Employee Engagement

13 Employee Engagement Ideas and Activties

Talent Acquisition is only half the battle for HR professionals and recruiters in today’s hiring landscape. Retaining employees has become an increasingly difficult challenge in recent years. According to Career Arc's EMBARC Pulse Survey, 43% of HR professionals report more difficulty retaining talent in 2019, compared to 2018. 

What are the factors that are impacting an employee’s willingness to leave a company? Job characteristics, work environment, career development, and work-life balance are four themes that are trending up in having an influence over an employee’s voluntary departure. These are areas that have a direct impact on overall employee satisfaction and engagement, and these areas can be controlled and improved by any employer.

The ever-present obstacles of high turnover and low retention can be tackled by keeping your employees actively engaged—not only in their daily tasks but with your company as a whole. Take a look at these 13 employee engagement ideas to get your employee engagement strategy kick-started. 

1. Build a People-First Culture

Quarterly, hold open house discussions with all stakeholders to develop a culture of interaction. Furthermore, present the most important issues in your company and the actions made to address those issues. Involve your team in planning ahead, assessing opportunities, and coming up with improvement ideas for your business strategy.

By promoting transparency and offering them a strategic insight into how the company is being managed, you’ll foster loyalty and you’ll also have a prepared leadership.

Thus, it is naturally important to periodically keep track of your work environment and measure how engaged employees are in their workspace.

2. Have a Strong Hiring strategy

The first step of ensuring an engaged employee is to have a motivated set of people on board who are ready to work. Also, it is important to analyze a person to be a fit not only based on his/her skills but also on the traits and values of the hire. For example, a person who has a need for job variety would not be fit for a monotonous role, and vice versa. This where the role of hiring strategy becomes so important because it ensures that only the people whose requirements align with the job profile are hired. So, our task remains to make the engagement of such employees in the workplace everlasting. 

3. Encourage employees to pursue side projects

Side projects might probably be thought of as a waste of the company's time, effort, and money.

But what if we said that most of the cutting-edge companies (think Twitter, Instagram) started as being a side project?

Apple took a reformatory step in the history of company culture by introducing Project Sky in 2012.  This Project gives a small group of employees 2 weeks or ‘a limited amount of time’ to work on a project outside of their normal responsibilities in the company.  

So to start off with, one of the many benefits of side projects is that it forces the employees to think outside the box, to get their creative minds flowing, and to effectively manage their time. 

Thus, employees will be more excited to come to work and hence be more engaged as they will be free from the monotonicity.

4. Social Recognition- Employee of the Month

Research says that the primary cause of employees leaving their jobs is because of the lack of appreciation.

Recognizing hard work and achievement in the workplace increases employee motivation to work, encourages healthy competition, and creates a positive atmosphere.

With higher motivation comes better engagement, happiness, and ultimately retention.

Hence, "Employee of the month" programs are a great way to show your best employees that you see their hard work and appreciate the efforts they are putting in and thus one of the best employee engagement activities that you can invest in.

5. Constant Feedback Mechanism

According to the Harvard Business Review, a more significant number (57%) preferred corrective feedback over praise/recognition (only 43%).

Thus, Employees should feel comfortable sharing their thoughts outside of designated survey periods too. There should be an equal amount of attention given to annual and weekly/monthly appraisals. Keep employees engaged in problem-solving by encouraging them to speak their minds. Create a digital, safe space where employees can submit feedback anonymously. Using technology like pulse surveys, anonymous feedback tools, etc. to provide them a safe space where they can share their point of view with the surety of being heard.

6. Organizing Social Gatherings: Potlucks Lunch

"With food, we can share and communicate our emotions. It's that mindset of sharing that is really what you're eating." –Jeong Kwan

A potluck is essentially a food-party where each guest contributes a different (often homemade) dish of food to share. 

Hosting a potluck is less about what food to bring and more about sharing the act of breaking bread with your fellow human beings.

Also, as far as employee engagement activities go, a potluck requires no hassle.

Organizing a potluck is a cost-effective activity which brings a feeling of shared culture, and increases the happiness and bonding quotient overall. Moreover, it serves as a means to help employees balance their work and personal life.

Also, when teams eat together, the team dynamics improve which leads to an increase in productivity.

7. Embrace personal milestones

Your employees will be less likely to be engaged if they feel that their workplace does not value or appreciate their achievements.

Your team does remarkable things and contributes great ideas all the time. Make sure to recognize and celebrate these achievements with the entire organization.

It is important to inculcate a collective sense of motive in the team which can be inculcated only if you learn to appreciate the personal milestones

8. Mentorship program / Buddy Program

Predictably, every new employee is bound to feel lost and unsure. Thus a mentorship program becomes exceptionally vital.

A mentor is a more experienced person who guides and advises a new employee through the first few weeks of the work to settle him/her in the new role.

A mentorship program is beneficial to both the mentor and the mentee. The mentee gets someone to guide him/her, and the mentor gains experience and pertinent leadership qualities in the entire process. A mentor showing you the ropes is bound to be more useful than a long and dull orientation lecture. The new employee will learn his way around the company faster if a mentor is there to guide them.

9. Team outings

Office trips are fun, engaging, and a great way to bond. An annual office trip can be established as a sort of office tradition and will be a good thing to look forward to by the entire team too. It will also be a great stress buster for the entire team, henceforth increasing their productivity.

10. Peer-to-peer recognition

Peer to peer employee recognition is 35.7% more likely to have a positive impact on financial results than manager-only recognition.

-Source(SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey)

Peer-to-peer recognition is one of the most underrated while significant employee engagement activities.

Namely, recognition boils down in appreciating a job well done. And peer-to-peer recognition happens to be the most powerful motivator in and outside the workplace. All in all, having peer-to-peer recognition is an excellent way to build an environment of gratitude and appreciation, where colleagues praise others for their accomplishments. 

11. Trivia Days for team building

Trivia Days is one of my new "go-to" employee engagement ideas. It is easy, short, super fun, and also throws in some knowledge in the mixture.

Divide the employees into teams. Each team will earn a point if they are the first one to answer the question correctly. Eliminate each group as the round progresses.

Not only trivia days can facilitate long lost internal communication, but it also forces people to actually work together as teams serving dual purposes of both engagement and team building

12. Periodic Professional Sabbaticals

The purpose of a sabbatical is to give an employee a chance to step back from their role at work and focus on personal enrichment and professional development. 

Whether the sabbatical is a few weeks or a year, the goal is to return to work with more focus and energy.

13. Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace

Recognize and embrace diversity in your workplace, by celebrating it occasionally through something like a Diversity Day. With this in mind, celebrating Diversity Day in your company would mean a lot to the people who face a cultural block. Furthermore, it would also help to educate your employees to respect the various cultures, people, and traditions leading to better ideas and innovations keeping in mind the vibrant diversity.

We know that engaging your employees may seem like a gigantic task that you can never accomplish.But try to incorporate these 13 employee engagement ideas, and we are sure that you will have a more productive, engaged, and happier workforce at hand. If you need more information and assistance over employee engagement, contact us.

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