Let’s handle things upfront: what is employee engagement and how can employee engagement activities change the atmosphere of your workplace? According to Forbes, employee engagement is that emotional aspect that connects an individual to their work, job role, or company. It measures how much a person is attached and is willing to offer to their present professional endeavors. If an employee is committed, the whole company will profit greatly. On the other side of the spectrum, if engagement is low, a turnover rate will likely appear also. Will employee engagement activities change that? Most likely.
The Relevance of Employee Engagement Activities
Why does employee engagement matter in the first place? You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to realize that, as an employer, you want your staff to come to work excited and ready to contribute. And most times that doesn’t come easily. It’s up to you to create a welcoming, dynamic and gratifying working environment. And even though there is no such thing as a quick fix, if you prioritize employees and ensure that they are appreciated at all times, later on, you will see results.
But you might be wondering: what are employee engagement activities? Simply stated, they are endeavors aimed at boosting motivation, creating a productive environment amongst co-workers, and promoting a healthy relationship between employee and employer. Probably one of the best engagement strategies if viewed correctly. And before you start drafting ideas, you need to realize that this is more of a mindset than a battle plan. This time, you need to view your team, not as a collective, but rather individually. You need to acknowledge your employees with all their accomplishments, aspirations, and viewpoints. Basically, you need to see them as real and unique individuals. Once you’ve got that down, organizing team engagement activities will be a walk in the park.
With that being said, even focusing on two or three activities at a time is an important step in the right direction. Making sure you implement them well will have a positive impact on the whole workplace experience. If you are unsure where to start, however, we have got you covered. Here we’ve prepared some impressive team engagement ideas that are certain to bring in some serious improvements all over the board.
1. Develop a social recognition program
Lack of recognition is probably one of the main reasons why employees choose to leave their company. To avoid this issue, try to incorporate ways to acknowledge and appreciate your team member’s efforts. This is particularly important as a recent study by Harvard Business School showed that “More than 80 percent of American employees say they do not feel recognized or rewarded, despite the fact that U.S. companies are spending more than a fifth of their budgets on wages”. This shows that the value of money simply won’t count for much in keeping your staff motivated and inclined to put a greater effort into their responsibilities. And even though a cash-based reward system might be useful for work that is measured quantitatively, it is not very helpful when it comes to complex creative jobs that actually make up for a large sector in our modern society.
With that in mind, you need to establish a social program that focuses on non-momentary recognition. Don’t wait for the end of the fiscal year to acknowledge your employees’ achievements. Taking action on a regular basis will provide individuals with the motivation needed to keep their workflow high. That being said, social recognition is incredibly powerful in building engagement and improving overall performance. Moreover, its impact is similar or, in some cases, outweighs monetary appreciation as it was proven that companies with strong social recognition programs were found to experience lower job turnover and increased productivity.
2. Establish a knowledge-sharing system
One of the biggest factors that cause a decrease in employee engagement and possibly a higher turnover rate is the failure to pass critical information among your staff. It doesn’t take much effort to realize that individuals like to be informed in all matters regarding their workplace, especially things that are happening outside their existing teams. It helps them feel like they are part of a grander machine and it keeps them motivated to work harder.
You can have mentorship programs for new employees, where they feel really welcomed within the company. And you might even throw in some bonuses for the people who volunteer to be mentors. This will act as a great motivator for both parties and thus the employee engagement rate will increase even further. Or, if you don’t have the resources for such an elaborate program, you can easily develop an online learning platform, giving new employees a chance to test their own learning capabilities.
Another exceptional idea is to create an accessible learning space. Since most teams are isolated and preoccupied with their own projects, this method will allow for the sharing of important information, such as key learning points that each team member accumulated doing their work, updates on company issues, and so on. This way, not only will employees evolve much faster at their job, but it will also provide a learning opportunity that will make their time at work that much more rewarding.
And lastly, make sure to keep everyone informed at all costs. People love when they are given the “inside scoop” on everything, and the workplace is no different. Keep employees up to date with things such as the way the company is headed or whatever challenges leadership is facing. Making them feel like they are part of the circle of trust will surely enhance their commitment to their job and increase their engagement.
3. Organize office parties for employees
One of the best and most efficient ways to create a lively atmosphere in the workplace and make sure your staff gets along with one another is to organize office parties. Make sure your team matters and everybody feels included. In that sense, you can celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, or any important milestone in your employee’s life. This is an amazing way to ensure that everyone feels like they are part of an inclusive and welcoming working environment. And while you are having some well-deserved fun, you can even try your hand at some indoor team building games, like The Pictionary Game or The Bodyguard. These are some amazing team engagement ideas and a great way to enhance team productivity through cooperation and communication.
4. Create an in-house magazine
One of the best ways to make sure you have a steady flow of communication between your colleagues is to set up a viable source that will generate dialogue. An effective way to do that is to create your own internal magazine. You can arrange it in such a way that it focuses on the employees with amazing columns, a news section, or perhaps even a featured story of the “Employee of the Month”. It can either be a printed magazine or you can set it up in an online environment. You can have it out monthly and it is a guaranteed way to get everybody in the office talking about the latest issue and its contents.
5. Arrange trips with your team
Organizing office trips with your team is probably one of the best ways to further bond with your colleagues and establish stronger relationships in the workplace. An annual trip can be easily squeezed into the company’s budget and it will prove to be a great investment. Whatever place you choose, make sure you combine relaxation with some fun employee engagement activities such as sports competitions, tournaments, and team building games. Are you going somewhere warm and sunny? Try some water polo or do a volleyball tournament. Are you indoors? Go for an employee bake-off or try some indoor team building games like the 20 Questions Game. Whatever you choose you can be sure that it will lead to a more positive atmosphere between co-workers and an overall great attitude towards the workplace.
6. Set up a wellness and health program
If you really want to improve employee engagement you need to make your staff feel not only appreciated but taken care of. And nothing says that better than a well-established wellness or health program. There is no secret that such a program would yield a higher productivity rate amongst your staff. Stress is a major issue in our modern society and it is the major catalyst for health issues, whether physical or of a mental nature. That being said, helping your employees tackle a fragment of those problems will surely decrease the likelihood of them resigning. So get to know your team. Are they fitness inclined? Try organizing a fitness challenge! Are they into environmentalism? Try a zero-waste day at work! Customize your program with your employees in mind. This will increase their trust in the company and the probability for even better engagement on their part.
7. Provide volunteering opportunities for employees
Giving back to others and supporting nonprofits from your community is a great method to facilitate an overall positive mentality within your workforce. Volunteering tends to make people feel good about themselves so use this opportunity to foster a stronger sense of community through cultivating pride and gratitude amongst your peers. Gather your team and let them pick a cause they seem to resonate with. Letting the mission be led by employees is an even better way to facilitate social responsibility while at the same time encouraging others to share something they are passionate about with the rest of the community. You may even want to consider establishing a legitimate give-back program and let your team regularly choose and raise funds for causes that they care about. This is a wonderful approach in making sure everybody feels like they are serving a greater cause, which in turn will create a positive outlook on the workplace.
8. Organize social events
Is it Friday? Make it a half-day and go somewhere and engage in some outdoor team building activities. Go on a scavenger hunt, play some sports or have a poker night. The possibilities are endless. You can even throw an annual celebration for events such as Halloween or Christmas. These types of social events will act as a gift towards employees who, in turn, will feel valued as a company priority. Make sure to let them invite their significant others or family members as this will make for an even friendlier and welcoming working environment.
9. Involve employees in office design decisions
You might think that this is a superficial suggestion, but an amazing workspace that has the approval of everybody at the office has a huge impact on overall employee satisfaction, which in turn will increase engagement levels. So don’t hesitate to start an office design committee that will take control over the space they work in. You will be surprised how those little touches to their everyday working location will do wonders for team engagement and productivity.
10. Keep their motivation up…by any means necessary
And lastly, we are well aware of how difficult it is to adopt a positive and empowered state of mind daily. Sometimes we simply forget how to pick ourselves up from that gloomy space and be motivated. And everybody is guilty of that, your employees included. So, one simple method to remind them that life gets harder sometimes and that they can surely manage anything is with one small daily reminder. Find an inspirational quote, either from a book or straight from the internet, and send it to them every Monday morning, when we all know, things are especially troublesome. It is a super simple and caring way to keep everyone motivated for the day ahead.
Employee engagement activities are a must, there is simply no way around that. There is enough convincing evidence out there that proves that enhancing team engagement is something worth investing in. It generates a number of benefits such as increased productivity, better and stronger relationships between co-workers and between management and staff, as well as lower turnover rates and general wellbeing.