It is notoriously difficult to define employee engagement but there is one thing we know for certain: engaged employees are happier than their disengaged colleagues, and more productive. The 2014 University of Warwick’s study found that “human happiness has large and positive causal effects on productivity”. So, the happier employees are, the more productive they will be, which is a benefit for both employees and employers alike.

But what can you do to make your staff happier at work? Well, it’s not as complicated as you may think. Focus on six key areas of staff engagement and you could have a happier, healthier and more productive workforce in no time!


Transparency and open conversations between employees and management are the basis of building trust and, consequently, engagement. Tailoring benefits communications to staff can make them happier, which is not only good for your staff, but also good for your business. Receiving meaningful and relevant information can improve someone’s day, receiving generic ‘Dear all’ messages about topics that they don’t care about and aren’t affected by can both frustrate and annoy staff. If you take the time to have a conversation rather than just shooting across an email, your employees will really appreciate the extra effort involved.


With 1 in 4 people suffering with a diagnosable mental health condition each year, mental wellbeing should already be at the top of every HR agenda. Financial and physical wellbeing should also feature heavily when you’re discussing employee engagement and productivity. These three key areas of wellbeing are so intrinsically linked that it is often hard to impact one without affecting the others. Job insecurity can also lead to financial worries, and increased stress has been shown to lead to poorer physical health, so it is important to provide both financial and physical wellbeing initiatives during any period of change.

Staff Engagment


Making all employee benefits and comms accessible in one place, via an app means that staff have everything they need right at their fingertips. Gone are the days of wasting time trawling the company intranet for some information that might be out of date once you get to it. Today, staff want everything in real-time and an employee engagement app can do just that, and more.

Learning and Development

Learning and development are inseparable aspects of our working life. If we stop learning, we stop growing, so whether you have a speaker come to the office, offer an online database of courses, or you run workshops during lunch breaks, make sure that regular learning and development opportunities are available for all staff members.

Running seminars and workshops on managerial training, refresher courses for employees on elements of their day-to-day job, and more specialist courses for those wishing to move into a different section of the business will help keep your workforce engaged.

Live classes online learning
Example of using HowNow to conduct training

Reward and Recognition

When you recognise and reward a high level of service, you encourage employees to repeat these actions, creating a happier and more productive workforce. The majority of reward and recognition programmes are now digital, which allows access anytime and anywhere. However, even though a programme may be online, this doesn’t guarantee participation. Younger employees check their smartphone an average of 85 times per day, so placing your Reward and Recognition within an app, could significantly boost participation. The introduction of technology even allows for some level of automation, which can make recognising employees hard work even easier.

hapi- Personal Group App


Eventually, it all comes full circle and we’re back to communication, this time from employee to employer. Pulse surveys, feedback forms or even grabbing a quick coffee with each team can help show your staff that you do listen and understand their concerns. Once you’ve collected staff feedback, it is important that you take action. The most successful engagement programmes use this feedback to fine tune engagement strategies. Treating your engagement programme as an ongoing and iterative process that is constantly adapting and improving can show your staff that you care about their wellbeing. This will not only help them become more engaged, you may find that it also improves happiness and productivity levels in your organisation too.


About the Author:

Hayley is Communications Executive at Personal Group, a technology-enabled employee services business which works with employers to drive productivity through better employee engagement and a more motivated workforce. With over 30 years’ experience, the Company provides employee benefits, serving 550 businesses, reaching over 2 million employees across the UK.

HowNow is a wonderful platform ( well, of course, I am going to say this, but it really is).  The team is constantly working on wonderful ways to update the platform and to bring new and exciting features to our clients. If you have been thinking about HowNow and are not sure yet then let me run through our latest updates on our various plans.


Starter Plan:

So this plan is as little as £22 a month if you sign up for a year. Or £29 a month if you rather go monthly. So the updates you will see below will apply to all plans.


SSL- Your HowNow school on all plans now automatically comes with a Secure Site Certificate, so you don’t need to worry about buying them.

Unsplash Integration

You heard it here first, we have now integrated with Unsplash. So you can access a wealth of beautiful royalty free images to use in your online school, thanks to the generous photographers that contribute their imagery.

Custom URL For Private Bundles

If you want to send a special offer for one of your bundles to someone. You can now share a custom URL with them so they can access this private bundle.


You can now decide if you want to enable your students to be able to retake their quiz if they didn’t perform so well the first time around.

Full-Screen Virtual Classroom

You can now full screen the virtual classroom. This gives you a full view of your whiteboard and a clearer view of your learners.

Trailer uploads

You can now upload video files as your trailer to your school, as well as links from Vimeo and YouTube.

Publish all lessons

We’ve saved you time, as now you can publish all your lessons at once rather than one by one. Create all of your lessons then preview how beautiful they look before you hit  ‘Publish all’.

Unsplash Intergration
Unsplash Integration.

Essentials Plan

The essentials plan is perfect if your business comprises of more than one person or if you are looking for more features. It is our most popular plan at £64 a month if you pay for a year or £79 if you pay monthly.  Here is a recent update that is only available on Essentials and above.

Live Classes and Webinars

We’ve tried to make things just a bit more convenient for you and to help with your scheduling. So, you can now choose to repeat webinars and live classes every fortnight.

Live classes
Live Classes and Webinars Scheduling

Growth and Enterprise plans

Growth plans offer you many wonderful features. Enterprise is the same as growth but with custom add-ons that we can build for you and quote you per additional add-on. We have many organisations in our growth plan as it allows them to have up to 30 instructors teaching in their school. Growth plans are only £239 a month if you pay yearly or £299 a month if you want to pay month by month. We find many organisations want to move on from growth as they grow and desire custom features.


Similar to retaking quizzes, you can now decide if you want to enable your students to be able to retake their assessment if they didn’t perform so well the first time around.

Assessment Visible To Learners

Upon completing the assessments, learners can now see the answers they selected or wrote to the questions after submitting it.


HowNow is now compatible with SCORM/TinCan. This means you can now upload your SCORM/TinCan compatible courses into your online school.

Style your assessments

You can now get creative with your assessments, alter the size, colour and boldness of your questions.


Don’t wait till the end. You can now reward your learners at different stages of the course.

Want to compare the plans? have a look at this image from our website below:




If you’re new to setting up your own online school then setting about creating content for your courses can be difficult. It can be hard to know where to begin! How you can do it yourself but still make it look professional.  We look at free tools you can use to make your online courses look like they are worth 1,000 bucks.

High Quality images for course material and for school customization

You might not be a professional photographer and haven’t got the money to hire someone to take photos for you. So why not turn to the generosity of the internet. There are lots of free royalty images sites where you can use their high quality  images for your business.  Unsplash is one of them and the best I think we have found so far. They have so many beautiful images you can use to make your online courses look professional and make your school look sleek. We have Unsplash integrated into our platform, so you can browse and select without having to open a new window- how handy!

Our image above is from! See great images for free!

Record high quality videos of yourself sharing your screen

Now this is cool, one of our favourite free tools! So depending on what you are teaching you might find this tool super useful! For example if you are teaching something technical on the computer such as Photoshop, then the ability to share your screen so your learners can see what you are doing while you speak over it is super useful. Have a look at Loom! 

Loom is super easy to use and collects all your videos in one place.

Free tools you can use

Create infographics, visuals and more with these free tools

So I am sure you have heard of Canva, it is fantastic. Create exciting graphics that can be used as  a way to share your information in your online course.  If you need to show something- maybe your product or service being used across multiple devices during your course.  Awesome Screenshots is an excellent tool to use for  demonstrating your point and using visuals to bring your ideas to life. Annotated screenshots can be really useful for learners to see exactly what you mean.

Support your text with summary videos

There is this fantastic tool called Lumen5! Which can be a great way of supporting your text files/pdf’s with a summary video which is short and drives home the main points. What is great about this tool, is that it can also be used on social. Check one of ours below: