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10 Simple Employee Engagement Activities to Make Your Workplace Better

Mathew Maniyamkott

Mathew Maniyamkott

7 min read

When was the last time you saw someone ready to go to work on a Monday with all the excitement in the world?

Let me guess! Never?

People express their frustration on going to work with memes and GIFs these days apart from the sporadic rant on Twitter and Facebook. Why is work perceived as this activity that doesn’t bring any emotion of euphoria in anyone? It is just the perspective that work is dull, boring and not-so-fun. The onus is on the management to make the 8-hour stay daily at the office not only manageable but enjoyable too.

monday blues

As an entrepreneur who has a million issues to deal with, making sure that the employees are engaged and having fun might not be sitting on top of the priority list. Invest in your employees,  and they would be ready to do much more than what their ‘Job Description’ says. Keeping employees motivated is pivotal to any organization, and thankfully, there are many ways for you to make it happen.

Employee engagement activities are done periodically by big companies as they understand its importance because people spend a majority of their ‘awake’ time at their jobs.

Are Employee Engagement Activities Important?

Doing the assigned work day-in-day-out like drudgery is not only sad, there are high chances that it rubs off on the fellow employees too. Keeping employees engaged and satisfied gains importance now because happy employees get more work done, are highly productive and will motivate themselves to stay longer in the company.

Employees will rarely miss a day at the office, will behave at their best and will think of it as their company and not as just a temporary layover when the workplace is fun- all of which contributes directly to the bottom-line of your company.

Here are 10 ideas which you can use in your workplace to keep your employees engaged:

1. Keep Special Days

“Bring your parents” day is a great idea to get started where you can make your employees bring their family to the office. How does “Bring your pet to work” day sound? This would brighten the mood of many employees when they know they can bring their loved ones (including their pets) to their workplace, even if it were for a single day. Imagine getting to work dressed like the cast of ‘Game of Thrones’. Who could pull off ‘The Mountain’ though? You could mix and match a lot of options. Choose a ‘day’ that suits your company’s values based on your feasibility and budget.

special days at work

2. Sports Competitions

Sports bridges gap between people and cultivate a sense of brotherhood. Consider a sport where you can group your employees into different teams so that they cultivate team spirit when they play in a team. A simple table tennis game during a dull workday could be the turnaround for your employees. Foosball table perhaps? If some of these are beyond your budget for now, you can think of organizing games like cricket, basketball, throw-ball- to name a few during a particular season when the workload is less. Any of these games can be enjoyed without having to be really good at it, which, when you think of it, is actually a good thing. The whole point is to squash the monotony and create a feeling of oneness. Playing a sport together can create a sense of familiarity and helps breaks the ice immediately.

sports at work

3. Let Your Employees Speak Their Mind

Allowing people to express their views or speaking their mind might look like something that is commonplace. Unfortunately, that is not the case as voices are muffled either due to gender or hierarchy. This does not allow people to give out ideas and it doesn’t let them be comfortable either. Create a situation in your office where people can speak without any fear of being judged or put down. Expect your employees to bring brilliant ideas for your company if the environment is open. Give them an outlet where discussions can be held, a kind of a roundtable meeting where anyone can set up an impromptu meeting with an agenda in mind.

4. Make Everyone Get to Know Each Other Better

Big organizations are guilty of creating an ecosystem where people hardly know each other except for the team members that they work with. Make it a point to inform any new employee arrival via email or the intercom. Share a small bio (read interesting tidbits) of the existing employees so that the new employee has conversation starters. This might work in a company that has less than 100 employees. Get employees to communicate with everyone where they are encouraged to speak to all. You could either organize a small party, karaoke competition or take your employees out to the nearest restaurant.

5. Reward Employees – Instantly

Do not wait for the month end to reward an employee who just closed a million dollar deal for you. Not only would that feeling of accomplishment pass but the lack of an immediate incentive makes an employee feel less enthused and appreciated. It doesn’t always have to be a cash reward, it could also be in the form of an all paid trip to a popular tourist place nearby, or a restaurant or even a public show of gratitude to the said employee. Recognizing the efforts of your employees from time to time will make them feel valued.

reward employees, especially non-monetary

6. Assign a Mentor for Newbies

It is a given that new employees will feel a little lost when they walk in on their first day. There are a lot of questions regarding the job role, expectations from the company and for self, questions like “would Saturdays be off?” and many more. Most people are shy and hesitant to ask questions because they think it will make them look less smart. To alleviate such pressures, assign a senior employee to everyone who joins newly. This will help them adapt to the new environment as well as clear any nagging questions. Let the senior employee be given the responsibility to groom the new employee.

7. Encourage Healthy Eating & Wise Habits

Keeping your employees in the pink of health is not only good for them but for your business as well, as healthy employees do not call in sick often. Take your employees out where they can gorge on healthy food. Bring fitness experts from different disciplines like Yoga, Cross Fit, etc, and allow them to spread their knowledge on these subjects so that your employees can apply them later in their day-to-day lives. Award gym memberships or get healthy food delivered to your employees at lunch, this could be one of the many rewards we were talking about earlier in this article. At the end of the day, the little things you do to ‘healthify’ your office environment matters. Why not stock nuts and fruits in your office refrigerator?

healthy and happy habits

8. It Is Alright to Bend the Rules

The message is not about doing anything illegal, but to include factors such as personal issues into consideration when there has been a hiccup in performance. Let’s say someone has a medical issue, it is wise if you give the employee the opportunity to work from home given the required resources are present even if you have a strict policy over that. If you as a company are known to care about your employees, such minor adjustments will be done and employees will know that you have got their backs and they would go on a limb for the company as well. As long as they are getting their work done, you don’t have much to worry about.

9. Allow them to Work on Their Pet Projects

All of us have heard about companies like Google that allows employees to set aside 20% of their work time for working on their personal projects. Working in the same role might be a little dull for some people and this is where allowing them to work on a side project might help get their creative juices flowing. The ‘20%’ norm might be stretching it too much if you are a startup, even allocating 30 minutes a day will keep them inspired. Do not think of it as the time you’ve lost out on as a wasted opportunity, but as an employee engagement activity for the welfare of your employees.

pet projects at work

10. Have Free-for-all Brainstorming Sessions

Include your developer in a Sales meeting. Why would anyone do that, you may ask? Different perspective. Assuming that most salespeople come from the same school of thought, a developer might have an entirely different say on a sales hiccup. This certainly doesn’t apply to areas where highly technical skills are a must. Not only that, when there is room for ideas to be heard and discussed unabashedly, people will be able to express themselves. A spark of magic is created when there is a free flow of ideas and this is exactly the kind of environment that you need to foster. Do not brush aside any idea, as juvenile as it might sound when hearing for the first time. There is a lot of latent potential in people, be the company that allows such creativity to bloom.

If yours is a company that is looking to engage with your employees to create a good atmosphere, take hold of these 10 ideas and work around it. Run regular employee engagement surveys to understand where you stand. Plan your activities to bridge the areas where you are lacking. Once you have found reasonable success with these projects, extend yourself to doing more such employee engagement activities to further your business prospects.

Mathew Maniyamkott
Mathew Maniyamkott

Guest Blogger at SurveySparrow

Regular contributor to various magazines. Passionate about entrepreneurship, startups, marketing, and productivity.

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  • Sunil Raina

    I think a good environment can play a vital role in creativity. A relaxing, creative space always get the best out of employees.

  • Getting to know people in your place of work is vital to have a happy and productive work culture. I found having office group chats on Skype helped me when I first joined the company I’m at currently, it definitely helped getting to know other departments. Also open invite to work meals was a good way to break down social barriers, especially if they’ve come from overseas to visit the office.

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