Employee Engagement Ideas and Activities for Team Leaders
In today’s world, employee engagement is a critical factor in the success of an organization or business. As a manager or business owner, your goal should be more than to just be the guy that pays for the printer supplies. Your goal should be to have employees that come into work every day prepared to do whatever it takes to make the company succeed.
But getting your employees to truly engage in their work and give 110% may be trickier than it sounds. Here are a few employee engagement ideas that you can use to build a more productive, engaged workforce.
What Is Employee Engagement and Why Is it Important?
Employee engagement involves encouraging your employees to work toward the goals of the company, take pride in their work, and feel good about being a part of the team. In return, employees expect that as the company continues to grow and benefit that they will continue to grow with the company.
Employee engagement is important because it gets the individual employees working together like a team which will improve your company’s performance as a whole. It can be challenging to constantly keep employees engaged, but when you have a plan in place, you will be able to improve your sales, increase profits, streamline your productivity, and your customers will be more satisfied in the end. In addition, your employees will take fewer sick days, and they will feel more positive about coming into work.
How to Engage Employees
So you may be thinking that employee engagement is “easier said than done”. Coming up with new and interesting employee engagement ideas is really about understanding your team and what drives them. Ideas that work well for an older, majority male sales team may not work as well for the development team of a younger technology company.
Having an understanding of what your employees are interested in and what their motivations are is really the first step of the process. Once you have a few ideas, you can begin formulating some employee engagement ideas for your team. Here are a few examples you can consider for inspiration.
Include Employees in Planning
You can set regular meetings to discuss the status and direction of the company, any planned activities or strategies, and make a plan for improvement going forward. It is a good idea for a team leader to meet with the team and actively engage everyone in the process. By including the employees in the planning process, they will feel more connected to the outcome and more loyal to the plan because they have a personal stake in it.
Don’t overdo it though when it comes to meetings. If you spend too much time bringing your team into meetings, they may begin to view the sessions as excessive and inefficient. In many cases, this can have the opposite effect and hurt your overall employee engagement.
Create a Mentorship Program
When new employees come in, they may feel overwhelmed with everything that they need to learn about the company and its culture. One way to help new employees become more engaged is to assign experienced team members to them as mentors to guide them through the process. This can really pay off for your team in the long run.
This is sometimes called a knowledge-sharing system, and it has many benefits. For one, it helps the employees become accustomed to the company culture more quickly. In addition, it helps to prevent a loss of important information when employees leave the company. By having team members who are up to date and ready to mentor new employees, this information will be transferred to the new employee, and your business will continue to operate seamlessly in spite of the turnover.
Encourage Creative Information Sharing
In larger companies, different teams can become isolated working on their part of the company’s projects, and this can lead to feelings of disconnection and a lack of direction. This can be a real detriment to employee engagement, especially when employees don’t see the purpose in what they are doing. One thing that you can do to combat this is to set up a meeting every month or two where the different teams can present their progress on a project.
You can keep the meeting more interesting and engaging by having a theme or playing a game related to team building. For example, each meeting can have a different movie category team or a different sports team. This will be fun for the employees, and they will look forward to these meetings. A game can provide practice for presentations. This will allow your employees to develop and become more committed to their roles at the company.
Share the Financial Status of the Company
As far as employee engagement ideas go, transparency can be a powerful tool. Among the many things that a company can be transparent about, the one employees will probably appreciate the most is financial transparency.
One thing that will be sure to negatively impact your employee engagement is if members of your team aren’t confident in the companies future. One good idea is to have quarterly meetings to share the company’s financial status and financial projections.
When the company has a good quarter, the employees should know this because they have contributed to making it happen. When the company has a less-than-stellar quarter, it’s also good to be upfront with your employees and present your strategy to recover in the coming quarter. This will help to keep them engaged and motivated going forward.
Provide Development Opportunities
One of the biggest reasons that employees leave companies is a lack of opportunities to develop new skills. You can evaluate what skills would benefit your teams, and discuss with them the best time to offer them. No matter how many good employee engagement ideas you may have, if you’re not reinvesting in your employees, you’re running the risk of losing a valuable person.
Offer incentives like online training programs, weekly classes, on-site seminars and other programs that will provide ongoing education opportunities. For example, if you’re a web design company you can send your employees to weekend seminars or continuing education programs. By giving your employees opportunities to continue to develop their talents, your employees will not only become stronger assets for your company, but they’ll become more engaged in your companies success.
Keep Employees Enthusiastic About Future Projects
It is important to make sure that the employees know what lies ahead so that they can look forward to it. You can send out a weekly newsletter or have a general meeting to inform them, but it is important to show them what projects are on the horizon and the type of things they’ll be working on in the coming months. Not only will it boost their motivation and productivity, but it will also help them choose to stay with your company rather than moving to a competitor. This is one of the more easy employee engagement ideas to implement and, if done right, can have a great impact on employee morale.
Allow a Self-Directed Onboarding Experience
In today’s business world, turnover is much higher than it used to be. Employees are quicker to find a new opportunity if they aren’t satisfied with the one they currently have. Onboarding is beneficial to employee retention because it provides valuable performance feedback in terms of keeping your employees engaged in your specific workplace culture. They understand what the company’s expectations are, and they are able to contribute more effectively.
By allowing employees to have a self-directed onboarding experience, you are giving them more latitude to bring their best skills to the table. Rather than telling employees how they should do their job, allow them to determine what methods work best for them. When you allow this kind of latitude, the employees are more invested in the process, and when they feel good about it, they are more likely to stay in their current position for a longer time.
What Are Some Employee Engagement Activities?
In addition to transparency and incentives, it’s also a good idea to come up with activities to boost your employee engagement. When brainstorming these employee engagement ideas, make sure to consider the people on your team and their various personalities. Like with many other engagement strategies, you don’t want to force your employees into things that they may find tedious or boring as this could negatively impact their perception of the organization and you. Here are a few ideas that may work for your team.
Organize a Company Sporting Event
This is a great way to build relationships and team spirit. You can organize a friendly softball game, kickball game or bowling tournament. Break your employees into different teams and have them compete for prizes. This is a fun way to have a friendly competition outside of the office, which will go a long way toward keeping everyone engaged at work.
Set A Hack Night for Employees
A Hack Night is time once a week after work where employees get together at work, but after working hours to push the limits of creativity. This can be a brainstorming session, a chance to learn from others, or even an opportunity for employees to present ideas or personal projects they’re working on.
They are usually optional, but it is a great way for employees to collaborate, learn, and have some social time. Offer snacks and have breaks throughout the night. Hosting a monthly hack night or something similar can be a fun activity that employees look forward to.
Use Employee Engagement Games to Improve Onboarding
Instead of having a meeting and laying out the cold hard facts, make a game out of it. You can organize different games and challenges to improve the employees’ ability to use tools or systems within the company. You can make a trivia game out of company procedures, or you can have a jeopardy style game for it.
Employees are more actively engaged when you move away from the monotony and tedious tasks, and they will enjoy this creative approach to onboarding.
Schedule A Company Happy Hour
If it fits with your company culture, you can schedule a happy hour for your team. Bring your employees to a local restaurant or bar for an hour or two for drinks and light snacks to encourage socializing and team building.
Not only this will go a long way towards employee happiness, but it will help build a better working relationship between all people involved. It’s important to show your team members that you understand that a good work-life balance is important and what better way than spending a little time with them outside of the office.
It’s best to keep things light and don’t encourage over-drinking as that can lead to any number of negative situations. However, as long as everyone is responsible and enjoys themselves, this can be an excellent way to bring your team closer together.
Create a Company Publication
Another fun employee engagement idea is to create a company publication such as a magazine or newspaper. You can use it to make announcements, share interesting stories, and even put outstanding employees in the spotlight. Whether your employees are contributing content or being featured in content, giving them a platform and highlighting their achievements publicly are two really great ways to keep them engaged.
Create a Company TEDx
In today’s world, most people are familiar with what TED talks are. When done well, TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) talks can be extremely inspiring and informative. Hosting a monthly or quarterly TEDx talk for your employees or allowing your employees to create their own is a great way to show your team you’re invested in them.
Whether you are bringing in a speaker to talk to your team, or you feature employees and the projects they are working on, it’s important to make sure the talks are interesting and engaging. Giving your employees an opportunity to have fun, learn something and participate in the process will be an exciting event that people will continue to look forward to.
Additional Employee Engagement Strategies
When coming up with employee engagement ideas, it’s always important to have an underlying strategy in mind. When investing time, money or other resources in your team, you should always have a goal in mind that will work to the benefit of your company. Here are a few different strategies you can think about that are mutually beneficial to both your team and your business.
Create a Coaching System for Managers
It is really important to teach your managers how to lead a team effectively if your goal is to improve employee engagement. Coach your managers so that they learn how to bring out the best in your employees through communication and recognition. Keep them on board with the company’s vision and strategies, and teach them how to reward employees in areas of attitude, effort, and results.
Managers should learn to lead and inspire their teams, not dictate and discourage. When employees feel that their superiors are simply “taskmasters” that don’t care about the people that work for them, you’re guaranteed to kill employee morale.
Encourage Employees to Have Career Goals
You want your employees to set their own career goals. If someone is working toward a goal, it is easier to be focused and driven. Often people don’t really know what their end goal is. Encourage your employees to really think about what they want out of their position. Where do they hope it takes them? You can customize their experience and learning better when you know what direction they want to go in.
Involve Your Employees in Giving Back
Everyone knows that giving back to society is a good thing, but of course, not everyone does this. Oftentimes, this isn’t because people don’t want to give back, it’s because they just don’t have the opportunity to. At the end of the day, most people feel good about doing their part to improve the world around them.
There are a number of ways that you can take part in corporate social responsibility. For one, you can donate to a charity or charities on behalf of your employees. Don’t just choose a charity and donate; have a meeting and actively seek your employees’ thoughts and ideas. You can choose a different charity each month, and find a way to contribute where everyone feels involved.
There are also plenty of things that you can do in lieu of making a financial donation. For one, you can help your community by building houses, cleaning up a park, or even serving meals at a shelter. Donating your time and services to those in need will not only be a great way to encourage team-building among your employees but will also enhance your organization’s public image in the community.
How Do You Improve Employee Engagement?
Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer when it comes to engaging employees. However, engaging with employees is an important first step. By showing your employees that you’re invested in them and interested in them on a personal level, you can begin to build trust and communication.
Make sure that all of the employees clearly understand the company’s vision and goals, as well as each of their expected contributions. Not only that, but you need to provide tools for managers to develop and learn how to actively maintain employee engagement. Improving employee engagement is possible when you have a clear vision and plan along with the training tools to create a people-oriented work culture.
As your team sees that not only are you interested in their personal growth but are also willing to invest time, money and resources into that growth, you can really encourage better employee engagement.
How Can I Get My Employees More Involved?
There are a number of ways that you can encourage your employees to become more involved. The key is to understand that employees who feel good about their job and their ability to be productive members of the team are more likely to want to be more involved. When you wonder how to increase employee engagement, try the following practices.
Encourage more flexibility. Find out what hours are best for your employees, and consider allowing them to periodically work from home. Balancing work and family responsibilities can be challenging, and by providing choices, your employees will be more productive and focused on being a part of the team.
Organize volunteer opportunities for everyone. Giving back to the community just feels good to everyone. Provide opportunities for your employees to go out and participate together in charitable events.
Be genuine. To keep your employees engaged, you must build a relationship based on trust. When you are genuine and honest, this breeds trust.
Allow breaks as needed. Make sure that your employees take five-minute breaks often throughout the day to stretch and move around. This is a healthy practice, and it will prevent them from burning out. You can also offer your employees healthy snacks and refreshments to keep them alert.
Ask for feedback. Nothing makes an employee feel valuable more than asking his or her opinion or feedback on a project.
Provide social activities. Organize a company softball game or tennis match. This gives employees an opportunity to connect with one another and strengthen their bonds to the company.
Be clear about responsibilities. Make sure that every employee understands exactly what his or her responsibilities are so that there are no misunderstandings.
Keep the workspace fresh and inviting. You want to make the office a place where employees feel comfortable.
Focus on your employees’ needs. Encourage your employees to balance work and personal time. Never expect employees to stay late night after night or take their work home. People need balance so that they can be their most productive while they are at work.
Be available to teach. You need to make yourself available to the employees so that they can develop and learn. If they don’t know how to do something, or they don’t know exactly what you want, they will have a hard time producing it.
Create collaboration opportunities. Collaborating encourages teamwork, which is essential to employee engagement. Provide as many collaboration opportunities as you can.
Let your employees know you appreciate them. Your employees are there day in and day out to achieve the goals of the company. Be sure to let them know that they are appreciated.
How to Measure Employee Engagement
Scheduling employee engagement activities and providing your team with incentives and resources is only one part of the equation. It’s also important to be able to effectively measure the engagement level of your employees. This can sometimes be tricky because engagement is an intangible quality, and it will vary from employee to employee.
Different people are motivated and driven by different emotions, and employee engagement is bringing out whichever emotion motivates each employee to maximize his or her commitment and productivity.
Research has shown that the most important qualities to measure are the following:
- Interaction with coworkers
- Relationship with manager
- Personal growth and development
- Job satisfaction
- Leadership opportunities
- Team spiritSurveys
So, how do you measure these intangible qualities? One option is through an employee engagement survey. You can send out a “pulse survey,” which is a short survey to get a handle on where your employees stand. Incentivize participation in the survey by entering the participants in a raffle or giveaway. However, make sure that the responses remain anonymous and the employees know this.
Possible employee engagement survey questions are:
- How do you feel at the office today?
- How often do you see your manager each day?
- Does the company respect your personal values?
- Do you believe in the company?
- How noisy is your workspace?
- How often do you have a meal with a coworker?
- How likely are you to recommend this company as a great place to work?
These are a sample of possible employee engagement questions, and you can have them rate the answers on a scale of 1 to 10. This will provide feedback on how engaged your employees are.
When you meet face to face with your employees, it is more intimate, and they will feel more comfortable to share with you how they are feeling about work. Ask questions similar to the survey questions so that you can measure how they are feeling. You can gather a great deal of information in a private meeting, and you will make your employees feel valued.
Add “Stay” Interviews to Your Program
Another important part of your employee engagement program is to add stay interviews. It is common practice to have exit interviews when an employee is leaving the company, which provides valuable feedback. However, it is critical to obtain this same information from employees who are staying with the company. Model your stay interview after an exit interview, and keep a file showing how an employee feels at work. Your goal is to increase each employee’s engagement at every meeting.
Employee Engagement Platforms
You can use employee engagement software to track and improve your employees’ engagement. Not only can this software send out short pulse surveys, but it can also analyze the data and feedback for you. This will aid your business in determining where to allocate resources for improvement. It can also show you the overall engagement of the employees in the company, and you will see if there are one or two people who stand out from the rest.
Using these employee engagement initiatives will help you implement employee engagement best practices so that your company will have a higher retention rate and more productivity. The goal of every company is to be successful, and success is directly related to how engaged your employees are.
Often businesses ask the question, “What is employee engagement?” They also try to determine why employee engagement is important. The reality is that employees have many more opportunities in the world today, and if a company isn’t able to offer employees a position where they feel good about their contributions, they will likely move on. People change jobs more frequently than they did in the past, and for a company, turnover means training new employees, who may also leave in 12 to 24 months.
To be successful, you want employees to feel committed to the company. Employee engagement makes this possible. It is important to ask for feedback and provide opportunities for employees to grow, learn new skills, and collaborate. In addition, you should offer social activities and encourage short work breaks. The work environment needs to view employees as people with lives outside the workplace, and they need to provide more flexibility to allow employees to meet the demands of family and health.
It is important to focus on a people-oriented work culture and be more creative. By having contests and games as a part of your meetings, your employees will prepare better and look forward to them. If you make a TEDx video, everyone will enjoy participating and sharing it, which is good for your business. By offering company picnics, softball games or charity days, people will develop bonds with one another and feel good about being a part of your company. You need to measure employee engagement so that you can stay on top of how your company is doing. You don’t want to be caught by surprise when a group of valuable employees leave during a crucial project. Employee engagement is critical to a company’s success, and you must do what you can to encourage it.