Employee Engagement Best Practices

employee engagement best practices

The first step to improving employee engagement is to ask your employees how they feel and what they think can be done to improve the workplace. The next step is taking action on those results. These actions will be different for each organization, depending on the size, resources, and culture of the organization. There is no “right” way to go about creating an engaged workforce, however, there are some employee engagement best practices that our research at TalentMap has shown to have a significant impact on employee engagement. We share some of these best practices here under the areas that most often appear as key drivers of engagement. We also strongly recommend following up with employees using focus groups to further explore each area and get their specific improvement ideas and suggestions.

Professional Development

  • Develop competency models for key job roles to form the basis for better selection, performance reviews and development planning
  • Share competency models with employees to use as a guide for development and coaching
  • Implement a process for soliciting and discussing career aspirations with staff
  • Look for ways to increase job challenge and variety where possible
  • Demonstrate trust in employees’ capability to do their jobs
  • Provide training and coaching opportunities as well as accommodating employees’ needs to take time for development
  • Tie manager incentives to development of staff
information and communication

Information & Communication

  • Develop and maintain an organizational chart with high-level role descriptions for managers and teams
  • Implement “town hall” meetings once per quarter with a standardized meeting template
  • Start a regular staff newsletter, which promotes key messages, celebrates staff achievements and profiles, individual staff or teams
  • Appoint communications champions or communication networks across the organization to help promote better internal communications
  • Establish communication processes and channels to support and improve information sharing between groups
  • Implement knowledge-sharing processes and technologies that enable employees to connect easily and share expertise


  • Tie innovation into employee recognition, for example, create an “innovation award” that will encourage employees to think outside the box and make suggestions on improving processes, reducing costs, driving new business or other priorities
  • Celebrate creativity and risk taking
  • Facilitate cross-function meetings to allow for diverse brainstorming sessions
  • Encourage management to support innovative ideas by assigning value to new ideas, providing feedback and follow up on suggestions brought forward
immediate manager

Immediate Management

  • Develop a process for management and leadership transition that ensures smooth onboarding for a new manager
  • Implement a manager training program for all newly promoted or hired managers
  • Create manager “standards” such as minimum frequency of department meetings, timing of performance reviews, etc.
  • Promote collaboration between managers and employees with regards to setting goals for the department
  • Prepare managers to provide guidance to employees on career development
  • Provide a safe mechanism for employee feedback if they have concerns about their immediate manager, for example, anonymous surveys, suggestion boxes, websites, etc.
  • Assess manager performance frequently and regularly
  • Hold regularly scheduled, clearly structured individual one-on-one meetings between managers and their direct reports, building the foundation to foster a great relationship

Senior Leadership

  • Develop a Leadership Development Strategy, which includes defined competencies for leaders, core and elective learning opportunities, an assessment mechanism related to the competencies, individual development plans, management-specific orientation for new leaders, leadership coaching, mentoring, etc.
  • Ensure the Senior Leadership team is visible to staff; leaders should be visible in each location a minimum of four times a year
  • A 360-degree assessment of each executive, along with interpretation of assessment and individual coaching and/or action planning
  • Make leadership intentions transparent to all employees; explain how and why decisions are made
  • Promote accountability, ownership and personal responsibility among leaders
organizational vision

Organizational Vision

  • Craft a compelling mission, vision, strategy and value statements
  • Regularly and clearly communicate the mission, vision, and values, as well as short and long-term goals of the organization; take time to explain and promote them
  • Develop a coherent operating plan that links department and unit goals to the overall vision
  • Identify and remove obstacles to achieving alignment between the vision and employees’ jobs

For more employee engagement best practices check out our Webinar Library and Employee Engagement Blog.

Interested in learning more about employee engagement best practices? Find out what you can do in your organization!

Webinar Library

Helping Management Better Connect with Employees: The Importance of Connecting with People

By Norm Baillie-David | October 9, 2018

Webinar | Join the growing conversation around the importance of building an engaging management team that connects with your employees.

Building Healthy Workplaces: How to Create an Effective Mental Health Strategy

By Norm Baillie-David | September 7, 2018

Webinar | For Mental Illness Awareness Week, CAMH joined TalentMap to discuss what HR leaders should consider when building a workplace mental health strategy.

What Effective Employee Engagement Looks Like in Local Governments

By Natalie Verania | July 25, 2018

Webinar | Absenteeism and general disengagement have long been associated with civil servants. Studies suggest they can be attributed to a litany of factors. Watch the webinar to learn more.

How to Recruit, Engage, and Retain the Right Talent with Employer Branding

By Natalie Verania | July 11, 2018

Webinar | How do you pique the interest of amazing candidates – the type of talent you want to attract? Watch the webinar to learn how employer branding feeds recruitment, engagement, and retention.

How Employee Engagement Can Reduce Presenteeism and Absenteeism

By Norm Baillie-David | June 13, 2018

Webinar | Loss of workplace productivity results from employee health problems and/or personal issues like family illness or stress. Learn how to reduce presenteeism and absenteeism during TalentMap’s webinar.

Employee Recognition: How to Promote Praise and Influence Engagement in the Workplace

By Norm Baillie-David | May 11, 2018

Webinar | A well-executed employee recognition program is one piece of the foundation that creates long-lasting, sustainable engagement within organizations. TalentMap joins forces with Kudos to discuss recognition strategies and tools to boost engagement.

Handling Verbatim Comments in Your Engagement Survey: How to Walk the Tightrope Between Insight and Confidentiality

By Norm Baillie-David | May 4, 2018

Webinar | Open-ended survey questions give organizations a deeper glimpse at how employees think. These verbatim comments are a goldmine of information. But how can confidentiality be assured?

Redefining Professional Growth in a Re-Imagined Work World

By Norm Baillie-David | March 27, 2018

Webinar | TalentMap’s Senior Consultant, David Ang, discusses what professional growth means to today’s employees who have vastly different work expectations due to technology advances and market demands.

Employee Engagement in Higher Education: A Tough Lesson to Learn

By Norm Baillie-David | March 22, 2018

Webinar | Higher education institutions have above average employee engagement challenges — even more so with safety considerations around gun violence and the #MeToo campaign. Watch the webinar recording to learn more about the state of employee engagement in higher education.

Job Purposing and Employee Engagement: Crafting Meaningful Work for Employees

By Norm Baillie-David | February 12, 2018

Webinar | Norm Baillie-David, SVP at TalentMap and Bea Boccalandro, President at VeraWorks, discuss how job purposing can heighten employee engagement, performance, and wellbeing.

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