Employee Engagement

Employee spotlight programs: the best way to improve employee engagement and recruitment

An employee spotlight is a powerful employer branding tool and a way to boost employee engagement. Here’s everything you need to know about employee spotlights.

Nikola Sekulic

Published on 

March 29, 2023

Updated on 

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If your employees are anything like you (human), then they value recognition and appreciation for their work as much as you do. 

Recognition often brings to mind elaborate benefits like all-expense paid trips, a new car or a designer watch. Or maybe it’s something more practical like cash bonuses or something small like a personalized note or an employee of the year award. 

These are all ideas that land across a spectrum of what’s feasible. Rather than one-off ideas, how about an employee spotlight program

Think about it: healthy competition, increased retention rates and building a company reputation for showing recognition to deserving employees.

Read on to find out how you can develop and maintain an employee spotlight program and improve your employer brand.

What is an employee spotlight program?

Employee spotlight programs are literally your way of showing potential employees what it is like working at your company. 

How seriously do you take your employer brand

Before you answer, consider Gloat’s Why We Work survey, which showed that 34% (including 46% of black employees and 38% of Latinx employees) of all American workers are not experiencing the expected growth and positive change in their organization. They feel their company is not fully using their potential

Those are dissatisfied employees, and according to this survey, 66% would quit because of under-appreciation.

What is an example of an employee spotlight?

An employee spotlight is used to showcase the most valuable assets in your organization–the people. 


  • You can publish employee spotlights as a picture with a caption, a short clip, or a written interview. 
  • You can share this in the company’s internal communication channels or on social media networks. 

Employee spotlights are opportunities for employees to share their experiences, and gain recognition and appreciation for their outstanding performances. This increases employee engagement, satisfaction and loyalty to the company. It also promotes the company’s culture and values as being employee-centric, attracting top talent.

5 reasons you should start making employee spotlights

Employee spotlight questions typically feature an employee’s work history within your company and elsewhere and any personal detail they’d like to share. Usually, this content will reach staff, partners, suppliers, potential employees, and investors.   

The goal is to celebrate employees’ personal journey, their strengths, hard work and how they have contributed positively to the company. It is also a branding strategy to have the public associate your organization with a reputation for appreciating talented and skilled workers. 

There are other benefits to having an employee spotlight, we’ll discuss them below. 

Increase employee retention rates

Recognizing your employees’ achievements through spotlights increases employee motivation and gives them a sense of empowerment and job satisfaction. 

It fosters a healthy working environment and develops a growth mindset in workers. Employees will definitely stay in such a good work environment. Ultimately, your retention rates will increase. 

Build a strong employee network

Communication is vital to increasing collaboration and productivity among employees. Employee spotlight can help employees learn more about each other. This is especially important in large organizations. 

Spotlights can help break the ice and be a conversation starter between employees from different departments. They might find out they have more in common through spotlights and connect on a deeper level. This fosters employee engagement and encourages teamwork. It is also a way for remote employees to get to know each other and build a strong connection. 

Recruitment strategy becomes more effective

Employee spotlights are effective in attracting top talents to your organization. Potential employees are always looking for more information about a company and their strategic roadmap. Spotlights are inside information giving talent a glimpse into the company culture and the genuine feelings of workers there. 

With an effective employee spotlight in place, you won’t have to worry about attracting the right employees. Since spotlights show what it’s like working at your company. It can be a decisive factor in a candidate deciding to work for you.

Attract new clients

Potential customers are always looking to partner with a company that has good representation. Employee spotlights are a way of knowing your organization through the employees working there. It can be your unique selling point in a market where everyone is offering similar products, services and pricing. 

People will prefer to work with a company that showcases its employees and their skills, rather than a faceless organization with no teams page on its website. Employee spotlights are a way to showcase your employee's skills, company culture and core values to the outside world. It also helps you build credibility and confidence with new clients while strengthening existing relationships.

Promote a positive work culture 

Employee spotlight shows that recognition and appreciation are actions you value as a company. When you appreciate employees, their intrinsic motivation increases and productivity also spikes. 

There’s an atmosphere of mutual respect and appreciation among employees. You create an environment that supports excellent performance. A workplace where management and staff acknowledge and value each other’s contribution. Here, a healthy work-life balance can become a reality, and employees have better psychological well-being towards work.

How to organize an employee spotlight program

Like any other type of content or employee engagement ideas, you implement in your company, launching successful employee spotlights demands planning and preparations. You should introduce specific steps and best practices into the process to maximize the potential of each spotlight and make it measurable over the long term.

This will also allow you to assess and optimize your approach down the line. 

To create a powerful employee spotlight program, make sure to:

  • Determine the right format. Employee spotlights can come in many content formats; creating several types to fit different audiences and social platforms is important. For internal promotion, try a photo and concise but engaging copy.
  • Choose and prioritize candidates for the spotlight. Think vertically and horizontally, and list high-performing, up-and-coming, and veteran employees as your top candidates. Be sure to choose people from different departments.
  • Prepare a detailed questionnaire. This is an opportunity to highlight the employee’s personality, uniqueness, and relationship with the brand. Make sure your questions are diverse and relevant.
  • Create a promotional strategy. Ideally, you will create a promotional plan for all of your relevant marketing channels. Think of social media posts, dedicated blog posts on your website, email marketing, and other communication channels.
  • Track the performance and generate reports. Be sure to ask your employees what they thought about the spotlight, and then plug in the KPIs from your blog, social media, and other promotional channels.

Employee spotlight questions

Remember that employee spotlights are all about your employees. So you want to gather as much relevant information as possible to help your employees’ personalities shine through. 

Make sure that your questions cover interesting and motivational aspects of their professional and personal life. That way, other employees can relate to their stories ‌creating meaningful connections within the organization. 

It might be a good idea to have an employee spotlight question template that covers the vital questions for individual interviews. 

We will list a few examples of employee spotlight questions below.

  • How long have you worked at the company
  • What does your role entail?
  • Can you summarize your job in one sentence?
  • Who was your inspiration for choosing your current career path?
  • Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
  • What is the best advice you have for someone just starting out their career?
  • What are the hardest challenges you have faced at work?
  • Can you share a hidden talent no one knows about you?
  • How do you motivate yourself when you’re at work?
  • What are some challenges you have navigated in this company, and how did you overcome them?
  • Which accomplishments are you most proud of?
  • Can you share some people that motivate you in this company?
  • Which team did you enjoy working with the most?
  • Can you share some things others don’t know about you?
  • Can you share a significant project you’re a part of and how it impacted the organization?
  • What are some positions you have held in the past in other organizations?
  • What do you like most about working here?
  •  What company values can you relate to the most?
  • How much have you grown professionally and personally since you joined our company?
  • If you had the chance to ask the CEO a question, what would it be?
  • Is there anything you particularly like about working here?
  • What do you like to do in your free time?

7 Creative ways to spotlight employees

With a creative employee spotlight, you can keep your best employees and boost overall productivity. They’re also valuable for organizational branding, employee recognition, attracting talent and standing out from other competitors. 

1. Video features

Recognizing outstanding employees with photos might not be enough. If your company has a social media presence, you can use videos for employee spotlights (with their permission of course). 

You can use footage showing them in action, while they’re attending to customers, on a job site or during a presentation.  

2. Staff interviews

This will work particularly well for a company with a large staff base. You can use interview features to recognize exceptional employees and foster a connection among employees. Record short interviews for the selected employees, if possible from different departments. You can ask short and concise questions that will fit in a short video and still convey the intended message. You can also post employee pictures that have the interview as captions. 

3. Employee social media engagement

If your company has an online presence, encourage employees to engage with the company platforms on their preferred social media channels. Increase employee advocacy through prompts, hashtags and other creative ways to interact with employees in the online space. It could be as simple as sharing a photo or reposting from their LinkedIn, using your employer branding hashtag. 

4. Organize contests

Organize relevant contests or encourage employees to take part in them within and outside the organization. It could be sporting events or quiz contests to stimulate competitive spirit and nurture company camaraderie. You can run a poll beforehand to know where most interests lie. 

5. Testimonials

If customers mention your employees regularly in customer reviews, highlight them. Acknowledge your employees by presenting their service to the public. Public employee performance reviews promote the company and employees’ high standards to customers. You can also share reviews that mention employees from Yelp, Google, Angie’s List, etc.  

6. Use a blurb

Use a short description covering your employee’s background, how they landed their current role, their strengths and how they are contributing to the company's success. You can feature this on your website, in a press release or as social media content. Readers get a glimpse of how your company works and employees enjoy the delight of recognition. 

7. Internal or client newsletter

A newsletter has more details than a general blurb. You could have sections in your newsletter dedicated to spotlighting employees. It can cover short interviews or a link to read more an employee. 

4 Things to highlight when designing employee spotlights

Here are a few things to note when designing employee spotlights

  1. Every staff should have an equal chance of being in the spotlight. It shouldn’t be exclusive to senior executives or prominent members of staff. 
  2. Recognize people that are typically noticed for their role in the organization. Everyone is certainly working for the progress of the company.
  3. Make sure you celebrate employee achievement as soon‌ as it comes up.
  4. Use a format your target audience is familiar with.

3 Employee spotlight examples

If you need more ideas on how to create employee spotlight programs, find your inspiration below from the examples we share below!

1. Delta

Apart from a huge social media following, Delta has an active Instagram dedicated to showcasing all its activities for employees. They aptly named it life at Delta. 

This specific employee spotlight is a video showing “A Day in the Life” of Lamia a reservations brand ambassador at the airline. 

The video features how Lamia starts off her day, the work process. She also shared how company diversity and culture are some of her favourite reasons for working at Delta. 

The post showcases a department in the company and what it is like to work in a particular role there. It could be a good resource for potential employees wanting to learn more about the company. 

2. E.& J. Gallo Winery

Life at Gallo is another great example of ways to spotlight employees. They have a huge social media following just like Delta. 

Associate brand manager, Zach is one employee featured in their spotlight. He is holding a certificate in the picture and speaks about how he has had learning opportunities at Gallo. And also the support from the company to increase his knowledge base.

This is an excellent show of how the company has a culture of learning and development. A recruitment strategy at its best!

3. SHL

SHL, a talent assessment and management platform is our last example of an employee spotlight. Here, an employee who is interning at the company writes about her work experience in a blog post. 

The interviewee, Azraa, mentions the relatable experience of finding a stepping stone at the start of one’s career. 

The focal point of her interview is the need for discipline when working remotely. She also advised early-career employees to be authentic and leverage opportunities. 

What is an employee spotlight template?

An employee spotlight template is a guide used to highlight the work history of employees in the organization and throughout their careers. 

Employers use these templates to showcase employees that are doing well in their roles. They’re used to show appreciation and encouragement and typically include employee history, duration of stay, formal education and training, successes and challenges. 

It can also have sections on personal life and personality depending on the intent of the employee spotlight.

You can use employee spotlight templates to:

  • Make your employees feel valued and appreciated for their contribution to the organization.
  • Create an atmosphere of positive work culture and ultimately reduce turnover rates.
  • Boost productivity and performance. Appreciated employees are happy and will go the extra mile for work.
  • Increase job satisfaction. Employees are less likely to leave an organization that does extra to recognize their effort.

What are some examples of employee spotlight templates?

Looking for inspiration to help you develop your employee spotlight templates? There are tons of examples on Pinterest showing what other companies are doing. 

Here’s an employee spotlight idea that shows the name and recent accomplishments in a simple image. The company added a quote from the employee being interviewed in the caption, the post links back to a more detailed article on the spotlight. 

Neil Patel also shares unique ideas on his blog. For instance, this employee spotlight has the image of the highlighted employee with some interview questions and responses. The questions encompass personal and career-related topics to give people an insight into the spotlighted individual. 

This humorous example from Twitch hints at the brand’s relaxed approach to things. Besides the featured employee’s image is a humorous quote from Twitch and a caption leading to more content in the spotlight. 

You can post employee spotlight content on your company’s career page or social media accounts. You can create a blog post if you prefer that instead. Whatever you decide on is up to you.

Focusing on boosting your employer brand

One of the key benefits outside of improved employee engagement is that employee spotlights allow you to build a more relevant, humanized employer brand. What you learn from these compelling stories about your amazing employees can build better brand awareness, trust, and authority among the top job-seekers in your industry.

With the right employer branding solutions that encompass proper brand-building, marketing, and communication, as well as user-generated content and employee spotlights, you can paint a positive picture of your company and inspire the best of the best to apply for your open roles. This positive reinforcement will inform the nature of your branding content. However, a powerful employer brand will inspire your veteran employees to stay.

Employee retention goes far beyond monetary compensation, even though money is a big part of the equation. The top talent in the industry not only expects to receive top-tier compensation, but they also seek positive, engaging, and inspiring work environments.

This is something to emphasize in your employee spotlights so that others can see just how amazing it is to work with you.

Improving and streamlining the recruitment process

Speaking of people who want to work for you, keep in mind that employee spotlights represent a great opportunity to improve and streamline your recruitment process by allowing you to attract top talent and help them onboard faster. You can do this with recruitment-specific employee spotlights, which have a content focus directed toward attracting candidates and educating new hires.

Candidates and new hires want and need to see successful, happy employees who are thriving under your brand. When thinking about how to hire a customer success manager who will lead a customer success team, for example, you need to show that candidate relevant, department-specific employee highlights so that they can gain an understanding of the collective they’re joining, their colleagues, values, and more.

This goes for all departments and positions in your company. Likewise, when onboarding new hires, you can showcase relevant employee spotlights to motivate new team members, provide meaningful insights about their colleagues and the work, and help them settle in faster.

Following up with virtual get-togethers

You want to follow up with engaging virtual events whenever you publish an employee spotlight. This is your opportunity to capitalize on the buzz that the spotlight has initially created, and engage your employees in meaningful conversations and interactions.

This can be especially beneficial when trying to come up with remote employee engagement ideas that go beyond simple virtual group coffee breaks and similar, because spotlights provide meaningful and relevant topics to talk about. This doesn’t mean the spotlight employee is the main talking point; rather, it means that you should use the spotlight to raise important questions, tackle relevant problems in the workplace, and let others pick their brain for ideas, inspiration, and concrete problem-solving. 

This is also a great opportunity to see how other team members react to the spotlight itself. Let people share their impressions about the content, and be sure to welcome all feedback so you can improve each new employee spotlight in the future.

You can organize these follow-up get-togethers with your star employee to outline key talking points that will bring value to the rest of the collective. Remember, it’s not just about praising the individual for their amazing work. It’s about leveraging their star status to empower and inspire others in your organization. 

Bottom line

There are many benefits to kick-starting an employee spotlight program, one of which is increased employee engagement. When employees are more engaged, they are not only happier and more productive but also are more loyal to the brand and have an easier time staying with the company long-term.

In a time when job-hopping has become extremely popular, this type of program can be a lifesaver for many businesses in a competitive market. Employee spotlights bring many perks that will help you develop your competitive advantage and take your company forward as a whole.

Start implementing these best practices and tips as soon as possible to build an engaged employee collective and a powerful employer brand.

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