Whether your company has 10 employees or 10,000, coming up with ideas to keep everyone connected and engaged can be a challenge. It’s easy to fall back on the same old employee engagement programs, but they tend to lose their effectiveness with too much repetition. Don’t worry; we’ve got your back. Here are 21 employee engagement activities you can use as inspiration.
1 - Help your employees get to know each other better
People emotionally invest in other people, not companies, so creating a strong bond between team members is critical. You might organize a lunch with people from different departments, or stage a happy hour in the office. Anything that encourages people to mingle. The more bonding you encourage your employees to practice, the more natural collaborative work will come.
2 - Start a mentorship program
Sometimes the most rewarding work is helping others. Give your employees the opportunity to help others grow by starting a mentorship program.
3 - Focus on collaboration
Cross functional collaboration is essential to innovation, but it isn’t something that often happens on its own. One way to encourage it is to hold a training session on why collaboration is important and how to make it happen. It also makes sense to invest in technology that supports it.
4 - Encourage health and wellness
It’s tough to go all in at work when you aren’t feeling well. Anything that supports the physical and mental well-being of your team can help contribute to engagement. You might provide funds for gym memberships, bring in a massage therapist, give employees a mental health day, or organize a walking group during lunch.
5 - Be clear about responsibilities and goals
This might not seem like an engagement activity, but it really is. One of the top reasons that employees leave their company is that they don’t understand how their work fits into goals and objectives of the organization. Try holding a company-wide meeting that goes over how each department will help achieve the company's end goals.
6 - Evaluate your employee's on-boarding process
Start earning engagement on day one by making sure your new hires have an excellent experience during the on-boarding process. Make sure they feel connected to the team from the very start. Also, gather and act on feedback from the on-boarding process. This will improve the on-boarding process for future new hires and spark engagement with current employees.
7- Increase individual market value
Today’s workers know they need to constantly expand their skills in order to keep up. Offer opportunities to help employees move forward by providing time and budget for continuing education.
8 - Redecorate
Some types of businesses require a fairly ridged work space layout, but others don’t. If you can, let your employees have a say in how the space is arranged and decorated. Let it reflect your team’s personality. Also, try refreshing the seating arrangements every so often. This will allow employees to engage with different people in the company.
9 - Encourage networking
In today’s connected world, having a large network of colleagues and peers is of high value. Encourage your employees to grow their networks by reimbursing them for professional subscriptions to sites like LinkedIn or networks like the National Association of Professional Women.
10 - Serve the community
Giving back is especially important to the Millennial generation. You might organize an event that provides funds for a charity, build a house with Habitat for Humanity, or allow employees to take paid time off to volunteer.
11 - Give your employees visibility
Update your employees on key information about the company, such as challenges the executive team is facing. Employees value and respect being included in the "inside circle".
12 - Celebrate accomplishments
People on your team do remarkable things and contribute great ideas all the time. Make sure to broadcast these achievements to the entire organization.
13 - Ask for employee engagement ideas
This one’s a no-brainer. If you want to know what activities will help your team stay engaged, why not ask them for ideas?
14 - Act on employee feedback
To make sure your employees continue to provide valuable feedback and stay engaged, you need to act on their feedback. If you put the feedback on the back-burner, employee engagement will descrease exponentially.
15 - Try cross-training
One way to get folks out of a rut is to mix things up by letting them work in another department for a little while. This helps break up the monotony and gives the employee the opportunity to learn a new skill. Who knows, you might even find someone who would flourish in a different role.
16 - Hold a birthday breakfast with the CEO
Face time with executive leadership is highly prized by front-line workers, but difficult to come by without a plan. One idea is to hold a monthly breakfast with the CEO and everyone who has a birthday that month.
17 - Promote from within
Seeing others climb the ladder can be very motivational. Promoting from within not only helps keep the promoted employee engaged, but it also signals to others that there are opportunities for those who stretch.
18 - Hire a motivational speaker
Sometimes it makes sense to bring in someone from outside the company with a great inspirational story. Professional motivators are available in almost every market and less expensive than you might imagine.
19 - Have a regular potluck lunch
Lunch is a great time for employees to get to know each other and bond a bit, but usually people scatter during lunch time. A potluck is a cool (and inexpensive) way to bring people together for a little while.
Helping your employees amplify their social media presence is good for them and good for the company. Provide social media training for employees who are less comfortable with the concept. Feed employees links and content that they can easily post to grow their following and yours.
21 - Involve everyone in improvement
Nothing is more frustrating to an employee than knowing how to solve a problem, but being un-empowered to do so. Employees who know that their ideas for improvement will be taken seriously are more likely to offer them and exercise discretionary effort to implement solutions.
This list isn’t exhaustive, of course, but hopefully you’ve seen an idea or two that might work for your organization. If you’ve tried one of these or something else that worked well, we’d love to hear about it in the comments.