Employee engagement activities are essential to attract, and more importantly, retain great talent. So let’s look at 20 of the best employee engagement activities that are sure to be a hit amongst your workforce.
What Are Employee Engagement Activities?
Employee engagement is about how an employee feels towards their job, how committed they are, how much effort they are willing to put in, and how inspired they feel. The goal is to have happy employees and make sure that they drive performance.
Here are the 20 Best Employee Engagement Activities in 2022
Employee of the month
Every company hopes that every employee works hard to give this award out to everyone. This isn’t possible. But this means that some will work extra hard and make sure they get this award.
Employees don’t stay in a workplace that doesn’t appreciate their efforts. As an employee engagement activity, having an employee of the month program is excellent. Of course, it helps if the winners are rewarded with awesome gift cards or bonuses.
Make it worth it: Define the rules and outline eligibility criteria so that employees know what they need to do. Let them know what their reward is. A photo on the wall is nice but may not be enough to get them to give their best.
Make sure you celebrate: Use your company’s internal social network to announce it and be sincere and loud about appreciating your employee of the month.
It is an excellent employee engagement activity to show employees that you see their efforts and you are willing to reward them for it.
Feedback is a great engagement tool
Feedback is one of the most powerful tools you could use as an employee engagement activity. Promoting feedback as a culture in your organization is one of the best things you could do.
According to Forbes, 82% of all employees appreciate positive and negative feedback. The study also says that about 43% of highly engaged employees get feedback once a week.
A culture where peers can discuss how things can be improved and employees can approach managers with new ideas and problems they face without worrying is a dream come true.
In general, feedback is associated with correction or if an employee has done something wrong. Don’t let this be the case. Instead, feedback is about learning from your employees, talking to them freely and openly, and creating the sense that you are always in their corner no matter what.
When a serious issue occurs, make sure you find the time to pull the employee aside and give them constructive feedback to prevent it from happening again.
Weekend fun meetings
Make it a habit to have a quick, fun meeting at the end of the week. Use this great employee engagement activity as an opportunity to thank your team for their hard work. Show them that you see their contribution and use it to understand what else they need.
Let them know where the company stands. This way, they see what they are doing and how it helps the company achieve its objectives.
Most importantly, make the meetings interactive and exciting. It doesn't always have to be about work. It could just be a Friday afternoon catchup where employees get to share what’s going on in their lives.
Food always makes things better. So halfway through the week is a good time to change the pace and ask everyone to bring a special dish to work. You could even add a little spice to the competition and declare a winner for the best dish.
Feeding your friends makes you happy, which is a great vibe to have at work. Potlucks are a great way to break the monotony and do some serious team bonding as an employee engagement activity. It is also a great activity to promote diversity in the workplace.
If your employees aren’t from the same geographic location, most likely, they have never tried each other’s delicacies. So, this could be a great way to share some culture.
Encourage them to follow their passions
Employees don’t always get their dream jobs. Even if they are great at their jobs, they may not feel fully satiated or happy doing these jobs to make a living.
Finding ways to keep them excited is vital to make sure they stay at work and find ways to be happy. Encourage your employees to pursue their hobbies and passions. Even if this means a little extra spending, it is worth it.
Employee engagement activities should be designed to work with employee passions. If you can find a way to integrate their passions with their work, it is even better. It could be as simple as letting employees use your AV room to record their videos for their YouTube channel. Showing that you care about them goes a long way
While schedule adherence is vital to ensure productivity goals are met, giving your employees a little freedom goes a long way in getting their spirits up.
You may consider implementing a policy that allows them to work from home two days a month. Showing employees you trust them by giving them a flexible schedule works great as an employee engagement tool.
Some jobs don’t require employees to be in attendance for the entire shift. So if you’re looking to add a little to their motivation to be more productive, cut their days short as long as they can meet or exceed their targets.
Every employee would appreciate getting home a couple of hours early.
Celebrate special days
Go the extra mile and use special days as employee engagement activities. For example, get employees a birthday cake or help them celebrate milestones, like completing five years working for the organization.
Having personal connections with your employees is essential to feel engaged. It feels nice to get a personal message on a cake from your peers at work.
If you have the bandwidth go the extra mile and arrange a little surprise visit from the employee’s family. Make it a really special day.
Welcome gift packs
The first day of work can be stressful. New hires have to get used to the people, working styles, and environment, which can take a lot out of them.
Show them you care by curating a gift pack. This kind of employee engagement activity assures new hires that you aren’t just about getting work out of them and that you are an employer who gives as well.
Again, this is an excellent employee engagement activity for new hires. It also helps build a good bond between them and the long-tenured employees.
Let new hires pair up with seniors and get to know the lay of the land. It helps on various fronts. First, it makes sure that team bonding starts on day one. New hires always have a friendly face around. Most importantly, they get to learn the best practices from their mentors.
It is a great way to transfer company culture to the new hires while keeping an eye on quality. Mentors usually become pretty close to the new hires. It creates an atmosphere of trust. The employees can then begin to talk openly, encouraging a feedback culture.
Host volunteer programs
Giving is a great way to feel great about what you do. It also helps to be able to work towards a common cause together.
It is a great employee engagement activity, which also helps build the right kind of brand image. It could be something as simple as getting employees to bring old clothes to work for donation or going around the area where your offices are located and doing a little bit of litter picking.
Employees will end up bonding with each other and will all feel that they are working towards a more significant cause and that each of them has played some small part in making the world a better place. Numerous studies show that carrying out random acts of kindness or giving back makes individuals feel better about themselves.
The volunteer program doesn’t have to cost a fortune. In most cases, it is just about spending a little time and making a little effort to make the world a better place.
Encourage a friendly environment
While we all want to make sure that things stay professional at work, this doesn’t mean that we can’t be friendly.
Boss, manager, HR rep who is always busy, it doesn’t matter, go out of your way to make small talk. It may not necessarily be considered an employee engagement activity but rather a way of changing the culture at your workplace.
Take five minutes out of your day to catch up with one or two team members. Have a chat with them. It doesn’t have to be about anything in particular. For example, you could just inquire about how their toddlers are doing in playschool. Keep it light. They may not care about what you do in HR or how you help them, but getting to know them gives you direct access to their thoughts.
Use this to make their lives better and get better goals for your organization.
Employees should be happy and relaxed at work. You don’t want employees walking around the office wearing frowns and serious looks.
It is also the best way to get to know your team. Be sincere in your communication, and you could end up building a fantastic rapport with your colleagues.
When you expect the best from your employees, you need to understand that they can’t always work at full capacity. A great employee engagement activity allows your workers to take a work break and catch up on some well-deserved rest.
Let your workers take a 20 minutes siesta after lunch, or give them the autonomy to decide when they get to take a break and catch a few extra minutes of shut-eye.
Not only do siestas make people more productive, but people will also be more willing to work harder if they know they can get a little time to themselves.
Yoga & Meditation
Stress is commonplace in any high-strung work environment. While some stress is expected, it can be a real productivity buster.
A great employee engagement activity is to run yoga and meditation sessions at work. If your workplace isn’t conducive to these kinds of activities being organized regularly, get your workers subsidized memberships to yoga and meditation centers.
You will find that the more relaxed your workforce is, the more work they are able to do.
Earlier, team outings were a very common employee engagement activity in major metro cities in India. However, they have seen a sharp drop as establishments become warier of costs. But, contrary to popular opinion, it doesn’t have to cost much for the whole team to get out of the office and spend some time doing something enjoyable together.
It could be a movie, or a short hike into nature, or just a chilled-out evening at a café. The point is to get your employees away from work and just give them a chance to be social. Let them unwind and get to know each other better.
Teams that develop stronger bonds tend to work better together and can find resolutions to situations.
Rewards and recognition programs
Good employee rewards and recognition program is vital to ensure that your employees are engaged. However, unlike some of the options on this list, this employee engagement activity does involve a fair bit of expenditure.
A publication by SHRM states that 91% of all HR professionals believe that good R and R programs reduce attrition.
However, you are likely to see great returns for every rupee you spend in the way of increased productivity.
While the rewards and recognition program are important, make sure you have some fun.
Let your employees select silly awards and trophies to give each other. It could be something like the silliest giggle or the most infectious laugh.
Give them the freedom to poke fun at each other and make sure you join in. As the boss, it is crucial to learn how to take as much as you give. So if you’re going to dish it out, expect some silly awards to come your way too.
This employee engagement activity is an excellent way of getting to know your employees. In addition, bringing animals to work is a great day for everyone to have some calming and de-stressing time around animals.
Here is an interesting fact that may help you understand how important pets are, 64% of generation Z employees and 56% of millennials say that they would instead work somewhere else if that means they can spend more time with their pets.
Let them bring their animals to work, and you’ve solved the problem entirely.
People who love animals will enjoy a pet day, where they get to bring their animals to work. If you don’t have many pet owners in your team, but if everyone loves animals, call up your local shelter. There are bound to be an entire bunch of animals yearning for some leave.
Who knows, some of them may even find their forever homes with your employees.
Pets are great for creating a calming atmosphere and allowing people to relax. Dogs are great stress busters and make sure everyone is in a playful mood.
Just make sure you check with your employees for any allergic reactions to fur or dander.
Brainstorm with your employees
Once every couple of weeks, sit down with your team and ask for their ideas. It could be about the new project or finding out why they think business hasn’t improved in the last quarter. It is a fantastic employee engagement activity to let employees see how they can contribute and feel valued.
Let everyone pitch in their ideas, and don’t brush off any ideas as silly. Take the time to listen. You just might find the next billion-dollar idea in that room.
These types of sessions also allow the quieter employees a platform and a chance to speak up.
Encourage diversity and celebrate it
We have all been told from a very young age that we are unique in some way. Yet when we see a little different person, we tend to stare or make judgments. Don’t let this be the case at your workplace.
Having to pay bills and meet expenses is challenging enough without having to worry about what people think about you as a person. It could just be that you dress differently or have a different outlook on life. It doesn’t matter.
The point of this is to celebrate who you are, who the next person is, and let everyone be themselves. Celebrate diversity days, and make them a regular part of your work calendar. For example, if you have a culturally diverse workforce, have show and tell days. Let employees tell stories of their cultures or bring something to work that everyone can share.
If your employees are spending half their energy trying to cover up who they are or be something they aren’t, then you aren’t going to get the best out of them.
Let them know that their workplace is a safe space, let their true colors shine, and let them all embrace each other for being different.
Well, maybe not everything. However, gamification is a great way to get a healthy competition going amongst your team.
As an employee engagement activity, it has been known to work wonders.
Here are a few ideas the HR professionals may find helpful:
- Gamify your learning and training programs
- Use interactive leaderboards to showcase performance
- Spinning wheels for little perks at work (such as an hour off/ or a free coffee)
- Hand out points to performers and let them redeem them for travel or stay
- Pit teams against each other for special weekly rewards
Get your employees to fight towards achieving better productivity or better customer satisfaction scores. Display the winner on a well-made leaderboard and give them some sort of reward.
Creating the right kind of employee engagement activities makes a big difference in making sure your employees feel valued and inspired, and their contribution is seen.
Make sure these activities are well-thought-out and implemented. Some of these activities need to be done quite often to ensure they are effective. You are likely to succeed more if you focus on implementing a culture that focuses on employee engagement.