Improving employee engagement in a work from home environment – A case study from Roche

Agile working and employee engagement have become heavily mentioned themes during the 2020 pandemic. Employers were struck with an important question: ‘How do we inspire and improve employee engagement online?’. 

An abundance of research has been conducted on the importance of employee engagement. Engaged employees create a work environment that nurtures innovation, learning, and collaboration. With a worldwide shift to home working, managers have been looking for ways to inspire employees and nurture a collaborative culture online. At Necxt, we have been doing just that: finding new ways to fuel innovation, agile working, and collaboration. A great example of this can be found in the team development sessions Necxt organised for Roche. 

A collaborative effort 

Roche, an international player in the area of healthcare, was looking for ways to increase and inspire innovation and collaboration in their leadership team. The set objective for the task: improved engagement, ideation, and stronger collaboration between teams and departments. Roche’s continuous dedication to creating an inspiring and motivating workplace has made the company a place that is loved by its employees. This year’s benchmarking event had to take place online to ensure the safety of all participants. 

“I found the experience seamless. the team is experienced and agile, and values co-creating the experience with us, which allowed flexibility for us and still allowed us to have a combined vision”

Teambuilding & connectedness at Roche


Through close collaboration with Roche, Necxt has hosted a series of online inspiration and activation sessions for the Roche departments in Africa and Latin America. Though the pandemic made an in-person event impossible, the circumstances offered several opportunities through online channels. Using video conferencing, in combination with tools as breakout rooms, inspiring visuals, and even a cartoon artist, made the event a widely celebrated success. Inspiring speakers ensured the team was challenged to think differently. Team members reported feeling inspired, connected, and challenged. Some even mentioned the online version was superior to its in-person counterpart.

“Ultimately the impact of this virtual event was big compared to a traditional event: more lasting connections were built and we had new episodes to look out for! – It was an innovative approach and it was really energizing! I’ve enjoyed every minute of the meetings.”


An important theme during the days was learning, both from people within and outside the organisation. To encourage this, participants were divided into different groups. In some cases, participants were paired at random, forcing them to collaborate with strangers. The interactive sessions functioned as a breeding ground for new ideas and offered participants new insights. 

“There’s always something new to learn – diverse companies and experiences inspire us to challenge ourselves. What else is possible?”

Improving employee engagement with our 3 tips

How do you improve employee engagement while your employees are working from home? Our partner, Nils Schmeling, offers a few valuable tips you can implement immediately:

1. Connect the unfamiliar

Great ideas often arise when people are met with new ways of thinking and doing. By facilitating collaboration between different employees, teams, and departments, a space for new discoveries is created. Hence, ensure your employees are not working in silos, but are invited to actively engage with others. 

2. Ensure interactivity 

One of the most important things during a teambuilding or inspiration session is interaction between participants. Try combining lectures with brainstorming sessions, energisers, and challenges to keep your audience engaged. This will not only ensure engagement, but also guarantee the best outcome in terms of innovation.

3. Define your goals

To achieve your goals, you first need to formulate them. Before you can successfully inspire your audience, you will need to define how you will inspire them and what the desired outcomes are. Are you looking to boost innovation within existing teams, improve collaboration between different departments or increase employee engagement? Setting a clear objective will help you ask the right questions before organising team building activities.

Are you looking for additional ways to boost employee engagement, inspire your team and facilitate agile working? Join our inspiration and activation sessions and gain new insights for your business!

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