(February 27, 2017) – One of your company’s greatest competitive advantages is its culture. When your core values are lived out in everyday interactions and collaborations, they become more of a mindset than a mere model of what you want your mission and vision to be.
Maintaining strong levels of employee engagement involves comprehensive planning, and workplace activities play a key role in this process.
What kind of activities should you use to boost engagement among your employees?
The answer will depend largely upon your specific business and its workforce. Still, it can be helpful to see what’s happening at other thriving companies. To that end, we’ve pulled together a sampling of proven suggestions that can be easily adopted.
Use the following ideas as a starting point for activities that will boost morale and get employees excited about their roles within your organization.
Plan Around Holidays or Themes
There’s more to workplace celebrations than just your annual holiday party. Holidays and themes are a fun way for employees to bring their creativity and personal passions to the table. Consider planning otherwise mundane activities around smaller (or even obscure) holidays to infuse some energy into the message. Then, take it to the next level through employee contests or games they can participate in.
For example, when it came time to introduce a new employee engagement app, the HR team at Indiana-headquartered Mainstreet used the coinciding Indianapolis 500 as inspiration for a “race” to download it. The event-themed launch party resulted in a same-day adoption rate of 100%.
From scavenger hunts to themed events, there are plenty of opportunities to fill next year’s calendar with activities that go beyond the standard holidays:
- Check the national day calendar for opportunities to host off-the-beaten path lunches, happy hours, and events
- Ring in the Chinese New Year with an internal parade, DIY costume contest, or zodiac-inspired dance competition.
- Host a post-holiday healthy lunch pitch-in the week after Thanksgiving indulgences.
- Keep tabs on personal interests so you can provide individualized surprises during holiday events.
Get Involved in Community Philanthropy
What better way to increase employee engagement than to do it while giving back to your community? Corporate philanthropy means a lot more than just tax breaks and feeling warm and fuzzy. According to Achieve research sponsored by The Case Foundation, 55% of millennials say that a company’s involvement with causes helped persuade them to take the job. Plus, it allows you to invest in the community around you for increased company visibility, partnership opportunities, and a healthier local economy.
But participating in philanthropy doesn’t always have to mean writing a check. Sometimes, employee time means more than a dollar sign. Bringing your employees together over a shared cause also enhances team unity and camaraderie.
At FirstPerson, employees are given ample opportunities to participate in company-sponsored volunteer projects and are encouraged to take a day of volunteer time off to support community causes of their choice.
You can do the same by taking a half-day or entire workday to let employees get out of the office, breathe some fresh air, and work with their hands over a shared service project. Check with your local parks and recreation, public works, or city beautification groups to see if there are any existing opportunities. Additionally, you can put your own spin on philanthropic activities with ideas like:
- Build an internal competition around a local school supply or canned food drive.
- Adopt a family through a non-profit like United Way and then use it as a way to support your retail partners, vendors, or clients.
- Create a race (with real trophies and prizes!) when it comes time to help clean up local parks.
Rally Around Your Product or Service
What’s the one thing that ALL of your employees have in common? You. In your attempt to increase employee engagement, don’t forget about why you’re there in the first place—your company’s product or service. No, this doesn’t mean holding a company meeting that drags on for hours. It means:
- Celebrating successes and new product innovations in your company
- Applauding accomplishment of reaching shared goals
- Inviting employees to participate in innovation and new ideas
You can do this by implementing employee activities such as:
- Giving employees a voice through mobile polls
- Adding a suggestion box to your employee engagement mobile app
- Encouraging celebration of important wins by catering breakfast when a big goal is achieved
…and any number of other activities that match the unique needs of your workforce.
Every company is different. And so are the motivations for each team and employee. When you uncover those unique traits and offer employee activities with engagement in mind, you help set the stage for a happier, more productive workforce.
Filling the calendar with purposeful activities is just the start, of course. For a meaningful and lasting impact on engagement, those activities must be supported with an in-depth employee engagement strategy that ensures your team is consistently connected, inspired, and given a voice.