Employee Engagement Best Practices and Case Studies

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Employee Engagement Best Practices and Case Studies

Key Takeaways

  • Employee engagement is essential in the workplace; a study found that employee engagement decreased turnover by 14.9% and increased productivity by 69% in workplaces.
  • BKD had used Quantum Workplace's platform to promote continuous coaching to employees as well as build "an inclusive feedback culture for more frequent and meaningful conversations."
  • Internal comms play a key role in "ensuring a good mutual understanding and cooperation within the workforce." According to a survey by Harris Poll, over 70% of employees were engaged when their organization provided clear internal communication regarding information of value.


This research report contains two best practices around developing employee engagement programs and three case studies of companies that have successfully developed employee engagement programs for their hourly employees.

Best Practice: Employees' Ideas

  • The program should be developed around employees' ideas. This can be done through employee suggestion programs and by replacing the old suggestion box.
  • Similar to customer feedback programs, employee suggestion programs (ESP) invites employees to voice their concerns and share ideas for solutions. While many companies already offer ESP's, many of them don't utilize technology to ensure that it's as effective as possible. And although a wooden suggestion box placed on the wall is a good start, suggestions aren't always checked regularly; this risks resentment and confusion. Switching to a digital solution can increase accountability and improve the process for listening to employees' suggestions.
  • According to a study conducted by the Employee Involvement Association, organizations can expect to save almost $350 annually per employee through the implementation of an employee suggestion system.
  • According to Charles Martin, the author of Employee Suggestion Systems: Boosting Productivity and Profits, "companies that set up effective "suggestion systems are finding that employees have great ideas that can lower costs, increase revenues, improve efficiency, or produce greater quality."

Best Practice: Internal Comms

  • The company should ensure that good internal comms are part of their employee engagement solution.
  • Internal comms play a key role in "ensuring a good mutual understanding and cooperation within the workforce."
  • According to a survey by Harris Poll, over 70% of employees were engaged when their organization provided clear internal communication regarding information of value.
  • According to Forbes, "when employees are kept in the loop of what’s happening internally, their loyalty and satisfaction increase ultimately improving the annual revenue and reputation of the company."
  • Gallup found that companies with a highly engaged workforce outperform their competitors by 147%.
  • The Holmes Report revealed that companies with strong internal comm strategies gave shareholders 47% higher returns.
  • Trade Press Services posted an article regarding the importance of using internal comms to enhance business growth. They revealed that "85% of employees said they’re most motivated when management offers regular updates on company news."
  • An example of good internal communications leading to positive outcomes can be seen in the case of Thomson Reuters. When Thomson Reuters improved its internal comms, they were able to address their problem regarding how their employees are not placing enough importance on innovation. After implementing good internal comms, Thomson Reuters saw "an upturn in the number of requested innovation projects."

Case Study: Microsoft

  • Microsoft is a multinational tech company that sells computer hardware, software, and related services; they are an example of a company that's successfully developed an employee engagement program for their employees. Microsoft had invested heavily in internal comms and the improvement of employee experience in various departments.
  • For example, Microsoft had teamed up with Centrical to make their contact center service agents be more productive, responsible, and engaged.
  • Microsoft had implemented Centrical in its call centers for its "ability to fuel engagement through advanced gamification, while combining learning and performance data into one platform."
  • The program would reward call center agents intrinsically as well as give them personalized goals. Using Centrical, agents are given a visual reminder showing them how every activity they do matters and would get them closer towards their goals. Microsoft would offer employee points and badges to those who exhibit positive behaviors such as adherence to schedule.
  • Soon after this program was implemented, 78% of Microsoft's call center agents expressed that they felt more empowered and ready to do better at their work, and absenteeism dropped by 12% overall.
  • Microsoft had utilized its own products (e.g. Microsoft 365) in order to improve communications and employee engagement.
  • The programs had resulted in more interconnected and personalized employee experiences; it has also enabled Microsoft employees to innovate, create, and collaborate seamlessly among the teams that they belong to and work with.
  • Eighty-five percent of Microsoft employees say that they are proud to be part of the company.

Case Study: BKD + Quantum Workplace

  • BKD is in the professional/scientific/tech services industry, and they are one of the largest U.S. advisory and accounting firms; they have between 2,501 to 5,000 employees.
  • According to Julie Cummings, the managing director and chief human resources officer (HRO) at BKD, they built their programs by listening to the themes and feedback gathered through their annual engagement survey as well as other feedback tools, and then generating action plans to support improvement." She also added that the company had identified a direct link between engagement and employee performance.
  • BKD utilized Quantum Workplace to provide a solution for performance management transformation. BKD knew that it was imperative to implement an effective solution that would drive frequent and meaningful coaching conversations. By implementing this solution, BKD could "drive employee engagement, increase performance, and help with employees' goal achievement."
  • Through their employee engagement survey data, BKD was able to identify what would most efficiently engage employees. And based on the findings, BKD implemented "one-on-ones". Within this tool, templates were created to efficiently "drive quarterly conversations between career coaches and employees, encouraging regular touchpoints and more meaningful discussion about goals and development."
  • BKD also used the same approach with feedback by providing employees with a tool they could use to request and give real-time feedback to ensure that employees were on the right path for success.
  • Through this tool, "employees could gather input from different perspectives, including from a 360° view, to provide them with a deeper self-awareness, better relationships, and professional development acceleration."
  • Key Performance Successes:
    • Eighty-six percent of employees are "proud to work with BKD."
    • Seventy-six percent of employees believe that "BKD’s people-first culture drives their overall success."

Case Study: Molson Coors Beverage Company

  • Molson Coors operates as a brewing company that brews and produces beer. Molson Coors is an example of a company that has successfully executed an engagement plan amongst its employees.
  • Their employee engagement initiatives have produced engaged employees that were five times less likely than non-engaged employees "to have a safety incident and seven times less likely to have a lost-time safety incident."
  • Engagement had also improved sales performance at Molson Coors. And as a result of the initiatives, the company had saved over $1.7 million in just one year.

Research Strategy

In order to determine some of the best practices around developing employee engagement programs, we looked at blogs, research papers, and news articles and then cross-referenced them with similar resources. We then looked at surveys, polls, and studies in order to find quantitative and qualitative data that can be used in the report as evidence that the best practices included in the report had yielded positive results. We then synthesized the information that we have compiled throughout the course of the research to produce this research report.

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