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Last Updated February 16, 2021

Employee engagement programs – do they make a difference?

Do you have an employee engagement program in place at your workplace? Have you ever wondered if these programs are making a difference?

The process of engaging employees is a task that needs to be managed throughout the employee lifecycle.  It is  important to understand what motivates each employee and check in with them regularly. 

An effective employee engagement program is an important part in making individuals feel a part of the business and valued for the work they produce.  It is also important in developing a good brand.

There are a few different ways in which you can check in with employees, individually or collectively, to find out how they are feeling and if something is not working well, what can be changed. These include:

  • 1 on 1 Meetings; regardless of whether an employee and their supervisor / manager have scheduled regular meetings or arrange ad hoc meetings when required, they are a great opportunity to have a conversation.

It is important to set the environment; maybe catch up for a coffee or arrange a walking meeting,  encourage the employee to open up about what is working well and what needs to change and genuinely listen to the answers.

  • Performance Appraisals; are a more structured way to have a conversation with an employee and can include questions around the role and where the employee sees themselves in the future along with any gaps in their capabilities.

During the meeting make notes about what is discussed and make arrangements to follow up on any items, set review dates and if necessary develop a plan.

  • Employee Engagement Surveys; are a great way to gather information anonymously either electronically or via a paper based survey, to gain insight into employees’ thoughts and attitudes towards their work and the overall environment as well as determine if there are some underlying trends amongst your employees. 

When you send the survey out to employees it is helpful to provide context around the survey, the questions or themes that are covered, what will be done with their responses and if their responses are confidential or anonymous. This will encourage participation and for individuals to open up and be honest about how they are feeling. 

The questions that you can ask your employees about often focus on the following areas;

Business Reputation

Employees care about where they work and when they do, it shows as they go the extra mile. They want to see the business succeed and they are committed to the future of the business. Pride is not just about performing their role, it makes them show up to work focused, align with their colleagues, and ready to tackle problems with solutions.


Effective managers and leaders can make a massive difference to the engagement of your workforce. This means individuals who articulate business values, are accessible and approachable, communicate well, and follow up with appropriate actions. 

Type of work

We spend so much time at work it is important to find a role that engages us, amongst a team of like minded people that we get along with and with access to the necessary tools and resources. Use the information gathering process to ask your employees how challenging (and motivating) their work is and whether there’s a clear line of sight between their performance and the business goals.

Career aspirations and development

Ambitious employees are a good thing as they are self-motivated and productive members of the team. Use this process to find out which employees have greater career aspirations then their current role and if they have the support they need to get where they want to go. You may risk losing them if you are unable to meet their career goals is important. 


Most roles within a business will require interaction with other peers to get the job done. No matter what the size of the business is it important to foster positive working relationships between employees including: how they interact, how they view each other’s abilities, and what they see as the strengths and weaknesses of the workforce. How employees view their colleagues can have a huge impact on their morale and faith in meeting business goals. 

Some examples of the types of questions you might like to ask your employees are:

  • Do you enjoy your role?
  • Is a challenging role and career progression important?
  • How do you rate the managers and leaders of the business?
  • Do you know the company goals and how your role supports their achievement?
  • What is your experience with your team members?
  • Do your peers have the necessary skills and knowledge to perform their role?
  • How often do they feel stressed or overwhelmed?
  • Are they happy with the current training we provide?

Simply measuring employee engagement isn’t enough to foster an engaged workforce. Once you have collected your employees’ responses, it’s time to analyse the data for trends and issues as well as communicate back to the employees the outcomes of the feedback provided. 

So in conclusion, effective engagement programs do make a difference.  Motivated, happy and connected employees are some of the outcomes of engaged employees. This results in positive outcomes for your business overall.  Do you need some help developing your employee engagement strategy? At Small Business Society, we can help you with that.  Contact us today.

The information provided in this document is for your guidance only and is general in nature. It does not constitute as legal advice. It is the responsibility of the individual to seek legal advice where required.

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About Kate Tongue

Kate Tongue is the founding Director of Small Business Society.

She is a qualified and experienced Human Resources professional with more than 10 years of experience across the private and public sectors.

Her particular interest and experience is in managing the employee life cycle, delivering process improvements, and Human Resource strategy.

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