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20 Low Cost Employee Engagement Ideas

Employee engagement is not just a buzzword in the corporate world; it’s a vital aspect of the workplace. Engaged employees are more productive, creative, and committed, which directly impacts a company’s bottom line and overall workplace morale. When employee engagement is low, the signs are clear and hard to ignore. You’ll notice employees missing work, coming in late, and productivity plummeting.

 There are a lot of reasons for low employee engagement. Some of those reasons are serious enough to require management’s full attention. The impact of low employee engagement is too severe to take lightly. When the situation is dire, employers may need to spend thousands of dollars figuring out and implementing, new strategies to improve engagement.

The good news is there are some activities that you can do as a leader to help improve employee engagement. In this article, we’ll look at some of those low-cost engagement activities that you can implement today.

1. Lunch & Learns

A creative strategy for increasing employee engagement and professional development is the lunch and learn. These casual gatherings, which are usually conducted during lunch, give staff members a chance to learn and contribute about a variety of subjects. The great thing about Lunch & Learns is that staff members are given the opportunity to speak on subjects they are enthusiastic about, and the organization may periodically invite outside experts or trainers.

This might be a hobby they are passionate about. It could also be insights from a recent course they attended. An added benefit of a light lunch can create a casual atmosphere, that promotes candid communication and teamwork among coworkers. In addition to imparting knowledge, Lunch & Learns give staff members a chance to improve their public speaking and presentation abilities. This could be a confidence booster for the presenters.


2. Recognition Board

Oftentimes, employees appreciate the praise and approval of their peers more than their bosses. This is because some employees feel like their managers and supervisors “have to” recognize them. However, when they are recognized by a peer, it can often be seen as more genuine. A recognition board is a dedicated space, physical or digital, where team members can post notes of appreciation, shout-outs, or accolades for their colleagues.

This constant flow of affirmation has the power to greatly improve morale and create an appreciation culture within the company. Peer recognition of an employee’s efforts fortifies relationships between coworkers. With time, this appreciation culture may encourage staff members to continuously give their best effort because they will know that their efforts will not go unappreciated.


3. Flexible Hours

There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that a strict 9–5 schedule may not always be the best means of guaranteeing productivity. This is one of the reasons why there has been a rise in flexible working hours for many companies. If you are not in a position to allow all of your staff to work flexible hours, offering it as an incentive may be a way to increase engagement.

By offering flexible hours, employers show that they trust and respect workers’ preferences for flexible work schedules and personal obligations. While some people may find that they are more productive later in the day, others may find that starting early helps them escape the rush-hour commute. 

Additionally, this flexibility can be especially helpful for workers who must juggle obligations to their families, such as dropping off children at school. All things considered, having flexible hours can result in better work-life balance, less stress, and higher job satisfaction. All of which raise engagement levels.


4. Monthly Challenges

A fun approach to promote collaboration, encourage healthy competition, and break up the monotony of the daily grind is through Monthly Challenges. These challenges can be anything from intellectual interests like a book club to health objectives like a step challenge, or they can even be creative competitions like photography or storytelling.

Participation, teamwork, and experience sharing are more important than winning per se. These challenges can offer workers a welcome diversion from their regular responsibilities and something to look forward to each month.

In addition to encouraging participation, they also advance personal development, teamwork, and holistic well-being. Employers and employees benefit from this because it’s never been simpler to organize and track these difficulties thanks to the digital tools that are already available.



5. Remote Work Days

In recent years, the idea of working remotely has become increasingly popular as more companies realize its many advantages. Allowing workers to work from home, even only once a month, can be a very effective engagement strategy. Being adaptable shows trust and acknowledges that being physically present in the office isn’t the only factor in productivity.

Employees who work remotely can create their own workspace, away from typical workplace interruptions, which frequently results in higher concentration and productivity.

It also provides a break from the regular commute, allowing workers to spend more time relaxing or pursuing personal interests. Organizations can increase employee morale, lower burnout, and reaffirm their commitment to well-being by demonstrating understanding of and flexibility toward current work preferences.


6. Mentorship Programs

One tried-and-true method for encouraging staff development and engagement is mentoring. Establishing a mentorship program that pairs together less experienced or newer employees with more seasoned coworkers helps keep both parties engaged. This is because mentoring by nature is an activity that requires active participation.

These kinds of mentoring relationships provide a secure environment in which mentees can seek advice, raise concerns, and work through parts of their jobs. It is also a chance for mentors to give back, impart information, and hone their leadership abilities.

These mentor-mentee connections frequently develop into enduring professional ties over time. Employees feel more engaged and committed to their jobs when they are aware that the organization appreciates their development and offers resources to support it.


7. Feedback Sessions

The basis for development and progress is feedback. Frequent feedback sessions, in which staff members are invited to share their thoughts, worries, or recommendations, can be very helpful in boosting engagement.

Whether arranged as focus groups, town hall meetings, or one-on-one conversations, these gatherings send a strong message: the company respects the opinions of its workers. Such open lines of communication can produce useful insights and highlight previously unnoticed opportunities for improvement.

Crucially, when workers see their input translate into real improvements, it creates a sense of pride and ownership in the company’s accomplishments, which encourages a more dedicated and proactive workforce.


8. Anniversaries and birthdays

While it may seem like a simple gesture to celebrate personal milestones like birthdays and work anniversaries, doing so can have a significant effect on employee engagement and morale. Employees are shown that you regard them as more than just workers when you acknowledge these moments.

Simple gestures of gratitude, such as a card, a shared cake, or a team shout-out, can help staff members feel valued and special. Such personal touches strengthen the relationship between the organization and its members, establishing a more inclusive and close-knit community in an era where personal and professional lives frequently overlap.


9. Potluck Lunches

Food has always been a common means of communication and friendship. Having potluck lunches, when staff members bring food to share, may be a fun way to celebrate the cultural variety and build team bonds. Each dish, which is frequently connected to personal tastes or cultural origins, provides a distinct window into the person who created it.

Over a shared lunch, these interactions can lower barriers, promote engagement between teams, and improve the culture of the company. In addition to being tasty, potluck lunches promote community and sharing. This strengthens the belief that each team member is essential to the success of the business as a whole.




Workshops offer a multidimensional strategy for fostering interpersonal ties, skill development, and education in the workplace. Organizations can accommodate the many interests and requirements of their workforce by organizing a variety of seminars on subjects. Some subjects can be really beneficial such as stress management, financial planning, or do-it-yourself crafts.

These workshops not only provide useful knowledge and skills but also give a respite from the daily grind, encouraging new ideas and creative thinking. Additionally, businesses convey a strong message to their staff members by funding workshops: they value their personal and professional growth.

Encouragement of staff members to propose or conduct workshops according to their areas of expertise can help strengthen their sense of pride and ownership in helping the team as a whole.

Walking Meetings

Walking meetings are a welcome change from sedentary offices and screen time in today’s environment. These meetings, which take place outside instead of in a conference room, combine professional discussions with physical activity. This can help boost creativity and enhance mental health. The act of simply strolling alongside one another at a nearby park can encourage more open communication. 

Just by getting out of the office, leaders can help dismantle the barriers of hierarchy and encourage the free exchange of ideas. Walking meetings can also be very helpful in boosting focus, reviving participants, and preventing the afternoon slump.

With sitting all day at work being one of the unhealthiest activities most Americans take part in, walking meetings can also provide health benefits. 


Skill Swap

A skill swap is a straightforward but revolutionary idea that lets staff members benefit from each other’s varied areas of expertise. This is done through an exchange where one employee teaches another and also learns from them. These seminars unlock the hidden potential within an organization.

A graphic designer, for example, can teach fundamental design concepts. A programmer can educate a group of co-workers on the fundamentals of a programming language. Skill swaps promote cross-departmental connections.

This is a great way to shatter silos and promote collaboration. Acknowledging that each team member possesses a distinct set of skills and establishing a forum for showcasing and celebrating these abilities may greatly enhance team spirit and reciprocal esteem.


Suggestion Box

The suggestion box, a time-honored technique for getting input, is still relevant in the modern digital world. Employers promote open communication by providing a venue where staff members can freely discuss ideas, issues, or remarks in confidence.

Reviewing and acting upon these ideas regularly shows an approach to continuous improvement. When their suggestions are considered and, when applicable, implemented, workers feel more valued and a part of the team. People can feel empowered and take ownership of the organization’s growth by doing this modest activity.

 Employee satisfaction is an important employee engagement metric that employers should track. Having a suggestion box can give you some insight into what employees feel needs to change in their workplace that may be keeping them unsatisfied. 

Desk Customization

Personalizing one’s workspace has a big beneficial impact on morale. It also just feels good to have a working space that is uniquely decorated. Employers that value individuality allow their staff to customize their workstations; in fact, this is something that ought to be promoted.

A setting can be made more hospitable and creatively favorable by adding personal touches. For example, family photos, motivational quotes, plants, or quirky stationery. In addition to being a conversation starter, a personalized workstation can help team members get to know one another. They can also help discover one another’s diverse backgrounds and interests.

Employers should encourage their employees to customize their workstations, desks, and offices. Personalizing a work area fundamentally reinforces individuality, enhances mental well-being, and adds coziness to the office environment.


Break Room Upgrade

A break room is a refuge that may help workers rest and recharge. Despite the name, it is not just a place to stop and take a break. It is possible to make the break room more comfortable for informal gatherings and rest by putting in comfortable seats, board games, books, and even plants.

These enhancements provide much-needed comfort from the rigors of the workweek. They also help team members form stronger social relationships. Also, an inviting break room could encourage employees to completely disconnect during their breaks.

Detaching from work for a period of time can help enhance productivity when they return. Basically, funding the break room is an investment in the happiness and health of the staff.


Team Volunteering

There is something special that happens when people are working together for the common good of others. Helping the world a better place can be very rewarding so doing so with co-workers helps build a special bond.

Volunteering, when done cooperatively, can enhance interpersonal connections in addition to providing an unparalleled sense of delight. Setting up team volunteer events like food drives, environmental clean-ups, or charities gives workers a chance to collaborate outside of their typical responsibilities.

They can establish a personal connection since the focus is to give back to the community. In addition to establishing a sense of camaraderie within the workplace, these events promote the company’s beliefs and dedication to social responsibility.


Hobby Clubs

Every organization has a hidden treasure mine of interests and talents. Companies can support work-life balance and personal growth by facilitating the establishment of hobby clubs that focus on similar interests. You can have clubs for photography, gardening, music, or any other activity.

These clubs allow workers a space to unwind, share their knowledge, and pick up tips from peers. Additionally, they provide a specific arena for interdepartmental conversation that encourages tolerance and understanding. Essentially, hobby clubs serve to establish a complete, helpful, and vibrant workplace culture.

Some of the suggestions on this list need to be done in person. However, this suggestion is a great employee engagement activity for remote workers.


Coffee Chats

Over a cup of coffee, casual discussions can frequently result in meaningful connections and insights. Having coffee chats means that you are matching a group of employees from different departments to sit and chat about various topics.

These meetings are informal with no set agenda. Employees have a chance to get to know each other, understand more about their place in the company, and possibly discuss future collaborations. The key to these meetings is to switch things up so that different people are meeting each month. Before you know it, the company will feel more intimate because individuals will have spent quality time with each other.


DIY Awards

Do-It-Yourself awards are acknowledgments that are given to team members that are specific to their line of business. These awards are not usually given on the corporate level. The reason is that these types of awards are supposed to acknowledge the unique skills and contributions of team members. 

For example, a group can award the”Problem Solver of the Month”. This may be a person who figured out how to solve a problem for the team. Or, you can also create a “Team Spirit Award” for the person who injects the most positivity into their work.

Encourage team members to nominate and vote for one another. DIY rewards not only raise spirits but also encourage healthy competition and a desire for excellence.


Celebration of Cultural Festivals

Today’s global society is a melting pot of ethnicities and backgrounds in the workplace. Taking part in different cultural festivals and celebrations broadens perspectives, promotes inclusivity, and improves workplace culture.

These social gatherings provide an opportunity for employees to share their traditions, stories, and favorite foods. You can also integrate this with another employee engagement activity. For example, have a cultural potluck where employees bring foods from their respective cultures.

Employee engagement may be considerably increased by embracing diversity and incorporating it into the foundation of the business by making each feel valued, respected, and celebrated.



Low employee engagement is not an issue that can be resolved overnight. It may require changes in personnel, approach, or even leadership to effectively address. However, you can begin to improve the situation by making an effort to integrate activities that your team will enjoy.

Also read:

How to Form an Employee Engagement Committee

Thomas Martin
Tom is a member of the Editorial Team at StartUp Mindset. He has over 6 years of experience with writing on business, entrepreneurship, and other topics. He mainly focuses on online businesses, digital publishing, marketing and eCommerce startups.

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Tom is a member of the Editorial Team at StartUp Mindset. He has over 6 years of experience with writing on business, entrepreneurship, and other topics. He mainly focuses on online businesses, digital publishing, marketing and eCommerce startups.

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