Ever heard of that software company which pays its employees $7,500 per year to take a vacation? But it comes with a caveat; obviously! The condition is that the employee can go anywhere in the world but should not do a single piece of work. Apparently, the employees of this company who went on such trips came back refreshingly well rested. Talk about thorough team engagement!
These employees also realize that work still flows despite their absence, and as a result, they feel less pressurized to handle everything and are able to trust their team members better. This article is going to talk about more such perks that companies give their employees and why it is important to have team engagement activities.
Why is Team Engagement Important to you?
Companies are struggling to keep their employees happy and are losing them out to their competitors who are not necessarily better either. But the companies that practice team engagement effectively, can stand tall and attract a good workforce. Sometimes it is not about money but being treated right and respected. While there is a budget allocated for team engagement activities in medium and big sized companies, all this budget entails for an employee, is the proverbial team outing at a hotel, a weekend trip at a resort and nothing else. There is no creativity nor any real effort taken to identify what employees would want as a change from the rigmarole of their jobs.
Here are 8 things that you can do to engage your team better:
1. Get employee surveys done to get your team’s feedback
Do the easiest thing that is possible on your radar. Ask questions to your team. It is as simple as that. Not the kind of invasive questions that a police officer would be proud of, but questions that show you care. Questions about your team’s comfort, objectives, work pressure, family situations, etc. Create such surveys and send them to your team members, see the kind of response you get and act accordingly. This will probably score you the most brownie points among all the other ways we are going to list out. It could be a simple “How are you feeling about your job?”, “What do you think needs to be improved about the facilities here?”, “How could we make you happier?”- to list a few. This is what makes an employee loyal and they are always the little things. Use a good employee engagement software or for that matter even a performance management tool, to measure and track these responses. Dig into the insights to improve your team engagement strategy.
2. Include perks that touch upon their well-being
- Ability to work from home any day. It should not be a problem as long as work gets done, isn’t it? There is a lot of convenience for an employee when allowed to
- Free fruits in the refrigerator
- Get healthy food for them at least once a week
- Free spa services
- An extra day off (No, not as bad as it seems. A lot of companies do this)
- Company sponsored marathon runs
- Bring a chef to teach them cooking
- Health checkups
- On-site yoga classes
- Hold a fitness challenge (it should come with its own prizes) and more.
Perks like this will bring your team closer to you and it will be easy for you as it reduces workplace tension in a lot of employees. Perks like yoga classes, fitness challenge, and the likes will bring people from different departments together thus helping them when they work as teams.
3. Make your new hires meet everyone
If you are a company that has 10,000 employees on your payroll, you certainly cannot make everyone meet the new hires. But a company that has less than 100 employees can certainly make the new hires meet everybody. It gets easier for them to bond with everyone while the present employees will also not find it awkward when working with them since you have already broken the ice for them. Oh wait, do not make your new employee stand in front of everyone and ask them to introduce themselves if the gathering is large. It works best when you do it at an office party or a casual gathering. Knowing everyone in the office gives you a fillip in terms of confidence when you will eventually work as a team with many of them.
4. Shower them with more responsibility
We are not talking about the kind of responsibility that reeks of ‘menial’ which are boring but work that is according to an employee’s stature and capacity. Trust them with more responsibility and they might amaze you with an understanding and agility unseen of. They will show initiative as and when you give them more responsibility. Humans are not inspired by mundane tasks but by goals that challenge and inspire them. Even if they don’t have enough experience for you to show so much trust in important projects, when you start believing in them, they would make it happen no matter what the circumstances are. If there is any chance that someone somewhere could improve their chances of learning a part of their job in a particular project, do not fail to encourage them to take it up. The more they realize that they contribute directly to the company’s bottom line, they would be giving their heart and soul into it, and the higher your team engagement rates go.
5. Start a learning club
Get your employees engaged in topics that they could discuss a team and would also improve their knowledge at work. It could be learning a new program or a technology that would drive better results in the workspace. It could be selecting books or videos that people can enjoy and learn. You could select a day when people can showcase their learnings by planning an offsite where your team could discuss the topic.
6. Offer help to those whose performance isn’t impressive
Not everyone can be your ‘purple squirrel’ ( someone with the perfect set of qualifications and experience for an organization). There might be individuals who are not able to perform according to expectations, it is important that you not terminate them without giving a number of chances. It usually happens with new employees or for those who are going through a slump. For a new employee, you can assign a buddy who will hand-hold them during their initial journey, it becomes easier to acclimatize to the new environment, make him/her familiar with the rest of the team and ask for their help/guidance too. A senior employee might need some counsel, or training to exceed expectations.
Giving them more attention shows you care and the employee will be emboldened to put in more effort too. This looks good on your organization too as a benevolent employer. Do not ever neglect employees who show a slump in performance, you would only regret it if no action is taken to counter it. Team engagement is a walk in the park if you have the right shoes on!
7. Have a program to find your superstars
Are there certain teams that are making great strides in the organization? Such teams are always proactive and communicate a lot on your Slack group whenever asked for feedback. They are the ones who fill those employee feedback survey first, they are the ones who volunteer for a new program. Find out these gems and polish them even better. They are the ones who can make a huge difference to your organization; make them feel proud of themselves.
If you do not have a program to identify such star teams, then you are at a great loss. You are also at the risk of alienating the good employees who will eventually feel left out and dejected and plan to move to a competitor. Find out who these employees/teams are, chart out a plan for them and reward them appropriately. A simple “Wall of fame” that can display a photo of the best team of the month, best team player of the month, etc will do. These little-big things will go a long way in making employees work as a team and achieve together.
8. Make work reek of fun
There are so many other ways for you to keep your team engaged and satisfied. Not all of them might work for you, while some work like Santa on Christmas Eve, you have to see the ones that work well for you. When you focus on what your employees want, you can have a highly productive team and most importantly, a happy one at that. Finding good team engagement activities that work for you might not be something that you can identify in a week’s time, it is a long-drawn process. You need to be invested in it enough for you to find the right activities and stick to it while you mix and match to find more.