How to improve employee retention: 10 strategies to keep your people engaged
You may think that you have a happy and motivated team, but then one day, your…
No company wants high turnover. It’s exhausting for managers, leaders, and HR professionals, and financially draining for the organization. That’s why it’s key to create an engaging and productive work environment. Bonus points if you can sprinkle in a little fun!
You might be telling yourself: that sounds great, but how does this fit into my broader people and culture strategy? We’re going to break it down in this article while sharing 40 of the best employee engagement activities to keep your team inspired and energized.
Add these activities to your workflow and see the power of employee engagement firsthand.
Browse through our employee engagement activities
Engaged employees are like oxygen in a body: they’re vital to the health and function of an organization. Without high engagement, employees feel disinterested, bored, valueless, and unhappy. Measuring employee satisfaction is a good start, but it isn’t enough. Keeping employees engaged and feeling good about their chosen careers requires an all-encompassing approach.
Employee engagement activities or an extracurricular work program can also provide significant benefits for companies, including:
What manager doesn’t want to take advantage of those employee engagement benefits? Great news: those are just the beginning of all the great things an engaged workforce offers employers.
If you want to make sure your engagement activities are as successful as possible, it’s important to follow a few best practices. You can also conduct a brainstorming session with your team to see what’s engaging them.
Including rewards and cash prizes in your employee engagement activities can draw people in for the wrong reasons. Instead, focus on offering genuinely enjoyable experiences, learning and growth opportunities, and relationship-building moments.
Reserving employee engagement activities during in-person events only can leave remote employees feeling left out. On the other hand, you’ll miss out on human connections if you exclusively host remote activities. Aim for a good balance, and try getting people together in person a few times a year if possible.
It’s important for everyone on your team to feel considered and comfortable when choosing your employee engagement activities. For example, if your activity involves food and drinks, think about cultural or religious practices that may impact what you serve.
Before deciding on an activity, ask yourself what your end goal is. Is it to encourage collaboration and problem-solving as a team? Do you want to foster wellness and happiness at work? Are you looking to build personal connections and relationships? Or is improving job satisfaction your main objective? Answer these questions and narrow your list down from there.
With these 40+ employee engagement ideas, you can give your team a chance to unwind, have genuine fun, and create personal development opportunities. Let’s dive in!
Starting off strong, an innovation challenge is a perfect way to reach the workplace trifecta: high engagement, alignment, and collaboration. These challenges are flexible and can be adapted to every company, regardless of industry or size. The trick is to center the challenge around real obstacles or opportunities that work towards company objectives.
Innovation challenge ideas:
Tip: Encourage employees to collaborate with colleagues in other departments. Not only will having diverse skill sets increase the team’s success, but it will also give people the opportunity to work with team members outside their usual circle.
The premise of a hackathon is similar to an innovation challenge. The nuance is that it focuses on programming projects only. This employee engagement activity is great for tech companies looking to retain programmers and developers while attracting top talent along the way. You can also partner with universities to involve students in the challenge and professors in the judging panel.
Hackathon project ideas:
Tip: Appoint team leaders to delegate tasks, or have every employee select their task based on expertise to encourage ownership and ensure smooth sailing.
Officevibe’s Pulse Survey data found that 62% of employees wished they received more feedback from their co-workers. By implementing an employee engagement program that focuses on employee recognition and celebrating personal milestones, you can prevent one of the biggest contributors to employee turnover: feeling unappreciated and valueless in the workplace.
Activity ideas to foster peer recognition:
Tip: Make sure your team is satisfied with the frequency and quality of peer recognition they receive by sending out these 20 employee recognition survey questions.
Getting feedback from employees is far more important than most managers realize. According to Officevibe Pulse Survey data, 83% of employees appreciate any kind of feedback, both positive and negative. Using a dedicated feedback hub is perfect for encouraging employees to provide and receive open, honest, and continuous feedback regarding their work, progress, and development.
By making the feedback process collaborative, you can foster healthy professional development and skill building, starting with a strong foundation of openness and honesty.
Tip: Set an example by always responding promptly to employees’ comments and acting on feedback quickly. A manager who actively works to improve the employee experience is sure to build trust within their team.
Everyone remembers feeling shy on their first day of work. To ensure all employees feel welcome and connected to their colleagues right from the start, build a dynamic onboarding experience. In the distributed landscape, it’s best to have a remote-first plan for employees who live out of town or seldom go to the office.
Hybrid onboarding ideas:
Tip: New hires meet many people during their first week, and it can feel intimidating. Minimize this feeling by asking team members in other departments to film and submit short welcome videos on onboarding software like Softstart.
Humans are curious by nature. We’re always seeking to try and learn new things, and this definitely applies in the workplace. That’s why having a job rotation program is a great way to keep things fresh and boost employee engagement. These programs give employees a holistic view of the organization’s operations, while allowing them to explore new career paths and collaborate with new team members.
Job rotation program ideas:
Lunch and learns have been a popular way to bring people together and spark continuous learning at work. There are two ways to go about this. First, you can reach out to experts in your industry and have them teach your employees relevant new skills. Second, you can involve employees and ask volunteers to host a session. The latter can help break silos in your organization and give people a sneak peek into the inner works of other departments.
Lunch and learn ideas:
Tip: Send a poll or start a Slack channel to gather employee feedback on the topics they’re most interested in.
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Who doesn’t love a little healthy competition? Company events like mud runs, board game afternoons, or bowling bring out the fun and encourage employees to get to know each other better. And creating personal connections is an engagement game-changer as it allows employees to feel more comfortable around each other inside and outside work.
Virtual game and competition ideas:
Food does wonders at bringing people together, especially when it’s home-cooked. Next time you plan a team dinner, opt for a potluck over a restaurant, as it’s a great way to get all employees involved. Food is also at the center of culture, so having your teammates share dishes they love or grew up with is a terrific way to celebrate diversity, an important component of engagement, in your team.
Potluck dinner ideas:
Tip: Don’t forget to ask employees about any special diet considerations or allergies ahead of time!
What activities, hobbies, and interests make your employees tick outside the office? Do they love painting? Riding horses? Hiking? Wine tasting? Choosing your activities based on what your team loves doing shows that you care about their lives and interests beyond work. It also provides opportunities for everyone to participate in new and exciting experiences.
Activity ideas based on hobbies and interests:
Tip: Make sure your team submits inclusive ideas and avoid trying out hobbies that cannot be enjoyed by all. For illustrative purposes, avoid rock climbing if half of your team is scared of heights!
Engaged employees are happy employees, and happy employees understand the importance of self-care and mental health. Holding a mental health day is one of the most popular employee engagement activities for teams. As long as the activity is a positive experience, anything goes. It allows employees to relax, recharge, and get to know each other better in a light, informal situation where their only task is to feel good about themselves.
Activity ideas to improve mental health and wellness:
Tip: Create a health and wellness committee that can take charge of organizing these activities and gathering feedback from employees before and after.
Arts and crafts don’t have to be reserved for children – adults can dabble in the fun too! When introduced to the workplace, creative arts can offer a slew of benefits, increasing engagement being one of them. Aside from being fun, and even therapeutic, they help you flex your creative muscles (literally) by exercising the right side of the brain.
The more employees train their creative functions, the better they’ll support their rational thinking by offering unique perspectives and new ways to solve problems. In the end, you’ll have an engaged team with rounded-out skill sets and problem-solving techniques.
Creative arts ideas:
Emotionally intelligent people can successfully manage their feelings and those of others. It’s different from IQ intelligence and is a flexible skill set that employees can hone with practice. Having an emotionally intelligent workforce can significantly reduce stress, improve communication and peer relationships, and boost overall engagement.
Emotional intelligence workshop ideas:
Tip: Inviting an emotional intelligence expert to moderate your workshops can help your team make the most of the activity.
Your employee engagement action plan should tackle all parts of the employee experience to be effective. This includes:
👷Build and implement the best employee engagement strategies to increase work productivity, happiness, and satisfaction.
While employee engagement activities shouldn’t be at the center of your strategy, they’re the supporting actors that round it off. Some of these activities can easily be implemented in your regular workflows, but those that require more effort and resources are fun to include throughout the year.
Here’s how you can plan engagement activities year-round:
So, you understand that employee engagement activities should not be ignored within your organization. But how can you benchmark the success of these activities and fun team-building exercises? We’ve got it covered. Officevibe offers a variety of powerful, science-backed tools that managers and team leaders can use to measure employees’ progress and engagement levels.
Our employee engagement solution is the perfect resource for organizations that want actionable advice and insights to help them create a healthy workplace and keep employees connected to their jobs. Receiving critical data and feedback from employees allows you to evaluate and assess their engagement levels quickly and conveniently.
With these 40+ employee engagement activities and strategic tips, you’re primed to create a winning team where all employees feel valued. In no time, you’ll see healthy communication, connections between colleagues, and innovation in your company flourish. All thanks to a little fun in the workplace!
Meaningful engagement activities refer to initiatives or programs designed to actively involve and connect employees in the workplace. These activities go beyond the daily tasks and aim to foster a sense of belonging, motivation, and satisfaction among team members. They create opportunities for employees to connect with each other and the organization as a whole. Meaningful engagement activities can take various forms, such as team-building exercises, social events, workshops, or volunteering activities.
Employee engagement activities play a crucial role in building a positive work environment and strengthening the bond between team members. By organizing these activities, companies demonstrate that they value their employees as individuals, care about their well-being, and recognize their contributions to the organization, which in turn enhances employees’ overall job satisfaction and commitment. It also creates a sense of camaraderie and encourages collaboration, leading to improved teamwork, productivity, and employee retention.
There are several benefits associated with employee engagement activities. They contribute to higher levels of job satisfaction and morale, as employees feel appreciated, supported, and connected to their colleagues and the organization. This leads to increased productivity and motivation, as engaged employees are more likely to go the extra mile and invest their efforts in achieving shared goals.
Engagement activities also foster a positive work culture, as they promote open communication, teamwork, and mutual respect. Employee engagement activities can have a positive impact on employee retention, reducing turnover rates and the associated costs.
These activities create a virtuous cycle, where engaged employees contribute to the success and growth of the organization while experiencing personal fulfillment.
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