Five tips to boost employee engagement in projects

24 August 2020 4 min. read

Experience shows a high proportion of large-scale change projects unfortunately never deliver the benefits that were anticipated. Many suffer long delays and blowouts in cost and are often shelved before completion. Others fail because staff are not engaged in the process and are sceptical that it will actually add value to their roles. 

There is evidence that improving employee engagement is one of the most important steps in achieving a successful change project. Having everyone on board from the outset and committed for the full term can be the difference between success and failure.

Christian Lucarelli, Vice President Sales Asia Pacific at process automation specialist Nintex, shares five key ways in which employee engagement can be achieved in projects:

Engage the influencers

When you are selecting champions for a new change project, look for people who already have influence. They’ll tend to be natural communicators and instinctively know how to sell the benefits of the project to their colleagues. Teams are far more likely to be interested in supporting change when they’re able to see what’s in it for them.

Five tips to boost employee engagement in projects

It’s important to invest time in these people, inspiring and engaging them to become tenacious, passionate advocates who feel equipped and empowered to take the lead in process improvement. Rather than seeing change as something happening to them, you can help them reframe change as something positively impacting their customer service, careers and productivity. 


It’s one thing to appoint people to run a program, however it’s another to trust them to do it. Ensure they have the tools and knowledge they need to complete the project, and then let them get on with it. Well-trained and equipped teams are much more motivated to invest in projects than those who feel underprepared.

Consider using tactics such as weekly group training sessions and user-oriented video guides and mentoring to keep everything on track. Investing in an effective process management platform can also help as it allows managers to keep a close eye on progress without needing to micro-manage every step of the journey.

Also, encourage regular feedback from those involved in the project. This will help them to feel that their views are valued and ideas are being acted upon.

Stimulate enthusiasm

Active staff engagement is unlikely to stem from dull email missives and lengthy written strategic plans. It actually comes from people realising the day-to-day benefits they’ll achieve through better process management. Make sure this is explained from the outset to stimulate and maintain enthusiasm throughout the team and the wider organisation.

If staff show interest in being actively involved, but don’t feel they are fully capable, offer training and different ways to contribute. This will help to make it clear that continuous personal improvement is a priority for everyone within the organisation. Encourage those who already have the skills and understanding to be available to their colleagues and be happy to answer questions and provide guidance.

Make participation easy

People often don’t engage in a new project because they’re unsure how to go about it. Having clear process management tools in place and training available on how to use them can make a big difference.

Teams should also be provided with suitable devices to make access to these tools easy. In this way, everyone has the same opportunity to interact with the platform. It’s important to also set aside time for onboarding, ensuring all involved can become familiar with the system and to begin using it from the outset.

Involve everyone

Take time to ensure that even those staff not directly involved in the project understand what is going on and what benefits it will bring. Also work to involve the entire organisation in capturing, reviewing, and improving key processes.

Be sure to follow up on any suggestions and new ideas that are offered People are motivated by appreciation, so it’s important to share good outcomes with everyone. This can be done via face-to-face meetings, announcements on the intranet, or through tools such as leader boards and reward programs.