Best Employee Engagement Ideas for small business and big companies

main article image - Best Employee Engagement Ideas for small business and big companies


Regardless of whether you run a small or big company, you are probably facing a similar problem right now. The problem related to how to further develop your business and increase employee engagement when there are layoffs around the world, and is the economic crisis, and employees themselves increasingly feel that they don’t feel safe and are considering a change. What is currently happening in the world undoubtedly affects employee morale, and if we notice disengaged employees, it immediately affects the company's development. When the growth of the company slows down, further layoffs are necessary and history repeats itself again. Sounds terrible right? But unfortunately, that's the reality. As we can read at

“Layoffs in general are a bad way to run a business. In addition to making people more likely to leave the company voluntarily, layoffs ruin morale for those left behind and lower their productivity”.

If an employee feels engaged and job satisfaction, they become more productive, motivated, and loyal. This not only reduces employee turnover but also furthers the development of the company and your business. The problem with employee involvement occurs regardless of the size of your company and while I am unable to help you with the development of your business, I can help you with what to do to increase the engagement of your employees depending on the size of your company.

Small business

Create a culture of a small company

When we hear about something like this, we imagine that the whole strategy of building an organizational culture applies only to big businesses. The truth, however, is that in every company, even one that employs only 2 employees, a company culture is created. In smaller companies, however, due to the fact that their structure is not so extensive and the contact between teammates is direct, it’s easier for them to control what this company culture looks like. As part of such an organizational culture, it is worth considering things such as: how employees and managers are to communicate with each other, how often company events will be organized, and how employees will be rewarded and recognized. For example, if we want a friendly atmosphere in our company, we cannot allow it to become a standard that an employee has to address the manager as Sir or Mr. Director. Especially if we want the organizational structure of the company to be flat. If we, as owners or the HR department, don’t verify this and remind employees of it, it may happen that the employee-manager relationship will be more official and in this case, our company culture will not be as planned. In addition, considering that we work in a small company, so we have influence over more things and can react immediately, it’s worth checking on an ongoing basis whether our organizational culture is consistent with the company values. And above all, the fact that you are a small company is your big advantage. Small companies where the atmosphere is often more relaxed and less formal attract a certain type of employees who just love working in such conditions, and thus their engagement and employee performance, are always at the same level. Therefore, as a company owner or Human Resources, think carefully about what values and behaviors you want to introduce in the company as a standard, present them to the team, and soon see how everyone (new hire also)works better.

Be available

A smaller team is usually characterized by the fact that it is easier for you to talk to each other, communicate on some issues and agree on important things. Most often, you can just organize a meeting, discuss a topic, and collect feedback from the team and that's it. When something happens in the company, just say it in a meeting or send a message on Slack, and if the team wants to report something, just catch you in the office and the problem is solved. It seems so obvious, but in many smaller companies, it’s not. Companies want to grow, so they try to prepare procedures and formalities typical of big companies, which kills what is most beautiful in small companies: fast and easy communication. An open-door policy for everyone in the company can work wonders. An employee who knows that his boss is available at almost any time, that he can ask him for advice, and knows that when he needs help, he will help him, is simply satisfied with this job (e.g. during the employee onboarding process). Easy and fast communication helps, speeds up work and the employees feel that they are important to the company, and this affects what? Their engagement.

Let your employees develop

In a small company, there are not always opportunities or budgets for staff development, but from my perspective, a small company really has great opportunities for employee development. You must be wondering what am I talking about. After all, we don’t have such an extensive structure, which is why an employee often performs duties from a different position. And yes, I know a lot of people here would say, "Hey you, what about the money? This is employee exploitation!” Yeah, I'm talking about a situation where employees get raises and promotions as they develop and increase their responsibilities. So, if you develop an appropriate strategy and clearly define the rules that by engaging in new tasks or performing better and better, an employee can count on a promotion or a raise, employees will be even more willing to take on new challenges, they will feel involved and develop in every area, and you will develop your business faster and faster.

Let them work from home

When you have fewer employees, you probably know all of them, you know what their lives look like, so you trust them. Why not allow them flexible working hours and remote or hybrid work as much as your business allows? Believe me, your remote employees will be delighted. It is a sign that you simply trust them, and there is no better thing that will make employees want to work in your company even more, and that's an amazing idea for improving employee engagement. Of course, various situations in the company can happen and there may indeed be an employee who cannot cope with the freedom given to him and will have to work from the office under control. This is normal, it happens even in the best companies, but until you give this opportunity to your remote employees and don’t trust them, you will not know if it will be an interesting option for them. And above all, remember how their convenience affects efficiency, as we can read in Forbes.

“Once your employees no longer have to deal with the hassles of commuting, you'll be surprised at how much more efficient they can be. The hours they spent in traffic can now be spent on work.”

Take care of well-being

I used to associate such a thing as the work life balance and well-being of employees only with huge corporations that have huge budgets for it, but over time I found out that small companies can also effectively take care of the well-being of their employees. I don't mean a weekend at the spa, but simple things like a club sports card, and maybe some dental insurance. Or maybe if you can't afford that either, maybe just a day off for their birthday, a menstruation day off like in Spain, or another team bonding activity/fun activity? There are a lot of possibilities. Think about what you can afford and introduce anything that will take care of the well-being of employees, and they will certainly feel appreciated, and ultimately more engaged in work.

Give and collect feedback

Oh god, this should be standard. After all, our Human Resources department is constantly talking to employees, so if there were any problems, they would definitely tell us, wouldn't they? And then suddenly we are surprised that the best worker leaves us, and only then do we find out what he didn’t like about the company. It could have been predicted earlier. If you have a small team, organize regular 1:1 or do some anonymous polls. Maybe just collect employee feedback during company meetings and provide them with important feedback if necessary. There is nothing worse for the development of your company if the employees and the owner do not work in a culture of mutual feedback. Employee feedback is very important, even the worst and most anonymous one. When one side doesn't know about the problem, the problem doesn't go away. He is growing more and more. Therefore, create a company culture of honest feedback and develop together.

Recognize your employees

Just tell employees that you appreciate their work as an employee recognition. This can be done by simply saying thank you, sending kudos on Slack, or public praise, or simply giving the best-performing employee some kind of reward, e.g. a voucher, a trip, or an extra day off. These are small things and don’t have to cost a lot, and they can very effectively make the employee feel appreciated and thus increase their engagement. The smaller the company you are and your relations with employees are direct, the more important it will be for the employee and his employee performance, for example, to receive kudos or other written acknowledgments for work.

Big company

Check if your company culture is more human-friendly. But how? Does your company employ several hundred, several thousand employees? I sincerely doubt that you don’t have a structured and developed policy for your corporate culture. You've probably made a lot of assumptions, and you're doing everything in your power to ensure that employees adhere to these rules. And a big applause for you. There's no other way to do it on this scale. But are you sure that your employees follow it and that it is tailored to the real needs of your employees and what your culture really is? Is this organizational culture in line with the real company values of the company, or was it more invented by the board? Verify it, do some research, and analyze the conclusions. A company culture that is really matched to the needs of the board and employees results in greater attachment of employees to the company and their job satisfaction.

Introduce less formal communication

When there are 500 workers in a company, it's hard to know everyone, and it's hard to communicate with everyone directly. After all, you can't invite everyone to a meeting at the same time, collect feedback and discuss a given topic. This internal communication is unreal. You had to prepare appropriate standards and procedures even for communication to make everyone's work easier. You probably also notice that your internal communication has become more formal because of all this. On the one hand, that's good. When a company sends a corporate message, it’s prepared in such a way that it is understood by everyone. It is also informative enough to avoid unnecessary questions. On the other hand, there is a lack of more human-friendly communication that will allow you to discuss a given topic, engage employees in the discussion, and listen to new needs. You won't be able to change it all over the company at once, but maybe introducing less formal communication at the level of all departments will help. If employees can freely discuss the most important issues with their managers every time and know that they can talk to them about anything, they will trust and feel more engaged in the company. But for this to happen, management and HR departments must trust managers, let them take full responsibility for their departments, and let them talk to employees about the most important issues. Allow teams to communicate less formally, and no one will say a bad word about your company and you will notice high employee engagement.

Let what you do matter

As we can read at

“People want to spend their time in meaningful ways. Purpose is the way you make a difference in the world. It's why you matter. All humans seek purpose, and employees are emboldened more than ever to go find it”

But you are not a startup that lives with the vision that it will change the lives of millions of people, you just do your job. You have a huge factory in Texas, so it's hard to convince anyone that your paper cups are a discovery and will change the course of world history. But even the paper cup factory in Texas was founded with a story and a mission, someone is behind it and people work there who also have an interesting history, so make sure that every team member feels the spirit of your company. After all, you are a workplace that does something important and useful for the world. You don't have to be a unicorn from the IT industry for employees to be proud to work for you. But how to do it? Show that the board itself, the HR department, and top managers believe in the company's mission. That what everyone does is important. If the directors are bored, disappear for days, and do not know what the company does, how can they infect others with passion? There's a reason many people would give anything to work with Elon Musk. His passion and mission are contagious and can make every employee so engaged that some would even work for him for free.

Take care of well-being in a simple way

You probably have much more opportunities and a larger budget than a smaller company, but no one will expect you to offer your employees trips to the Maldives as a benefit. However, if you have a larger budget, you can do more, and thus you probably have much more to offer in the employee benefits offer. But do engaged employee receive benefits from you that are the simplest and at the same time the best for him? I mean solutions such as the possibility of workation, remote work, and flexible working hours. These are small and simple things that are not expensive and don’t affect the work performed by the employee and can really make your company's employees feel recognized and, above all, feel that you trust them. I know that numerous remote employees require even more control, but if you set standards for such simple benefits throughout the company, it will certainly succeed. It may need to be verified after some time, but it's still worth a try.

Trust employees

I wrote about it above, but with numerous employees and thus in various strange situations, it’s difficult to build a company culture that trusts its employees 100%. Unfortunately, the bigger the company, the more controls, procedures, and someone who manages the team are needed. However, try to control employees less and see if they reward you with greater commitment and employee loyalty. Instead of checking every minute if a team member is working, try to give the employee more freedom and after some time check if this best practice works or not. Believe me, 90% of employees will continue to work hard and become happier and more engaged in the process. And the 10% that will probably work worse? It’s normal. There will always be someone who still needs to be worked on, but the rest should not lose the opportunity to receive a large dose of trust from you because of them.

Honestly recognize employees

You probably have an extensive policy on rewards, salary increases, etc. Every employee probably knows what they should do to receive a reward, and probably knows exactly what reward they will get when they meet certain conditions. Perhaps you have a range of different rewards on offer, everything is described and automated. But do you remember human relations in all this? Even the best-performing employee who won a trip to the spa, a raise, or a promotion would also like to hear a simple “thank you” from his supervisor. It seems so simple, and there are plenty of companies, both small and large, where employees, even well-paid, have never heard from their supervisor that they are proud of them or that they thank them for their hard work. Most often, they get an email from the HR department about winning a trip and thanking them for their work, and the manager will pretend it didn't happen. Sounds familiar? In corporations, you hear a lot about exploiting employees and that it’s not worth trying. But what's the point of an employee trying if, apart from the rewards policy, no one really notices their efforts? Try to change it and if you need a simple solution, try sending a simple kudos on your internal company messenger like Teams and remember to encourage employees in it.


Regardless of the size of your company, it’s worth implementing a small and simple employee engagement strategy that will ultimately increase involvement and employee happiness. You don't have to start a revolution right away with these employee engagement ideas. Try small things first and see if they work. You will only be able to develop your startup or further build your company if you have engaged employees. Where employee engagement drops, there is a business that stops growing, and you want to be still on the market in 30 years, right? Take care of your best capital, which is your employees, and together you will achieve a lot. 

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