Virginia Tech® home

Employee Engagement

Gallup defines employee engagement as the involvement and enthusiasm of employees in their work and workplace. The benefits of employee engagement include less absenteeism, less turnover, and greater productivity. Managers play a critical role in employee engagement. It is essential for managers to interact with and develop each of their team members so they feel trusted, supported, and celebrated. Information and resources around employee engagement can be found below.

Diversity, Equity, and inclusion (DEI) best practices are important in creating an equitable workplace for all. Some DEI resources are listed below.

Showing you care builds trust with your employee and gives them a sense of belonging, both of which have been shown to increase job performance. Here are some recommendations and resources to build a caring and productive environment.

  1. Take steps to create an environment where your team members feel valued, respected, and cared about.  Some tools include Motivating and Engaging Employees (PageUp learning)Be the Manager People Won't Leave (PageUp Learning), How to Build a Connected Workplace (article), and The Increasing Importance of a Best Friend at Work (article).
  2. Support wellness and well-being. Some resources include Hokie Wellness and Telework and Alternate Scheduling.
  3. Consider the needs of your fully in-person, fully remote, and hybrid team members. Some resources include Leveraging Virtual and Hybrid Teams for Improved Effectiveness (PageUp learning), Team Building Exercises for Remote Teams (PageUp Learning), and Leading at a Distance (PageUp Learning).


Touchpoints are recurring conversations between supervisors and their employees. These go beyond quick status updates or performance conversations. The purpose of touchpoints is to discuss successes, goals, opportunities, and more. Touchpoints are built into the formal planning and evaluation process through PageUp, but are not limited to the staff evaluation process. It is also used to describe the more general process of having ongoing conversations with direct reports. There are a number of resources about touchpoints below.

As a manager, one of your key responsibilities is to develop your staff. Supporting learning and development is a "win-win" for the employee and the workplace. Employees upgrade their skills and potential which helps with increased productivity and meeting your departmental objectives. 

Career development is ongoing, so employees need encouragement and support to reassess their goals and activities. There are many ways to support career development. Some helpful resources are listed below.

  • Use the coaching guide to direct your employees in their professional development and the application of gained knowledge.
  • Encourage your employee to create a development action plan. This will help them to map out their career goals, along with a plan to achieve them. There is also a guide to accompany the plan.
  • The PageUp Learning Management System (LMS) has a number of programs and trainings available and is accessible using the employee PID and password.  Some trainings are on broad topics applicable to all employees, while others are specific to roles such as Banner training. Encourage your employees to find opportunities that best meet their needs and interests.
  • Virginia Tech offers the Gallup® CliftonStrengths assessment free to all faculty, staff, and students. The online assessment is a way to discover what you naturally do best, learn how to develop your greatest talents into strengths, and use your personalized results to maximize your potential. To access the free assessment, employees will need to use their VT username (PID) and password. Please note that the landing page for the assessment uses student-centered language but all VT faculty, staff, and students have access! 
  • As a manager, there are a number of resources available to support you. 
  • Be familiar with the various professional development opportunities around campus so you can guide your employees to them.

There are a number of ways to recognize the contributions of your team. Many departments share successes at team meetings, have their own recognition programs, and plan employee appreciation events. Here are some suggestions for recognizing your team:

  • Arrange a breakfast or snack break to say thanks.
  • Organize a social outing or a team building activity.
  • Take your team out to lunch and tell them you appreciate them.
  • Send an email to thank your team for their contributions.

Formally, Virginia Tech has several awards and recognition programs to recognize the achievements of employees. 

  • Listing of the various university faculty and staff awards
  • Service recognition program organized by the Division of Human Resources. Nominations are not needed as the Division of Human Resources tracks service time and contacts recipients. At the department level, it is nice to recognize employee anniversaries with an email.
  • Employee Appreciation Day. Each year, the Division of Human Resources hosts an employee appreciation day with lunch and a variety of activities. Allowing your employees time to attend this annual event is a great way to recognize and show your appreciation for them.