21 Employee Engagement Activities
A happy workplace is a productive workplace. Research shows that there are plenty of benefits to having regular engagement activities in the workplace, and one of the most important benefits is the direct impact it has on company profits and sales. In today’s age, employees are constantly seeking motivation, inspiration and a reason to stay committed to an organization. Considering the fact that employee retention is a real challenge, it is necessary to communicate your company values and goals through the use of discretionary effort.
If you are a forward-thinking organization working tirelessly to promote a positive and engaging company culture, here are 21 great employee engagement activities to carry out.
1. Give New Employees a Warm Welcome and Show Gratitude to Old Employees
Old employees are the foundation of an organization, whereas new employees are the future. You can’t segregate the two and give preference to one over the other. Unfortunately, though, many companies make the mistake of either neglecting their old employees or not welcoming their new employees. When a new employee joins an organization, give them a warm welcome and provide them with stationery sets like mugs, pens, diaries, stickers, shirts - anything that makes them feel part of the organization.
2. Connect Old Employees with Newcomers
Always try to connect the old with the new by assigning a mentor to every newcomer; someone who can make them feel welcomed, be pleasant and can guide them around. It is necessary, though, that the old employee you engage for this purpose has a good sense of company culture and is able to make the new employee feel welcomed. Most of the time, old employees in an organization show resistance to newcomers and may even be subtly hostile towards them. One of the best ways to prevent this is to ensure that old employees are given adequate training, and that they are also appreciated for their efforts in welcoming a newcomer. Everyone wants recognition, and if you can mention an old employee as being a great mentor, you are actually showing how you still value them.
3. Have a Birthday Month Celebration
Celebrate birthday months with cakes, snacks and goodies. During the birthday celebration, also give your employees cards and notes from other team members. Small celebrations like this mean a lot and work miraculously well for uniting people from different teams and departments. It’s also a good time for people to communicate together and work actively towards achieving company goals.
4. Provide Your Employees with a Healthy Lifestyle
If you have a cafeteria or a vending machine, try providing healthy eating options. It’s easy to stock it with chips and cookies, but encouraging healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle will go far in getting your employees to be productive and active. If you have space, have some exercise equipment too, and encourage people to take walking breaks instead of smoking breaks. Have a monthly or weekly indoor exercise challenge, which will motivate everyone to use the equipment and take their healthy lifestyles seriously.
5. Celebrate Calendar Events
Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day? Whatever the calendar occasion, celebrate it with a relevant theme. And you don’t need to waste your whole day doing so. Simply spend the last one hour in taking pictures, having snacks and getting people to dress in theme colors. You want to create an exciting office environment where people can feel energized and look forward to being part of an event.
6. Have Regular Indoor Game Tournaments
You can have outdoor games, too, if you have the facility, but in case you do not, indoor games work well too. The purpose is to have people come together in good spirits and challenge each other over a game of snakes and ladders, monopoly or puzzles, for that matter. It also helps to remove them from technology and experience their childhood once again. For young millennials on the team, this is also a good time for them to learn from their older peers.
7. Encourage Team Lunches
Arrange for teams to have lunches together, and make sure their managers or leaders are involved, too. You can do it as a company, or you can provide a certain lunch budget for every quarter/month and let employees choose what they want. This fosters team spirit and unites team members over a delicious meal.
8. Have a Weekend Trip
Of course, you can’t do this every weekend, but once a month you can get employees together to go explore parts of the city, to go to the beach or even to go to a museum together. There will be people who may grumble and probably complain, but be assured that more than half of your staff will love these get-togethers and enjoy time off from work.
9. Have Weekly Meetings with the Team
Employees want to know what’s happening in the organization, and they want inside information about company directions and profits and losses. If you really value your employees, take them into your confidence and provide them with essential information about how things are generally going along. This is also a great time to get their feedback and have them give ideas and solutions to problems.
10. Celebrate Achievements, Small or Big
It doesn’t have to be a huge win to celebrate. You can also celebrate small achievements. An employee who managed to retain and provide satisfying customer support to a disgruntled customer can be applauded for his excellent support skills. The same employee can be asked to give a small training session to others in the company. These small wins matter in the long run, and if they are not appreciated, employees will feel pretty demotivated to achieve big wins.
11. Encourage Work-Life Balance
Keep your company culture productive and balanced. Do not encourage staying late, nor should you ignore it when one of your team members chooses to stay late. By making sure everyone comes in on time and leaves on time, you ensure productivity without sacrificing personal time. You will see that this leads to maximum productivity and will drastically cut down your operational costs, as well.
12. Organize Seminars and Motivational Speakers
The world is undergoing a rapid change, and so you need to keep your employees informed and progressive. To do so, organize seminars and motivational speaking sessions. For example, a seminar on how to manage workplace stress can do well in helping people identify problem areas in their working style and improve on them.
13. Arrange CSR Activities
Want your employees to feel socially responsible? Engage them in CSR activities that would be morally beneficial for them and socially beneficial for you. Pick a CSR activity your company would love to take up and leave it to your employees to plan the activity.
14. Enable Them to Learn New Skills
Want them to learn new skills? Help pay for group classes using virtual options like Coursera or Udemy. Apart from these, you can also arrange for live classroom sessions, usually held by certifying bodies such as ISC (if you have an IT staff). Give them the opportunity to earn a new certification and enhance their skills for the benefit of your organization.
15. Encourage Knowledge Sharing
Has anyone learnt any new skill in the past few months? Encourage them to create a knowledge base or to give instructor-led trainings. Motivate people to train others within the organization and create a sharing of knowledge to boost team morale and individual goals.
16. Create Fun Working Spaces
Want to cut down on operational costs and still want to have a productive working space? Cut down on cubicles and have comfortable bean bags or couches! But don’t make this a policy. For people who are comfortable working in a traditional table-chair setting, keep a desk row ready. Those who want to use the bean bags can do that, and those who want the tables can use the row.
17. Set up Weekly One-on-Ones with Managers and Their Teams
It’s not just about fun, but also about getting to know your employees better. Ask managers to sit with their team members individually in weekly one-on-ones and get to know their challenges, achievements and problems. You can also do this by asking employees to send in anonymous notes in the weekly notice box and get to know what people are facing.
18. Create Healthy Competition
For small projects and tasks, create healthy competition. Give people tickets to a movie or a dinner date if they are able to meet milestones within given guidelines (and deadlines). The point here is to make people feel accomplished, and not insecure. They need to compete for a good time and not for a position or a raise in salary that would create disharmonious feelings and cause anxiety.
19. Start a Creative Company Project
It’s the age of entertainment, and people love comedy about real life situations. This is how highly paid YouTubers entertain their viewers. So, you could start filming a YouTube documentary of your office, start a newsletter or start a happy go lucky company blog. The idea is to get your employees to contribute, engage and de-stress.
20. Nurture and Give Talent a Platform
Did you know you have an employee who is a great pianist? Or someone who sings really well? How about the others? What talent do they have? Bring out the hidden talents of your employees. Have a talent show day and ask people to demonstrate their talents. Incentivize the show and give the best performers small gifts or souvenirs. There are many people out there who have to kill their creative talents just to work a 9-5 job. Be a leader who encourages creativity, rather than stifling it.
21. Enable Employees to Create Creative Personal Spaces
Ask your employees to bring some creativity to the office environment. Maybe bring in a few balloons, put up creative and motivational posters or simply add some ornaments to their personal spaces. If you’re considering a renovation project, ask them for interior design plans within a limited budget and see what your employees need.
Although this list may sound superficial and costly to many organizations, it is actually quite the opposite. All of this is the effort you are putting in to retain the best talent and lower turnover rates. You’ll notice more productivity, increased efficiency, and increased motivation, and no one will hate coming to work on a Monday. Remember, hordes of people are leaving boring offices to start their own gigs or to find more exciting opportunities. As a functional business, you can’t risk your best talent starting his own gig just because he found your environment stifling to be in. Good employee engagement activities will help employees feel like they’re at home, and that is exactly what will motivate them to work harder.