancement are just a few of the upsides of mentorship programs. 

These programs help your company train the next cohort of business leaders, all while improving employee retention and keeping your employees intellectually engaged. Mentorship is becoming even more vital in the workplace, with 79% of millennials seeing mentoring as crucial to their career success.

4. Establish work clubs and employee resource groups

Maybe you participated in high school or college clubs, but did you know work clubs exist too? Work clubs can range from fantasy football groups to fitness clubs to book clubs. It all depends on the interests and goals of your team.

Employee resource groups (ERGs) are another valuable way to foster engagement among your employees, especially those who come from marginalized communities. ERGs are led by employee volunteers, and they provide a dedicated space for coworkers who share the same gender, race, LGBTQ identity, or other characteristic. ERG programming may be purely social, but it can also facilitate candid conversations about the barriers to diversity, equity, and inclusion in your company.

When they have proper funding and support from leadership, these clubs and groups improve work conditions for everyone. 

5. Offer better employee benefits

Another tip for employee engagement is to simply offer more employee benefits. Remember, if salaries and healthcare plans aren’t up to par, there’s little chance an office book club or free beer will do the trick. 

Even if your employee benefits are above average, consider subsidizing transport to and from the office or pitching in for employee gym memberships or meditation app subscriptions. If necessary, improve your office space by investing in comfortable chairs, office snacks, and other comforts. 

These small perks can make a big difference in keeping your employees fulfilled during (and even outside of) their working hours.

Employee engagement will take your small business to the next level

It’s the little things that make a big difference in your employees’ lives. When you make your workplace more social and interactive, you’re bound to notice a surge in positive attitudes and collaboration that might otherwise be difficult to achieve.

If you’ve been struggling with employee engagement, these suggestions should give you a starting point for an actionable path forward. Small businesses all over the country have used these same techniques to great success — will yours be next?

Read next: Top Employee Engagement Software for Small Businesses

Celita Summa
Celita Summa
By day, Celita Summa is a Florida-based freelance writer specializing in technology, marketing, sustainability, and a plethora of other topics. Nothing makes her happier than reading and writing well-researched content. By night, Celita can be found developing her talents, which include her black belt in karate, her fluent Italian, and her knack for vegan cooking.

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