Sarah Thomas

Employee disengagement costs a collective $550 billion each year in lost productivity and makes for unhappy employees that look for work elsewhere. Engaged employees are happier, which translates to increased productivity, retention rates, and profitability. How can you ensure that your own employees are engaged? Try these top tips from industry experts to increase employee engagement.

Give Them What They Need to Do Their Jobs

Employees that don’t have the correct equipment, space, or tools can’t effectively complete their jobs – and therefore, they can’t be fully engaged. As HR, you can supply each employee with the tools they need to succeed at their job, including giving them the outlets necessary for emotional support and stress relief.

Put the Right People in the Right Roles

Having the wrong person in the wrong role is a recipe for disengagement, and it can create an actively toxic work environment (Forbes). To ensure that you have each person on your team in the correct role, try our PIR report. Our assessment and report give you guidance to understand each individual and how they are best suited for various roles.

During the hiring process, use the PIR report as a supplement to a candidate’s resume. Our report includes valuable questions to ask during their interview, so you can get to know the candidate beyond their resume. When you truly understand the strengths and challenges unique to each candidate, you’re in the best position to place them in the role suited to their strengths. They’ll be a more engaged employee, which makes your company stronger overall.

Don’t Be Afraid to Play to Increase Employee Engagement

Gary Ware, of Breakthrough Play, is a creative Play Consultant that helps businesses improve through play. Ware discussed how he uses play in the workplace at a Bamboo HR Summit session called Play for Innovation, Creativity, and Joy in the Workplace. He incorporates improvisational acting techniques into corporate teambuilding exercises to help employees communicate more effectively and utilize playfulness during their workday.

One technique that Ware suggests is “Yes, and…”, a common improvisational game used by actors. In a business meeting, this may work by employees building off of each other’s ideas, by saying “yes, and…” and then completing the thought with an additional idea of their own. Ware includes multiple innovative play techniques on his website and offers a variety of courses and workshops.

Give Regular and Authentic Praise

Take stock of what employees do well and praise them regularly. SHRM recommends regular and authentic praise to boost morale, which keeps employees engaged. Employees that feel respected and appreciated will be engaged in their work. Schedule performance reviews at regular intervals to keep employees on track and make sure that their performance expectations are clear. Then, learn how an employee prefers to be praised. Some people prefer to be praised in a group. Another person may feel embarrassed with group praise and may find recognition more meaningful one-on-one.

Make Them Laugh

Andrew Tarvin, founder of Humor That Works, hosted a session at the Bamboo HR Summit titled Putting the Humor in HR: Using Emotions for Efficiency. In his session, he stressed the importance of adding humor to our workday to help employees feel happier and ultimately increase engagement. Tarvin recommends these three steps:

  1. Get people’s attention by engineering surprise.

  1. Strengthen relationships by facilitating joy.

  1. Build a positive workplace culture by promoting fun.

Humor helps to relieve tension at work, and it encourages employees to feel more comfortable. Tarvin stresses that when an employee enjoys what they’re doing, they are actively engaged and therefore more productive.

Focus on Overall Wellbeing to Improve Employee Engagement

Your employee is a whole human being – so focus on their overall wellbeing. Support their mental health and emotional well-being and put programs into place that support their physical health. An employee that is feeling sick, anxious, or overworked won’t have the energy to devote to their job. Their health is a priority and your company must make it a priority as well. Implement programs that support all forms of employee wellness, and allow for time off so that employees and can take of their health. Healthy employees are happily engaged employees.

Andrew Tarvin is online at:

Gary Ware is online at: