Employee Engagement: What Is It and How Do We Get More of It?
Employee engagement has been a hot-button topic in recent years, as countless polls and surveys have investigated its impact on employee job satisfaction, performance and commitment. Forbes defines engaged employees as those who are not only interested in their work, but also dedicated to their position and the company they work for.
Employee engagement is not merely employee happiness or satisfaction, as many once believed it to be. The key part of this phrase is “engagement” which speaks more on the emotional commitment to an employee’s work.
A poll conducted by the Gallup team has put employee engagement on every businesses agenda, with their findings that:
Only 15% of global workers are engaged in their current work.
One can see this is a significantly low percentage of committed and dedicated employees, but what does this disengagement mean for your employees and ultimately your company? That and much more will be discussed in this blog.
Get a preview here:
- The Detriment of Disengaged Empolyees
- Importance of Employee Engagement
- 12 Employee Engagement Events & Activities
- Events and Activities That Can Be Held at the Office
- Events and Activities When You Need to Get Out of the Office
- Other Ideas for Increased Communication and Engaged Employees
Let’s break it down. Recent research has found strong correlations between employee engagement and key company performance measures. A few consequences of disengaged employees are a lack of retention, dissatisfied customers, ineffective collaboration and lack of responsibility.
These factors contribute to lower company profitability and productivity, ultimately leading to a fragmented company environment with the potential of high employee turnover. And if those outcomes don’t make you raise your brows, the financial consequences of disengaged employees will definitely get your accounting department’s attention.
Low employee engagement can have a significant financial effect on your company. In their book Investing in People, Cascio and Boudreau break down the fiscal ramifications of disengaged employees, explicitly showing the huge costs of employee absenteeism, turnover and poor health and wellness.
Beyond the monetary repercussion, providing opportunities for employees to become more engaged at work is imperative to a thriving company culture. Employees with a higher level of commitment to their work have been shown to increase a sense of community at the workplace, reduce turnover, relate to quicker onboarding and notably boost productivity.
Employee engagement is no longer a goal, it is the necessary foundation of a successful business. So how do you get your employees more engaged? We are so glad you asked…
Below you will find a helpful list of 12 engagement events and activities that will help to increase employee commitment and overall job happiness. There is no excuse for not implementing just a few of these easy-to-set, highly interactive events. Whether you utilize your own workspace for the activity, or plan an off-site excursion, these events will get your employees involved and engaged.
#1 Provide a Mentor During Training and Onboarding
One of the easiest ways to build employee engagement is to start cultivating this commitment from the very beginning. Onboarding is one of the most integral processes when bringing in a new employee into your company, but this introduction should not only cover the logistics of your organisation.
Onboarding and entry training is a perfect opportunity to introduce your new employee to your company culture. Designating a mentor to each new employee will assist in engaging the employee, but will also allow for an instant partnership that will create a perceived sense of community right off the bat.
In addition to assigning a mentor, creating interactive training material will also kick employee engagement up a notch. There are many helpful and engaging tools that will allow you to convert your training material into fun quizzes or games.
One of my favourite sites for this is Kahoot which is an online, game-based learning platform that allows you to create your own custom quizzes for your company. Your employees can complete these trainings via their computer or mobile phone and are amazing tools for group trainings.
Not the virtual learning type? Try using simple flashcards or an office scavenger hunt to help new employees learn about the different departments and policies in your organisation. Gamifying your onboarding and trainings will not only lead to more engaged employees, but will also serve as a great team-building opportunity for your company.
#2 Hold Guided Brainstorming Sessions
It is common for departments to hold weekly meetings where the executives relay information to their team of employees. Though this is helpful in keeping your employees up to date, this is not as engaging as most would presume.
One way to get more interaction from employees is to hold guided brainstorming sessions. This creates a more equal sharing of ideas and information, and encourages employees to participate rather than just sit back and take notes. Brainstorming sessions emphasise interaction, oral presentation and careful listening, while allowing each employee an opportunity lend their experience to a given issue.
Holding guided group brainstorming sessions will allow for more employee creativity and problem-solving, two very beneficial skill sets for any company.
#3 Motivational Speakers
Who better to rouse up a crowd and get your employees engaged than a motivational speaker? Bringing in an outside influence can shake up the dynamic at your company, and brew up some encouragement and ambition.
There are countless organisations and individuals that can easily visit your office and bring some fresh ideas and perspectives to your team. And don’t think that traditional motivational speakers are the only way to go. Think outside the box and bring in figures that can best support your company’s dynamic and mission.
Are you a Sports PR firm? Bring in a celebrated couch or sports analyst. Does your company provide family camping trips? Invite a travel blogger to come in and share some of their favourite sites and essential camping tips. Be creative with the influences you bring to motivate your team and watch their engagement soar.
Budget not allow for bringing motivational speakers in? Check out more low-cost ideas to inspire your employees by downloading the full PDF of engagement event ideas.
#4 Promote and Provide Wellness Opportunities
Wellness is not merely described as a lack of illness: The American Journal of Health Promotion defines “wellness” as a balance of physical, social, emotional and intellectual health. Promoting opportunities for wellness within your company will not only lead to more engaged staff, but healthier, more capable employees all together.
Collaborating with a local gym and setting up special rates for your employees is an easy way to encourage healthier habits in your company. One could also hold weekly workout classes over lunch, or provide a special room or space for employees to take a break and meditate throughout the day.
More and more studies postulate that physical exercise and mental relaxation practices vastly improve an individual’s physical and mental health. All around “healthier” employees will be beneficial to your company’s productivity and budget.
#5 Set Up an Office Market
Going along with the importance of highlighting your employees’ individual talents, your company can host an Office Market to showcase worker’s unique abilities. One of my former workplaces hosted office markets around the holidays, utilizing one of our meeting rooms to allow employees to set up tables and sell any crafts or goods they had produced.
It was amazing to see my colleagues selling homemade jams, fresh eggs from their farm and even creating custom calligraphy on signs and cards for the staff. This is an excellent opportunity to feature your employees’ skills and create a strong communal feeling among the staff.
#6 Organize a Potluck
Like the notable saying says, the way to an engaged employee is through his/her stomach. Okay, maybe that isn’t the original quote, but it definitely does apply in this context. Food has a natural way of bringing people together, and hosting a potluck lunch or dinner is another inexpensive way to foster your company’s sense of community.
Potlucks are easy to set up in your office kitchen or meeting space, and one can utilise websites such as Perfect Potluck or SignUpGenius to easily organize who will bring what to the office potluck. This will prevent the unfortunate predicament of your employees bringing six dishes of potatoes but no forks.
You can find even more fun and creative ideas on the full PDF version of this post. Download Here!
#7 Host a Happy Hour or Friday Bar
This is a fool-proof, easy way to get your employees out of the office and into a casual environment to mingle. Hosting a special happy hour for your employees at a local bar, or even organizing a Friday Bar at your office is one way to get your employees to interact with colleagues that they might not work as closely with, while also welcoming more relaxed communication between your team.
Though it is a nice gesture to pay for a round of drinks or supply some snacks for your team, this is not mandatory. Just offering a time and a place for your employees to chat and engage more organically will do the trick just fine!
#8 Attend a Sporting Game
If your city or town has a few local sports teams, why not take the team out for an engaging game! Whether it’s basketball, football or handball, taking your employees out to a local game is perfect for any sport fans, and another wonderful way to get your team out of the office and engaging together around one activity.
Wanting to keep the budget low? Instead of paying for your employees’ tickets, collaborate with the sports team’s sales department to negotiate a group discount or discounted tickets. For the employees that would like to participate in this experience, a lowered ticket price will be a great incentive to attend.
#9 Explore Charity or Volunteer Events
There is nothing better than engaged employees making a difference. Investigate charities and volunteer groups in your city and offer a few service opportunities to your team. Whether it is a park clean-up day or assisting with meal delivery service to those in need, organizing a charitable event for your employees to participate in is an excellent way to make a difference in your community and allow your employees to work together for a good cause. Need ideas on charities?
Ask your employees! There is a very good chance that a team member that has been involved or is familiar with a local volunteer group.
#10 Hold Nature Walks or Park Days
If your company is lucky enough to have a beautiful piece of nature close by, why not take the team out to get some fresh air and enjoy Mother Nature. Host a Park Day with a few outdoor activities and a potluck picnic to get employees out in the natural environment with their colleagues.
If you don’t have time restrictions, offer employees a shorter work day in exchange for participating in a nature walk or an afternoon out by the lake. Not only will this allow your employees to connect outside of the office, but studies have found that even the slightest contact with nature can have a significant boost on one’s productivity and overall mental health.
#11 Participate in an Escape Room Experience
In recent years, more and more of these fantastic interactive Escape Rooms have popped up. The idea behind this strategic activity is act out your wildest detective/James Bond fantasies and escape from a mysterious room using only the clues provided and the abilities of your fellow participants. There is no surprise why these escape rooms have been a popular off-site activity for businesses and teams alike.
This is an excellent engagement activity for your employees because it requires them to work with their colleagues to communicate, collaborate and solve puzzles with limited information and time. What better way to engage your employees while offering team-bonding and all-around fun!
Can’t find an Escape Room in your city? We’ve got you covered! Download our full PDF of engagement event ideas to find more activities that will test your employees focus, collaboration and communication.
#12 Organise a Breakfast or Lunch with CEO
Offering employees some one-on-one time with the CEO is important on many levels. First, it shows the employee that there is not a “corporate barrier” between them and the boss. When an employee perceives the CEO to be more accessible, they feel less like a worker bee and more like a valued member of the company team. Secondly, having regular meetings between employees and the CEO has shown to have a positive influence on retention.
Employees that regularly have opportunities to bond with their CEO and colleagues are more likely to stay at a place of work because of these developed relationships. Ultimately, carving out time for the CEO to connect with his/her employees shows that "the boss" is committed and appreciative of their team.
Want to kick up the appreciation even more? Host birthday brunches with employees monthly. Any employee who has a birthday that month gets a special brunch or sit-down with the CEO. Anything to show that leadership is invested in their employees is a step closer to increased engagement and commitment from the employee.
When people speak about the importance of employees being engaged, this could also be synonymous with employees feeling connected to their work, as well as to their colleagues. There have been countless studies that have all concluded the same thing.
According to Careertrend.com, communication between employees and supervisors has one of the largest impacts an employee’s job satisfaction and performance and according to Forbes, poor communication has been shown to lower employee’s efficiency, hinder innovation and decrease overall morale.
An easy, yet effective way to boost the connection and collaboration among employees is to improve your office communication platforms. This can be accomplished by simply creating an internal newsletter or magazine for your office, or for a more technological, long-term boost, updating your business’ intranet.
A streamlined intranet can have a significant impact on not only how your employees communicate, but how productive and engaged they are with the resources and materials that are central to your business.
Knowing is Only Half the Battle
Congratulations! You are now well-informed about the myriad of benefits of engaged employees, and the copious consequences of disengaged employees. Now, you have 12+ ways to turn the disinterested employee into the committed superstar worker.
But much like employee engagement, knowledge isn’t merely a goal, but a foundation. Employ just a few of these provided engagement events and activities at your company and watch your employees’ commitment and productivity in their work grow.
Want Even More Engagement?
Interested in more ways to improve your company’s communication and efficiency? Check out Colibo’s Collaboration Tools to further engage your employees and optimize your digital workplace.