Improving employee engagement in 2022

It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do. We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.

Steve Jobs

According to a recent Gallup poll, only 20% of people feel engaged in their jobs. Only one fifth of the entire global workforce are emotionally invested at work – willing to commit their time, effort and talent to advance the company’s goals. So what can be done? Here are our top tips to improve employee engagement at work:

Listen to people

Two-way conversations are a powerful, and increasingly rare, thing between employers and employees. Rather than talking at their staff, good companies regularly engage their workforce in conversation.

You can do this in a number of ways.

  • Ensure that annual or six-monthly reviews are ‘360’ (employees giving feedback to their managers, and vice-versa).
  • Involve everyone when setting business objectives, not just the executives. It’s much easier to feel engaged with a company’s mission when you’ve helped to shape it.
  • Check in regularly, ‘just because’. You don’t have to wait for a review or big company event to listen to your employees; make a habit of checking in whenever you can, and letting them lead the conversation.

Show people why their work matters

In 1962, with the space race in full swing, President Kennedy visited NASA. While walking down a corridor he saw a janitor, mop in hand, cleaning the floor. “Hi, I’m Jack Kennedy, what are you doing here?” asked the President. “Well sir,” replied the janitor, “I’m helping to put a man on the moon”.

It’s an oft-repeated story with an important point at its heart. No matter whether you’re an executive planning strategy, or a cleaner making the workplace a nicer place to be, you’re contributing. You’re furthering the goals of your company, just by turning up and doing a good job. This is true of all companies; the only difference is, great companies make sure their employees know this.

Recognise their achievements

We all like it when someone recognises our hard work. But even with the best of intentions, internal recognition programmes often fall by the wayside. They take a lot of time to manage, and are often (wrongly) seen as ‘lower priority’, taking a back seat to other projects.

All of which is incredible when you consider that companies with formal recognition programmes have 31% lower turnover, and are twelve times more likely to have strong business outcomes.

That’s where a programme like The WOW! Awards can help. By running an employee recognition scheme externally, you’ll gain an unbiased, inclusive, and easy-to-manage programme that will uncover the very best of your company. We make it easy for customers and co-workers alike to nominate people for their excellent service, and every entry is read and considered by an impartial third party.

Recognising such hard work is one of the best ways to make your employees feel more engaged.


Look after your employees

A study by Mind showed that 60% of employees would feel more motivated if their employer supported their mental wellbeing. It sounds like an obvious point – people are more likely to be engaged with a company that looks out for their health. But it’s something many employers are still getting wrong.


There are countless ways to help your employees’ mental and physical health (the two often go hand-in-hand, after all). A few easy wins include:

  • More flexible working. The idea of letting workers choose their hours, or where they work, used to be the domain of only the most forward-thinking companies. But in a post-Covid world, many of us are already benefiting from the increased freedom, and wellbeing, that flexible working provides.
  • Workout classes. Participating in regular workouts can do wonders for our mental health. Gym subscriptions, Zoom yoga classes, and even vouchers to local leisure centres will all make a big difference to employee wellbeing.
  • “Ommmm.” Meditation is an effective way to de-stress and reduce anxiety, and it’s easy to set a class up in the office. All you need is a room, a teacher, and a spare 30 minutes.
  • Eat healthy. That vending machine in the corner of the office – the one filled with crisps and chocolate – is great. But if you want to look after your employees’ health, make sure to offer healthy snack options too.

Want to improve your employee engagement?

Get in touch with The WOW! Awards today