Practical Tips to Engage Effectively With Your Team

Nov 5, 2022 | Teams

Having a highly engaged teams that are motivated, passionate and driven can make all the difference to the success of your business. An engaged team think creatively. An engaged team are productive. An engaged team think critically and more broadly about the business and not just their individual task. 

How to get engaged teams at work?

What can we do to engage deeply, openly and honestly with our teams?

I believe that there are two basic rules to follow to help you engage effectively with your teams. Be strategic and structured in your interactions and listen effectively. 

Be strategic & structured about your team interactions

  1. Set clear goals and agendas for meetings
  2. Share notes and actions from meetings
  3. Avoid having too many recurring meetings
  4. Use collaboration tools
  5. Use instant communication tools


  1. Don’t scrimp on the small-talk
  2. Practice active listening
  3. Use micro-feedback sessions
  4. Host informal learning sessions
  5. Have virtual workshops
  6. Have in-real-life workshops

In this blog post, I discuss how you can be strategic and structured when interacting with your teams and how you can actually engage and motivate a team.

1. Set clear goals and agendas for meetings

If you think that the answer to getting engaged teams is to just have more meetings – then stop!

Bringing people together, virtually or in real life in a meeting space doesn’t guarantee engagement. People can be just as disengaged in a meeting as they are in their everyday work tasks. However, if you plan your meeting strategically, you can drive engagement.

To start, check that any meeting you arrange or attend has a clear goal. It’s so easy to slip into the habit of setting up a meeting without a purpose and the meeting then gets hijacked by someone else’s problem or it’s just vague and people are unengaged.

Is your meeting just about sharing information? Do you want people to provide input? Or do you want to make a decision? Depending on the purpose, will affect what information you share, and the people you invite.  

Once you know the reason for having the meeting, ask for input from others and write an agenda. Check if you need people to lead sections or provide an update during the meeting.

If there is a meeting without an agenda, I recommend declining it! Oftentimes meetings get booked in because people feel they should connect. But if they aren’t thought out properly they will be unproductive and instead of leading to decisions and moving forward, they just cause frustration.

When your meetings have obvious value, the people invited are relevant and the session is structured, your team members are much more likely to be engaged and fully participate. Plus, they’ll want to show up for the next meeting too.

Meeting rules for teams. Never set a meeting without an agenda. Limit recurring meetings or keep addressing their value. Shorten meeting durations. Keep notes and share actions. Illustration of three office workers around a large tick sheet. Engaged teams.

2. Keep notes & share actions from meetings

Designate someone to take notes from your team meetings. Circulate a summary in the relevant group slack channel (or email thread) and the list of actions. 

Your employees crave clarity and a meeting that just fizzles out will leave everyone feeling like it was a waste of time, and their engagement will be even lower next time. Make sure everyone knows what their action is following a meeting.

3. Avoid having too many recurring meetings

Always review the need for recurring meetings. These tend to block up people’s calendars week after week, without a sense check to see if they are still necessary.

If you have recurring meetings set up, check regularly to ensure they still add value (and that you’re needed or that the same people are needed). 

Always have a list of actions that people can easily access to see what is being discussed, and ask people beforehand for agenda points.

Free up your employees and don’t just have meetings to look busy every week. 

Creating engaged teams doesn’t mean just having multiple meetings. There are much better ways to use their time, such as micro feedback or daily check-ins (see below).

4. Use collaboration tools like Miro to engage your team during work

Miro is an online whiteboard that allows live syncs across your teams. It works well for both asynchronous and real-time remote collaboration in workshops or working sessions. 

Miro is a great tool for developing engaged teams, especially remote teams as it gives the feeling of physical collaboration online.

Think of it like seeing a PowerPoint presentation all laid out, that you can move around, people can virtually write notes, add virtual post-its, vote on issues, and immediately jump into related documents. 

Miro allows you to add markers to guide your team through your board – so it’s self-explanatory and easy to follow.

5. Use instant messengers like Slack

Slack is like a digital water cooler, an informal meeting room, a place to collaborate, clarify and organise…FASTER!

I also believe that it is a great way to help managers and leaders create close relationships with teams.  

Slack works so well for teams because it supports those three basic rules of team engagement. It enables you to be strategic, and structured and show active listening.

The key benefits of Slack for teams are that it provides:

  • Transparency of team availability through status messages
  • The ability to send GIFs to communicate mood
  • Private channels to continue conversations
  • Ability to create dedicated channels for different projects or topics
  • Having a digital chain of conversations that is easily searched for reference and review
  • You can keep teams engaged and informed


How to engage a team at work. Start meetings with small talk.

1. Don’t scrimp on the small talk

I know your time is precious, but having small talk at the beginning of the day or at the start of a meeting is so important. 

Get people to relax and learn more about each other before getting down to business. You could even start the day with some small talk on Slack and find out how people are too. Set the tone, that you are approachable and relatable and build a team culture. 

2. Practice active listening

Practice asking “How are you?” and mean it. Active listening involves fully engaging with what that person is saying, but looking at them, physically showing you are listening and even repeating back what the person has said. Try asking clarification questions or follow-up questions to demonstrate you have absorbed what that person has said. 

Try to avoid interrupting and sharing your own anecdotes. 

At the start of a meeting, take some time to listen to the team. If there’s a lot to unpack, maybe follow up with that person later to check in with them fully.

How do you practice active listening in a virtual team? 

  • Set standards for listening, such as not interrupting and using the “raise hand” tool.
  • Try to maintain eye contact.
  • Watch out for those non-virtual queues. 
  • Check that you have turned off all notifications and put your phone on mute.
Practice active listening. Illustration of five office workers around a table with laptops, representing an engaged team.

3. Host informal learning sessions to build engaged teams

Try ‘Learning & Insights’ meetings or ‘Lunch & Learn’ where employees cross-company share their latest work, tools best practices, and user research insights so everyone is more aware of what others are doing. 

Or why not get employees to share their knowledge on their specialist topic. This shines a light on them and makes them feel valued, plus you are also helping lift up the rest of the team. 

Self-actualisation and learning are key needs for employees today, and showing that you are committed to providing space for informal learning as well as formal training will go a long way to helping your team feel satisfied at work. 

4. Use regular micro-feedback sessions

Do you only have annual reviews for your employees? They can take masses of energy, time and effort to pull together, and discuss and you are effectively waiting 364 days to discover if your employee has any issues. 

I believe that it’s so important to provide and collect ongoing constructive feedback on performance and development throughout the year.

This will give your team clear – and REGULAR – actionable guidance on what works well and where there’s room to grow.

A Gallup poll showed that Gen Y actually prefers micro-feedback or “Fast Feedback” over lengthy formal reviews. 

If feedback is fast and frequent then it can support agility, inspire excellence and retain talent.

In our experience, many organizations know continuous feedback is best but struggle with activating the ongoing behaviors needed to achieve it at scale. So, they stick to traditional approaches (like annual reviews) in which managers delay feedback until they find the “right time.”

“How Fast Feedback Fuels Performance, Denise McLain and Bailey Nelson, Gallup, 1 Jan, 2022

And it shouldn’t just all be on the manager to give feedback either. Feedback can come from anyone on your team, your peers and colleagues from other departments.

Giving micro feedback doesn’t have to be complex.

  • Encourage your teams to give each other feedback after important meetings – What went well? Why? Was anything unclear?
  • Try to focus on strengths and constructive feedback to foster learning.
  • Use micro feedback to talk about development and stretch assignments and not just to-dos.
  • Try giving micro-feedback using slack. Or try the latest apps like up.lftd a recognition and feedback tool that reminds you to provide feedback in context and collates real-time information in ongoing development dashboards. Hi5 is also another useful tool to “get rich insights about team culture” as well as giving feedback.

5. Have virtual workshops to engage teams

Hosting virtual workshops can be just what is needed to engage your team in a new project or solve an existing problem. 

I highly recommend using a tool like MIRO to conduct these. The online whiteboard enables your team to physically collaborate online, add notes, vote, share, present and engage!

If you use Zoom, then be sure to use the breakout tool to allow smaller groups to work together on problems or socialise. 

Try running a workshop to build engage d teams. Ux my dear.

6. Engage your team by hosting in-real-life workshops

While virtual workshops can be effective at building engaged teams, sometimes having that full face-to-face contact is necessary.

If you’re finding it hard to read non-verbal cues, have new joiners or need to align your team to a new vision or strategy, IRL meetings can be very effective.

If you’re not sure when to host a real-life workshop, then there are a few signs that indicate it’s time to meet IRL.

  • Poor collaboration and employees saying that they feel out of the loop
  • Frustrated or stressed employees
  • An increased number of complaints
  • Missed deadlines
  • Lack of creativity and drive

5 signs you need to meet your team in person. Engaged Teams

Once you’ve decided to host an IRL workshop, how do you plan it? 

Whether you’re holding a workshop on-site or remotely, it’s crucial to determine WHY a workshop is the best way to come together and then plan and build for exactly that.

When it comes to running an effective workshop, ensure that you determine what you want to achieve, decide what success looks like and build your activities accordingly. 

Structure your entire workshop including ice-breakers and evaluation. 

Need help running your workshop? Get in touch with me.

“Her workshops are expertly planned with clear communication before during and after all sessions. They are focused, structured and designed to ensure that all participants are clear what is required of them personally and what they can expect the workshop to deliver.”

Hilary Laing, COO/CFO at Steady

About UX, my dear

I’ve worked for many years in UX research and design and spent 10+ years at PayPal – leading design teams across Europe and across the business portfolio.

Today, I manage my own UX strategy consultancy bringing you an outside-in perspective to help you pinpoint the issues so you can solve the right problems.

This includes:

  • Experience reviews and User journey mapping
  • Value Proposition Design
  • Remote or in-person workshop planning & design
  • Design leadership
  • Workshop facilitation
  • Lego Serious Play Methodology
  • Structured working sessions & deep dives

Need a strategy on how to engage your team at work? Book your free consultation today.