You want employees who are excited to come to work and ready to contribute. Engaged employees are good employees, and they’re the type who make your job easy as a manager.
But it’s on you to create an environment that fosters employee engagement. Without strong leadership, employees won’t be willing to get super invested in their company or team. They look to you for cues. If you prioritize employee engagement and motivation, they will too.
Thankfully, there are a host of activities that can boost motivation and encourage ownership for various responsibilities. As long as you set aside time, resources, and budget to prioritize these activities, you’ll be well on your way to creating an environment that puts employees as its center.
What is Employee Engagement?
Many companies focus on employee engagement.
According to Forbes contributor Kevin Kruse, “employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals.”
Basically, employee engagement is how much your employees care about their work at your company. Are they invested, responsible, and excited about projects? Can they collaborate and do they respect one another? If so, you probably have healthy employee engagement already. If not, there are many things you can do to boost spirits and get employees more motivated.
Why Does Employee Engagement Matter?
If an employee can do their job, does it really matter if they’re engaged? Yes! Studies show that engaged employees are happier, more productive, and a lot more likely to stick around.
In 2012, Gallup conducted a very large study to see if high employee engagement really made a difference. Gallup found that businesses that had engaged employees were two times as likely to be successful as a business. Those who had the most engaged employees fared even better– they were four times as likely to be successful.
Additionally, the study found that high employee engagement resulted in greater attendance, fewer safety incidents, higher productivity and profitability, and lower turnover.
What Activities Engage Employees? A Comprehensive List
There are many ideas on how to engage employees, but one of the most prominent is to prioritize activities that put employees at the center.
Here’s our comprehensive list of employee engagement activities:
Most companies throw annual summer and winter parties to celebrate another year of business. Additional festivities like Halloween parties, Thanksgiving dinners, and other celebratory parties make people feel as though they’re a company’s priority. Two annual parties are enough, but make sure they count. For example, make sure to invite families, significant others, and spouses to these events. To save money, throw a party during the day, or barter with other businesses for their services.
Learning lunches are the perfect way to bring your team together and help them learn. Encourage different departments to share what they’re working on, recognize birthdays, and tackle a new topic as a team. Bitly hosts lunch and learns once per week because they build community, foster learning, and helps with transparency. Just make sure they’re short and sweet, not boring. No one wants to have a long lunch meeting. Keep these lunches light and fun!
Employee Games, Tournaments, and Competitions
Employees love getting involved in games, tournaments, and competitions– and they don’t have to be fancy. Consider hosting a ping-pong or pool tournament, or challenge the office to a bake-off. Even creating an office-wide fantasy football league can do wonders for the employees at your organization. Some offices hold 5K races and other sporting events as well.
Special days such as “Bring your Dog to Work Day” change the pace and give employees something to look forward to. People Magazine even compiled the cutest photos from “Take Your Dog to Work Day.” Other ideas? Bring your child to work day, pajama day, or even a “no uniform” day can all engage and excite employees.
Training has a reputation for being boring. That’s because…well…they often are! But if you’re able to bring in a special speaker for a truly interesting and invigorating training session, you’ll engage your employees and teach them something new.
Recognition programs are a great way to get employees to engage with each other. Zappos is famous for this type of strategy and has four ways that employees can reward each other. They have a “Zollars” program where employees can earn Zappos money, as well as a parking program that lets employees give each other the best spots in the company lot.
Sports events are a great time to bring your employees and their families together. Choose a local basketball, baseball, or soccer team, and invite everyone. If you’re tight on cash, consider a college or minor league game. If you have a marathon that goes through your city, host a party along the route with all your employees.
Team-building activities, especially those outside of the office, are something that employees love. Laser tag, go-cart racing, and bowling are all options, as are brewery and winery tours. These types of activities will facilitate bonding outside of the workspace, and give employees common ground.
Many workplaces hold bar nights per week at a local watering hole to offer employees the opportunity to blow off some steam. Just make sure you have offerings outside of alcohol-related events, as they can be exclusive to those who don’t drink. Bar nights should be a supplement to other employee engagement activities.
Fundraisers and Charity Days
Fundraisers and charity days are a great time bring employees together for the common good. Often these causes affect your employees, so give them the opportunity to organize events for causes they are passionate about.
Employee Engagement For All
Engaged employees are ideal for managers. These are the employees who make it easy to do your job well. Ultimately, setting aside time, budget, and resources for employee engagement activities will increase motivation, improve employee retention, and ultimately make your workplace more efficient and productive.
Have you tried out any activities in this guide? Which are the most important to your organization?