Business Management / Culture

How to improve employee engagement for small business

Laura Dolan

Updated: Dec 11, 2023 · 5 min read

Toolkit for download in this article

employee engagement for small business

As a small business owner, have you given employee engagement much thought? Maybe you feel just saying good morning and having a fancy Keurig machine in the kitchen with a variety of brews will suffice.

According to popular demand in the corporate world, not so much. Employees want to feel they’re much more than just minions working for The Man. They want to feel appreciated and part of a professional family while working toward something important and rewarding.

Here are tips for how to improve employee engagement for small business:

Engage from the get-go

During the onboarding process, it’s important that you make the first day for a new hire more than just filling out paperwork. While this is very important (establishing direct deposit, signing up for benefits, 401K, etc.) you want to make sure you also create a first day experience that will inspire your employees from day one.

My first day at Keap was unlike any first day I’ve ever experienced in all the jobs I’ve ever worked. It was super organized. I started with 11 other new hires, we were taken into a board room where we spent the first five hours getting to know different coworkers and departments, signing forms, getting our pictures taken for our badges, touring the building, receiving our laptops as the IT department walked us through all the programs we needed to sign into with our credentials, etc.

Once we were situated, they served us a catered lunch and we all ate with our respective bosses. It was wonderful–I didn’t feel overwhelmed, alone or lost like I had in the past.

Provide the right tools

Make sure your new hires, or even long-term employees for that matter, have everything they need to be successful at their jobs. Maybe they’d prefer a stand-up desk so they can have the option to sit down or stretch their legs throughout the day. Maybe they need multiple monitors to work on multiple projects at once. Help enhance their efficiency any way you can.

At Keap, management ensures we have everything we need even if we work remotely. If there’s a meeting, we use Webex to participate from an outside location. If we need anything, we use Slack to communicate with different departments using the multiple Slack channels that are available. That makes it easier to speak directly with benefits and payroll, the facilities department, IT, our own respective departments, which in my case would be marketing, etc.

Streamlining processes within the company’s infrastructure will set your team up for success and help it have an effortless experience getting through the workday.


This is another important aspect of onboarding. It’s important to provide proper training to employees to help them gain a better understanding of their roles and feel more confident in what they were hired to do.

Create a training session in which multiple employees can participate, providing a sense of camaraderie within the business and motivating them to learn together.

Training provides opportunities for more growth and success, instilling loyalty and diligence among team members who will bring their A-game going forward.

Employee recognition

Having a program in place such as Employee of the Month will promote great motivation in those individuals who want to be recognized and appreciated for their efforts in front of their peers.

Here at Keap, we have a company huddle once per month where Keapers are recognized for their hard work and commitment to the company. Awards include Keaper of the Month, the Golden Goose Award and the Better Together Award–where an entire department is acknowledged and wins a monetary prize.

Spot bonuses are another constructive way to inspire employees. Email them a PDF of a certificate they can hang proudly in their offices or cubicles to remind them that they are appreciated and not just walking in the door every day to collect a paycheck.

Boost morale with positive company culture

Another great way to engage employees is to create a fun company culture. For example, our office provides free cereal and milk, ping-pong tables, massage chairs, a meditation space, free massages once per month, food trucks every once in a while, they even have a hair stylist come into the building so employees can conveniently get a haircut while at work without having to worry about making an appointment elsewhere. It also provides a nice mental break.

Another way to boost morale is to encourage a culture of work/life balance. Encourage your team members to take breaks, go for walks, have lunch together and go home at a decent hour so they can beat traffic. Offer them the option of working from home once per week if your equipment permits. These may all seem like small gestures, but a little goes a long way. Employees will appreciate all of it.

Be open about the organization

Don’t be afraid to share numbers with your team. Have a company huddle once per month to touch base and show your progress. Numbers don’t lie–it’s important that employees know if their efforts are making a difference. Especially if there is room for improvement, they’re going to want to know how much better they can perform.

This will also help your employees feel they’re a much bigger part of the company. They’re the ones who are contributing to the development, so it’s only fair that they see results on paper so they can gauge what’s working and what isn’t. It’s also an opportunity to get everyone in the company excited for what’s to come, instilling much motivation and bringing everyone closer together.

Open communication

Finally, don’t be afraid to be candid about certain issues. If the company has to do mass layoffs or if there’s an outside issue that has the potential to affect the entire company, be open about what’s going on.

Right now, we’re all in the midst of the novel coronavirus crisis where the situation seems to be getting more intense by the hour. Here at Keap, our CEO has been diligent in providing daily updates on COVID-19 and how it is affecting our organization and measures that are being taken to protect us and act in the best interest of the company, the employees and our clientele.

As mentioned above, our company uses Slack, which is a great and efficient communication tool that allows you to communicate one-on-one and with multiple departments at once. Other communication platforms conducive for this include Skype Chat and Google Talk.

The takeaway

At the end of the day, what it’s really all about is teamwork. The more of an effort you make to engage with your employees and colleagues, the more you will grow and the more goals you will achieve together.

Looking for a way to be better organized and more efficient while helping your clients? Check out Keap for your small business.

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