How to Improve Employee Engagement with Visuals

By Lydia Hooper, Sep 22, 2021

employee engagement

Your employees are critical to your company’s success, so chances are you are somehow investing in engaging them.

Have you considered how visuals can support these efforts? Visuals can help you communicate with, train, and even recognize your employees. They can help your employees remember important details and motivate them to take specific actions.

No matter what you are seeking to share, and where you are sharing it, visuals can support a variety of employee engagement needs and goals.

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What is employee engagement?

Employee engagement is about the relationships between employers and employees. It affects every aspect of companies, from morale to revenue to customer experience.

Employee engagement is often a part of Human Resources, and is often thought of as how enthusiastic employees feel about their work and therefore how dedicated they are to the company’s success.

 

Why employee engagement is important

Having an effective employee engagement strategy has numerous benefits, some of which are:

  • Improved employee wellness
  • Decreased injury
  • Reduced absenteeism
  • Increased employee retention
  • Increased productivity
  • Increased profitability
  • Improved company reputation
  • Increased customer satisfaction

A whopping 92% of business executives believe that highly engaged employees perform better, and that this boosts the success of teams and organizations, according to research conducted in partnership with Harvard Business Review. Most respondents to their survey also said that their organization has achieved a positive ROI from its investment in employee engagement.

With hybrid and remote workplaces on the rise, it may be that employee engagement has never been more critical—and perhaps never more difficult.

According to Gallup, before COVID-19 employee engagement was on the rise in the U.S., and during COVID-19 it’s had its ups and downs.

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As workplaces continue to change, employees may need different and/or additional support to stay engaged. Here are some examples of what the employer can do to foster employee engagement in a remote workplace setting:

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Drivers of employee engagement

Every person in the company impacts employee engagement, from leaders to HR to managers to employees.

According to research from Quantum Workplace, the major drivers of employee engagement are:

  • Work aligned with employee strengths, interests, and goals
  • Trust in company leaders’ skills and integrity
  • Employees feeling heard, seen, and valued
  • Employees having the information they need to do well

One of the top four factors that leads to greater employee engagement is thoughtful company-wide employee communications, according to Gallup.

This is even more essential when there are lots of changes underway. Smart communication can equip employees to better navigate these changes.

For example, here are a couple of infographics for employees and their managers who are adjusting to working remotely.

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You can also use visuals to help you craft a change management plan.

There are of course other times when communication plays a pivotal role in driving employee engagement.

Skillful communication can help companies when they are:

  • Onboarding new employees, or offboarding existing employees
  • Undergoing changes in company strategy or structure, such as acquisitions and mergers, mission or focus changes, and executive or management changes
  • Evaluating performance and celebrating employee accomplishments
  • Working on employee development goals such as improving skills or wellness

Keep reading to learn more about using visuals to improve these communications and increase employee engagement.

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Improving employee engagement with visuals

If great communication is key, then visuals are the trick. Visuals can support communication by:

  • Highlighting things to remember
  • Summarizing complex information in a clear way, reducing overwhelm
  • Inspiring and motivating people to take action

Visuals are also incredibly flexible. They work across a variety of channels, from worksites to emails to intranet sites.

Here are examples of when and how visuals can be game-changers for improving employee engagement, thus contributing to the organization’s success.

Onboarding successfully

When companies onboard new employees, they not only help employees be prepared for success from day one, they set the tone for their experience at the company.

Throughout the onboarding process, companies will need materials for orientation and beyond. This includes employee handbooks, job aids, and checklists for keeping on track.

When these resources are highly visual, it’s more likely that employees will hang on to them, and be able to easily reference them later.

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Fostering organizational transparency

Employee communication is what keeps employees engaged after onboarding. Oftentimes these communications are presented in ways that don’t engage employees, though.

Instead of dry documents or disorganized email threads, create visuals that help employees understand key ideas like big-picture strategic plans:

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and more detailed project plans:

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Using an employee communication solution like Venngage, you can keep organizational charts up to date as your company grows. A visual like this will also help employees be able to more easily recognize and connect with one another:

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Don’t underestimate the potential impact of company communications such as these. Not only can they ensure employees have the information they need, but they are also a primary way that employees assess whether they can trust in leadership.

Recognizing employees

Speaking of recognition, taking time to acknowledge employees individually is a key part of any effective employee engagement strategy. What better way to do this than to feature their likeness in an attractive visual?

When a new person joins your team, you can help the whole team with a visual like this:

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You can also create visuals to mark anniversaries and honor accomplishments.

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Enabling professional growth

While it’s great to recognize big achievements, employees want to feel seen and valued in their day-to-day work too.

This often happens during performance reviews. But when they are over, how often do employees revisit performance documents? Simple, clear, and colorful ones like this are more likely to get revisited, and therefore to serve the function of supporting the employee between reviews.

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Part of performance management is also creating employee development plans that will help employees achieve their professional goals. Ideally, these plans also help the company identify what skills teams need to develop and what trainings to offer.

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Highly engaging, visual training materials are indispensable tools for employee engagement. But don’t forget there are also many opportunities to support all employees and drive employee engagement with basic workplace skills using fun visuals like this:

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Supporting employee health and wellness

Workplace skills aren’t the only skills employees need to develop to be successful. If companies want to decrease workplace injuries, reduce employee absenteeism and increase productivity, they also need to support employee health and wellness.

It can be tricky to know how exactly to do this effectively, but a simple way to start is to share engaging infographics that educate employees about the choices they can make that will support their wellbeing.

Integrate health & wellness support into your employee engagement strategy by customizing this checklist:

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You can also make use of this mental health infographic:

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Communicating employee engagement ROI

Now you have lots of ideas for how to improve employee engagement with visuals. But how do you know what works and what doesn’t?

You can measure the return on investment with:

  • Employee engagement surveys with questions that are scientifically proven
  • Pulse surveys that gather real-time feedback (especially important during transitions)
  • Employee lifecycle surveys, for example new hire surveys and exit surveys

Here’s an employee engagement survey template you can customize:

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Be sure to share your findings with the company—remember, company communication drives employee engagement.

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Tips for creating visuals that engage employees

When it comes time to create any of these materials, it’s common for people who are doing so to become overwhelmed. Here are some tips to help you focus on how you can make visuals that best support your employee engagement initiatives.

Keep visuals consistent with your company brand

When materials are visually consistent, it sends an implicit message to employees that the company is aligned and coordinated. This increases trust, a critical driver of employee engagement.

It’s easy to apply your company’s branding to visuals created using Venngage. Simply load your brand colors and logos to your account in one click:

Autobrand

And start applying your branding to any employee engagement visuals you have using My Brand Kit:

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Use photos of people in the company, whenever possible

At the very least, make sure your organizational chart includes people’s faces…

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And that when you recognize employees they are indeed recognizable:

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This helps people in the company feel seen and it helps them build connections to one another, especially if members of your team are working remotely.

Pay attention to diversity, equity, and inclusion

You will want to consider diversity, equity and inclusion when it comes to every aspect of employee engagement.

For example, you may want to offer employee training and development on harassment and microaggression, and you will want to measure how engaged employees of different races, gender identities, sexual orientations, and abilities are.

Visuals should also reflect the diversity of experiences that people in your company have. This sends a powerful message of equity and inclusion. This diversity should be present in every material, not only those specifically about diversity, equity and inclusion.

You can use photos, icons, and illustrations to represent this diversity. Venngage has hundreds of diverse illustrations, more than any other design tool.

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When using people icons and illustrations in your materials, make sure they are diverse too. You can easily edit the skin color of a Venngage person icon:

diverse icons

Here’s another example of materials that reflect diversity, equity and inclusion:

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Empower employees to create and collaborate

Oftentimes company communications are strictly top down, driven by leadership’s priorities and needs. But if you want to help your employees feel heard, seen and valued, you can equip them with different employee engagement tools and encouragement to create communications that will serve their own needs and goals.

For example, you can create checklists and self-assessment tools that are useful to employees and that they can choose to share with others.

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Collaboration is key to success at many companies, and too often teams work in silos. When team members can communicate well with one another and employee feedback is properly delivered, they are more engaged and more successful.

Sometimes this communication is cumbersome because there’s so much back and forth. Venngage allows for real-time collaboration so your whole team can not only easily share and comment on designs but create them together:

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For example, by tracking discussion and outcomes from meetings in visual documents like this one, employees can feel heard and valued and also have the information and alignment they need.

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Summary: Integrate visuals into your employee engagement initiatives to drive job satisfaction, employee’s emotional commitment and business success

Employee engagement is critical to the success of companies, and thoughtful communication is essential for engagement.

When it comes to communication, visuals can make all the difference. They can help employees break free from the noise of text-heavy materials and focus on what matters.

No matter how your company plans to invest in employee engagement, visuals can play a pivotal role in motivating, aligning, and building trust with employees of all kinds.

Start creating employee engagement and development visuals using Venngage’s fully customizable templates and easy-to-use editor—no design experience required.


 

 

About Lydia Hooper

Lydia Hooper has a decade of experience as an information designer, and has worked with and for more than 50 national, state, and local organizations. She led a team to win bronze in the national Civic Data Challenge in 2013. Her writing on data visualization and information design has also been published by Data Visualization Society, UX Collective, SAGE Publishing’s MethodSpace and Evergreen Data. Lydia has also designed and facilitated workshops for dozens of organizations including American Institute of Graphic Arts-Colorado and the Rocky Mountain Chapters of the Association for Talent Development and the Society for Technical Communication.