How to Boost Employee Engagement

Benefit Trends Executive Health October 10, 2018

Great employee engagement may sound like a ‘nice-to-have’ company goal, but it’s actually a lot more important and impactful to your bottom line than you might think.

Today in the U.S., only 34% of employees are engaged at work. Almost half (49.5%) are not engaged, a huge population that doesn’t really care one way or the other about your company or the work they’re doing. And then 16.5% of employees are actively disengaged, which roughly translates to an intentional and knowledgeable disregard for their job.

While these statistics may or may not surprise you, their ripple effects are sure to push you to revisit your employee engagement strategy.

The Hard Facts

  • Disengaged employees cost a company $450 to $550 billion each year.
  • Companies in the top percentile for employee engagement consistently outperform companies in the lowest percentile. Specifically, with 10% higher customer raters, 21% higher profitability and 40% fewer quality defects.
  • Engaged employees are more likely to stay at a job, while disengaged employees are more likely to seek other opportunities, opening your company up to the challenges of recruiting in job-seeker’s market with a 19-year-low unemployment rate.

How to Confront Employee Engagement

Employee Survey

Boosting employee engagement can be a daunting task because it seems so subjective. There isn’t one secret formula that will apply to all companies or employee populations, so a great place to start is with an employee survey. Take the initiative to gauge what your employees want. This will give you telling information that you can use and show your employees that you care about them. Which brings us to the next point…

Show Your Employees They Are Valued

Ninety-three percent of employees are more motivated to do their best work when they feel valued by their employer. Similarly 66% of employees would quit if they felt unappreciated. And finally, half of employees feel more like they belong when their work is valued. All of these statistics point to the employees desire to feel appreciated at their job.

Consider starting an employee recognition program to address this desire. On a smaller scale, make sure that managers understand that their employees want acknowledgement and feedback. Even simply saying, “Thank you,” can go a long way.

Engage Outside of the Workplace

Holding employee events that give them the chance to engage and bond with their coworkers outside the typical place of work can give employees a renewed sense of purpose when they return to their work. It also helps employees connect across different teams and levels of management, which helps break boundaries that can sometimes feel off-putting. Volunteer opportunities or team-building events work great for this.

Compensation and Benefits

Compensation and benefits can’t simply be regarded as two items to check off the list. They have to be strategically planned and implemented to recruit and retain as well as to reinforce your investment of and appreciation for your employees.

  • Compensation: Do you best to provide compensation that is competitive for the industry and their role.
  • Health Insurance: Benefits are the top consideration for staying at a company, with health insurance being #1. Investing in good health insurance for your employees shows that you care about their health and wellbeing. (Consider supplemental expense reimbursed insurance for the ability to provide powerful levels of coverage that can be offered selectively.)
  • Perks: Choose your perks wisely and align them with your culture. A ping pong table won’t do any good in promoting engagement if it doesn’t connect with your company values. Consider perks that will truly add value to your employees’ lives, like a discounted gym membership, healthy snacks or a weekly movie meetup that allows employee to get to know each other across teams.

Time to Get Started

Only 12% of employers are happy with their current engagement levels, and the majority of employees are disengaged, so there’s a lot of room to improve. Boosting employee engagement will have huge payout for your bottom line, your employees’ job satisfaction and your retention rates.


Access Perks.

Fast Company.

LinkedIn Talent Blog.


Talent Culture.

Harvard Business Review.

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