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Practical Ideas for Employee Engagement Activities

The importance and necessity for employee engagement activities is discussed across meeting rooms in all organizations but where do you start? It’s often this blockage that leads to inaction and the continuous disengagement curve that affects not only employee morale, but productivity, workplace environment and, eventually, business outcomes.

In the Inside Internal Communication 2016 Survey, Paulson Training states that employees with the highest level of commitment perform 20% better and are 87% less likely to leave the organization, making employee communications essential to organization success. hppy put together a practical ideas for employee engagement activities for business.

Engagement Activities

  • Encourage employees to invest in their personal development – Use this personal development framework to check for values alignment with your company. Alignment with company values and vision is one of the main engagement drivers.
  • Have a hack night – Break monotony with an ambitious working night where everyone gets involved to meet a specific objective. For example, a marketing team could have a hack night to design an entire campaign, in a single night. Make it fun with snacks, music and an informal working atmosphere to encourage creativity.
  • Designate values ambassadors that can inspire and engage their peers. Have team members designate the employees who best represented a company value in the past months, and have your new ambassadors organize activities and initiatives that focus on that particular value.
  • Encourage experiential learning and lateral development. Instead of the traditional vertical trajectory of specialized expertise, lateral growth enables development in multiple areas of knowledge, empowering employees.
  • Organize your own Office Olympics. Combine teams and departments and give them a set of challenges that can bring the whole company together in a friendly (and healthy) competition.
  • Celebrate life events. Whenever someone has something important going on in their lives, they can’t leave that event outside the door as they come into work every morning. It can be the birth of a new baby, a graduation ceremony or a wedding. Show that you care about who your employees are as people outside of work and what’s going on in their lives. Also show your support during less happy times, with a simple email or telephone call just to see how they’re doing.

Ideas For Communication

  • Organize a once-a-month lunch with the CEO. By getting to know employees and making himself/herself available, the CEO will instill trust and transparency, making employees feel valued and listened to.
  • Use an impartial outsider who can have difficult/constructive conversations and help discover real feedback. If you’re not comfortable having direct managers give and receive constructive feedback on important matters, try an outsider who specializes in internal communication and talent strategy. See how it goes and try to transition towards the natural course of communication between managers and their teams.
  • Try stand up meetings to improve time efficiency and break monotony. Software teams have been using this technique successfully, minimizing the time spent in meetings, increasing the attention of attendees and making it easier for people to engage in conversation. A daily 15-min stand-up meeting in the morning should do the trick.
  • Use social media to showcase employee success stories, celebrate achievements and create an attractive employer brand. Your employees are already connected 24/7. Make the feel a part of something bigger and instill pride in your company by turning to social media networks to promote your talent.
  • Celebrate project milestones. Every small victory counts and acknowledging everyone’s hard work for each milestone will boost team energy and confidence, increasing transparency and improving communication both on the project and generally in the workplace.

Ideas For Recognition

  • Create a peer-appreciation program that rewards team members who display company behaviours. Create the rules of this activity together with your team and define which values can be represented in which ways. Benchmark everything you do against your company values.
  • Celebrate and reward early success to demonstrate it is worth doing. Why not have a startof-the-project team party?
  • Create a Celebrations calendar in the office with employees’ birthdays and work anniversaries. Find creative ways to celebrate that rely more on the workplace atmosphere than on spending money on expensive gifts.
  • Practice “recognition by walking around”, where managers put aside time in their schedule to go around the office and offer praise to their team members as they perform well. Put 15 minutes on your daily agenda and go around the office to interact with your team and praise their accomplishments.
  • Stage a “recognition ambush” with the CEO or senior manager. Make sure the employee you want to surprise isn’t too shy or is not against public displays of recognition. Surprise them with a sincere acknowledgement of their efforts.
  • Create a development program for middle managers, where they learn how to recognize employees as part of their daily routine, and why recognizing achievements is not a threat to their own position.

Ideas For Business Transparency

  • Create a leadership community that encourages knowledge sharing and mentoring for less experienced employees. Have your most experienced employees share their success, their failures and how they perfected themselves over time, to inspire and engage newer hires.
  • Involve employees in creating the company vision for next year or for the upcoming project. People will commit to something they created and feel a part of.
  • Allow employees to select their next assignments. Flexibility is a key engagement factor. Empower employees by allowing them to prioritize their work, assess their efforts and have ownership of their workload.
  • Have employees dictate their own salary and set their own working hours. Try selfmanagement, a new way of running a company, where key responsibilities like setting direction and objectives, planning, directing, controlling, and evaluating are no longer in managers’ hands, but in those of their employees. Read more about it in Frederic Laloux’s book Reinventing Organizations.
  • Try open-book management with The Great Game of Business, a management approach that promotes transparency and gamification in business to educate, empower and engage employees.
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