Our 5 Favorite Employee Engagement Tools
Employee engagement tools aren’t that complicated. But for some reason, we’ve made it into this massive undertaking that seems to require expensive systems and products to solve. And this is because we don’t really understand engagement and why employees are disengaged at work. But our clients have seen tremendous success by starting with improving communication. The best engagement tools don’t need to break the bank—they just need to be ingrained in your strategy and fueled by employee input.
All our top employee engagement tools are free. And all of them touch on a different element of the employee experience that fosters engagement.
Number One: An Employee Engagement Survey
What it is: This is a survey that asks questions about an employees experience and engagement levels.
Why it boosts engagement: These surveys help pinpoint areas for improvement regarding the employee experience. For example, they might help you uncover that manager communication is lacking or that they lack sufficient tools to do their jobs and this is causing disengagement.
Free Tools: All you need is a survey tool to get started. A few options:
- Google Forms
Number Two: Employee Recognition
What it is: Employee recognition comes in many forms, all of which are intended to show an employee that you notice and appreciate their contributions. Recognition can come in the form of tokens of appreciation (e.g. holiday gifts), but they don’t have to cost anything. In fact, a simple “Thank You” from managers during shift meetings and one on one can make a huge difference. And senior leaders and the internal comms team can also regularly source pictures of employees and share recognition stories company-wide.
Why it boosts engagement: A staggering two-thirds of employees don’t feel adequately appreciated for the work they do (Software Advice). By investing in finding employee stories, regularly giving public recognition, and training your managers to be better at recognizing their teams, you’ll begin to show your teams you do care and appreciate them. A simple “thank you” is arguably the cheapest yet most effective of these employee engagement tools.
Free Tools: Most of these don’t require any software. But if you want to create videos to recognize team members we recommend KineMaster (a free video editing app for your phone). And to create great visuals to share, you can’t get any better than Canva.
Number Three: Employee Resource Groups
What it is: An employee resource group (ERG) is an employee-led (but employer supported) group with the aim to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace. They are a place where employees can openly share their experiences.
Why it boosts engagement: Diversity, equity, and inclusion are vital to your people feeling like they are accepted and belong. Too many companies don’t make DEI enough of a priority. ERGs are a good first step towards improving DEI at your company. Without DEI, your employees may feel unheard, undervalued, and unsafe. And that is unacceptable. You will never improve engagement if you don’t start by treating your people with the respect they deserve.
Free Tools: Brilliant Ink has done incredible work gathering resources on DEI, anti-racism, and allyship into one resource center.
Number Four: Robust Training and Growth Plans
What it is: This category can take many forms (video, conferences, online courses, etc.), and we understand that budget really might be a roadblock here. But this should be something you take into consideration as you build strategies and work cross-functionally across your organization. Consider:
- Is enough training provided at orientation and in the first few months on the job?
- What job training resources do you currently have for continued success?
- What kind of growth and promotional paths are available to your employees?
- Is there a budget for continued learning (e.g. additional certifications, schooling, or even conferences)?
And in each of these cases, ask yourself if these resources are easily accessible to your deskless teams. Unfortunately, when most companies invest in employee engagement tools, they fail to adequately include the frontline in that strategy.
Why it boosts engagement: We all want opportunities for growth. If there is no development track or training options at your company, then employees might have to seek employment elsewhere to move up in a company. And, for some deskless workers, these opportunities are very rare. Providing these opportunities are a great way to show employees that you are invested in them and their future—which promotes loyalty and can reinvigorate someone in their job if they are feeling stuck.
Number Five: Team Huddles/Shift Meetings
What it is: A team huddle or shift meeting is when all employees on a team are brought together. These often include talking about goals for the shift, areas for improvement, and recognition for what’s gone well recently. They are often the time where managers are expected to share company updates and reminders (if you want to learn how to avoid this cascade of communication, let’s get in touch).
Why it boosts engagement: 70% of the variance in engagement comes down to the manager (Gallup). That’s a lot riding on their shoulders, and this makes #4 even more important. You have to train your managers to be better communicators and give them the tools they need to have better conversations and positive relationships with their direct reports.