Employee engagement comes in many forms. At large companies, reaching the entire staff with one solution isn’t feasible. Using a mix of initiatives and activities is the most effective way to genuinely connect with a diverse workforce.
Employee engagement is a critical component in any business. It helps companies thrive by increasing productivity, reducing turnover, and improving customer service.
Valued employees are more engaged and productive across the employee journey.
We’ve put together a comprehensive guide for high-impact activities you can use in your organization. Incorporate these top employee engagement activities into your employee engagement strategy.
First, let’s give a quick refresher on employee engagement and explain why it’s a crucial priority for large organizations.
What is Employee Engagement?
We built iTacit to help engage employees. To connect them, train them, and make their lives at work better. We are clearly passionate about the topic. But what does employee engagement really mean for large organizations?
Employee engagement strategies should truly understand the full life cycle of the employee. From onboarding and training, all the way until an employee’s last day at an organization – without engagement, you’ll have unhappy workers.
Engagement encompasses a few inter-linked components. Start by asking the following questions:
How does an employee feel everyday? Do they have access to the right training? Do they have a voice in the company?
Each answer to these seemingly straightforward questions holds the keys to unlock powerful engagement opportunities in your company.
From an organizational standpoint, employee engagement refers to a range of business strategies including policies, activities, company culture, and remuneration aimed at keeping employees happy and motivated at work.
Why is Employee Engagement Important?
Developing strong employee engagement in all organizations takes dedication from upper management and HR teams. In large companies, team leaders at all levels should always be working towards keeping their staff motivated and happy in their jobs.
Engaged employees will be more productive – meaning work will get done efficiently. But, more importantly, engaged employees are motivated to work. They’re happier. This makes getting up and going to work everyday a fulfilling endeavor leading to high employee satisfaction.
Happy employees are less likely to leave, boosting retention. This reduced turnover keeps expertise and training investment within the organization and solidifies your company’s knowledge base.
How Technology Helps Bolster Employee Engagement
The future of work is increasingly digital. We’ve recently seen a major shift toward a work environment that is entirely remote or a hybrid.
Digital employee experience platforms connect workers from across different roles. They bridge the gap between management and the rest of the staff, whether that’s in traditional office settings or in digital workspaces.
Through digital platforms, management can instantly receive employee feedback and make real-time adjustments to their engagement initiatives through fast and effective communication.
For the employees, a digital space is invaluable to make connections with colleagues across the organization, plan fun activities, and have a direct voice on internal discussion forms and/or employee social media.
Employee Engagement Strategy
With so much going on in the day-to-day operations of an organization, prioritizing employee-centered initiatives can be challenging. But ask any manager, and they’ll tell you that employees are the heart of their organization and their biggest asset.
If your organization isn’t investing in employee engagement, it’s never too late to start. Simple changes and a few fresh ideas can really kick-start a solid employee engagement strategy.
Geography, industry type, and company size all help shape company culture and engagement initiatives. Finding the mix of activities that work for your organization is the key to boost employee engagement.
We’re here to help.
The 20 Best Employee Engagement Activities
Getting employees genuinely involved in the day-to-day operations of an organization makes them feel valued and appreciated. For large companies, leaders might need to get creative to uncover high-impact activities to keep staff engaged.
In theory, there is an endless list of activities team leaders can undertake within their organization. We’ve worked alongside many organizations searching for the most purpose-driven activities.
Good news: we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide of the best ways to drive employee engagement through some awesome activities, broken down into four main categories:
- Give Them Something to Do.
- Show You Care About Their Success.
- Be A Coach, Not A Boss.
- Celebrate Small Wins.
- Create Opportunities for Growth.
Keep scrolling to find out how and why these initiatives should be integrated into your organization.
Give Them Something to Do.
One of the easiest ways to engage your team is to give them something to do. This can be as simple as assigning tasks to each other, or as complex as creating a new project. If you need help with employee engagement ideas, check out our blog post on How to Get More Out of Your Team.
Encourage Employee-Initiated Projects
At large companies, sometimes employees can feel a bit lost in the mix. Feeling like a number, not an individual is certainly discouraging and will lead to disengaged employees. Instead of staff feeling like a cog in the machine, encourage them to be entrepreneurial and to spearhead their own initiatives.
These types of projects can range from improvement and optimization initiatives to new product developments, or even internal process workgroups on any given internal topic.
By giving autonomy and flexibly to your staff, they’ll be free to get creative, open new doors, and explore interesting endeavors.
Make Break Time Fun
Once reserved for the coolest of tech companies, workplace game rooms and relaxation spaces are becoming increasingly common. These types of spaces are designed to get away from work for a moment. To let off some steam and to recharge.
Physical games like foosball, table tennis or pool are fun for a wide range of personalities. Video game consoles are also a great idea, as well as classic retro arcade machines. Anything is possible!
Giving your employees a comfortable place to unwind and take their minds off work is a great way to boost engagement. Injecting a bit more fun throughout the day contributes to happiness at work and can bolster team spirit.
Pro tip: If you’re going to invest in games, make sure to do it right! Create a space that’s really dedicated for “play”. Keep it clean, comfortable, and welcoming. These spaces are not just for show…You want your employees to really use them!
Use Gamification to Build Healthy Competition
Injecting a little healthy competition into the workplace can be a fun way to boost engagement. Goals, objectives, and prizes can be attributed to a variety of work-related tasks. Within your Learning Management System (LMS), you can incentivize staff by gamifying the experience or through offering group quizzes.
Of course, you don’t want staff competing against each other in a way that will cause workplace tension. Finding the balance can be tricky but a great place to start is through integrating gamification into digital training.
Create Social Daily Game Routines
A routine, daily post on the intranet or team group chat is a fun way to foster team spirit. Does the team play Wordle every day? Post your scores! Creating a friendly competitive game is a great way to briefly clear your mind and boost workplace happiness.
For remote employees, these types of daily rituals are even more important. Being stationed away from the central hub of operations can cause a feeling of disconnection for remote employees. Developing strong rituals, and making sure to include remote and dispersed workers, will greatly help with keeping them engaged.
Encourage Employee-Generated Content
Encouraging employee-generated content makes your employees grow and be more engaged. This can be accomplished a few different ways:
- Employee thought leadership: articles, videos, or social posts about their expertise
- Employee creativity: let staff creativity shine through sharing content like music, visual artwork (physical and digital), or whatever their creative outlet may be!
- Teamwork, communication and collaboration: working together in intra-departmental teams can be a great way to make new connections and drive creativity by harnessing the power of weak ties.
Employee-generated content should be shared, promoted, and acknowledged. Though supporting employees, they’ll feel more at ease to be creative, and most importantly they’ll know they have a platform for their voice to be heard.
Show You Care About Their Success.
People who feel valued by their employer are more likely to be engaged. They’ll also be more likely to stay at their job longer. So make sure you show your appreciation for what they do every day.
In today’s workforce, employee turnover rate is high and expected to keep increasing. Keeping talent within your organization takes a commitment from all leaders to truly demonstrate that employees are valued.
Develop Personal Employee Experience Maps
Every individual employee has a unique employee journey. But how can this specific and – at times – unknown path be planned? From the on-boarding stage all the way until the employee’s final day, their experience at work can be mapped.
Through working with each employee, and establishing goals and objectives, HR specialists and team leaders can create an accurate prediction that can be used to guide employee development.
Employee experience maps are a great tool to define an employee’s career progression based on their skills, desires, and development goals. Employees benefit from seeing a concrete action plan to achieve the next steps in their career. Business leaders and HR teams also benefit from having a longer-term and holistic view on their entire staff’s place within an organization.
Invest in Health and Wellness Programs
Employee health should be paramount for any organization. Research shows that physical and mental health is crucial for workers to be happy, energized, and engaged at work.
Easy access to fitness centers can be given to employees. Whether that’s a gym on-site or free/discounted memberships to local fitness facilities.
On-site food options can also be tailored for a healthy lifestyle. If there’s nothing but fast food in the office’s neighborhood, you could think about collaborating with a local caterer to develop some health-conscious options.
From a mental health perspective, Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) can be created within your organization. EAPs offer access to therapy and other mental health services that are made available to employees anonymously and discreetly. Staff can seek out the help of the EAP during times of personal struggle, stressful moments at work, or any other difficult moments in their lives.
The existence of physical health initiatives as well as employee assistance programs shows staff that the organization has their health and well-being in mind.
Put Work-Life Balance First
Most leaders have been guilty at some point of letting their work-life balance get out of hand. Putting in some extra time after hours to get things done, catch up on emails, or have late meetings, often missing out on personal appointments and life-events.
It’s important to be aware of the work-life balance falling out of equilibrium.
Employees can feel pressured in certain company cultures to stay long hours to get the job done. Of course, this can happen and is expected for some roles. But it should never become the norm.
A healthy work-life balance will be different for every individual. Showing flexibility and empathy toward employees and their personal vs. work obligations are excellent ways to make them feel less stressed, and reduce the risk of burnout.
Celebrate Outgoing Staff
When employees part ways with the company, it’s always a mix of emotions. Of course, it’s sad to see them leave. But on the other hand, we should be happy for our friends and colleagues and wish them the best on their exciting new opportunities.
When employees leave, having a small going-away party/meeting or even just a genuine email can do a lot for morale. Not only is it touching for the employee who is leaving, it’s a sign to the rest of the staff that the organization really values their people.
Be A Coach, Not A Boss.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you need to be a boss when you’re trying to motivate people. You don’t. Instead, try being a coach. This means focusing on helping others succeed rather than telling them what to do.
Get to Know the C-Suite
In large organizations, it can be almost impossible for top-level managers to get to know the entire staff.
Here are some ways C-Level managers can engage with employees across their organization:
- Post on the company intranet
- Be active on LinkedIn and tag employees
- Participate in in-person or virtual town halls
- Take a walk around the office and chat with staff in various functions
- Have lunch in the common lunch room
Employees will appreciate their top-level managers making an effort to integrate with the team. Through these interactions, both the C-Levels and employee base will have opportunities to make new connections and unlock new relationships.
Keep Your Door Open
For all types of managers, sometimes there just isn’t enough time in the day. When your entire calendar is booked with meetings, space for ad hoc chats and casual conversation is hard to come by.
Scheduling time – or “office hours” – to be open and available to chat with staff can help let your employees know that you have time for them. Employees should be able to reach managers and feel comfortable having discussions – whether that’s about career goals, specific projects, or their personal lives.
Creating space for these types of conversations will go a long way in showing that you care about the success of the staff and that you are there to help.
Offer Direct Coaching and Mentoring
Connect employees with specific coaches or mentors for topics in line with their career goals. Whether you take up the coaching yourself, or you find a suitable mentor, employees can genuinely benefit from one-on-one career guidance.
When you create coaching relationships, employees will directly feel valued within the company. Investing in nurturing the relationship so that the individual will grow shows commitment and dedication.
Hold Regular Town Hall Meetings
Meetings with the entire staff make for practical and efficient platforms to communicate important information and the company’s core values. Highlighting areas of success, and areas that need improvement, keeps everyone informed about the organization as a whole.
Covering details across every department – like finance, HR, IT, or logistics – allows all employees a window into areas they wouldn’t otherwise have access to. Holding these meetings on a regular basis – quarterly or twice a year – will keep staff up-to-date and informed.
With everyone on the same page, working towards a common goal will help increase employee motivation and team spirit.
Celebrate Small Wins.
One of the easiest ways to make employees feel valued is by celebrating small wins. These can be as simple as giving a shout out to a colleague who did something outstanding, or recognizing a team member for a job well done.
Praise on Employee Social Platforms
As a leader, feel free to tip your hat to a team or individual for a job well done! Apps like Microsoft Teams (and of course, iTacit) have built-in features to give praise or shout-outs to people. This small gesture shows that a worker’s efforts were noticed and appreciated.
Another way to acknowledge great work is to make a post on the intranet. Getting company-wide recognition through comments and likes is a sure-fire way to boost someone’s confidence and reiterate their job well done. Who doesn’t love a compliment?
Take the Team for Lunch
To quote famed food writer Anthony Bourdain: “You learn a lot about someone when you share a meal together”.
Eating together can bring teams closer, build trust, and it’s an easy way to inject some fun into the work week. Not only that, it’s a sign of appreciation for dedication and hard work. Team lunches can be as modest or elaborate as the budget dictates. Depending on the company and local culture, the options are really endless.
The important thing is to be inclusive, be welcoming, and try to cater to everyone’s tastes and dietary restrictions. Your employees will feel valued and really appreciate the gesture.
Or Why Not a Food Truck?
If going to lunch is not practical for your office, consider hiring a food truck? Better yet, multiple!
Food trucks can come to you, bringing with them potentially amazing and diverse flavors. Check out the local entrepreneurs in your area and create a mini food truck festival right in your parking lot.
To include remote workers, offer them a voucher for delivery like Uber Eats or a local restaurant. Though they can’t join physically, they’ll definitely love the chance for a complimentary meal.
Organize Fun Activities for the Group
Yearly office parties are always fun. Whether that’s a Christmas party or annual golf tournament, employees generally really appreciate coming together and having a good time at these events with staff and their significant others.
But there’s nothing stopping you from having more impromptu events to celebrate an achievement.
Why not organize a virtual escape room experience? An inspirational speaker? What about a cheesemaker tour or happy hour at a brewery?
Taking a bit of time to arrange a fun group activity shows that management appreciates the win – however big or small – and also brings the team closer together.
Call it a Day Early
Have your staff been going the extra mile to really generate success lately? Why not pack it up and call it a day? Leaving work a few hours early (especially on a Friday) is always an amazing feeling. Your employees will greatly appreciate some extra time for themselves.
If – for business critical reasons – not everyone can leave, be sure to make it up to them shortly after. It’s important to make sure all staff are treated fairly and given the same opportunities to have a little extra time.
Create Opportunities for Growth.
Another way to make employees feel valued at work is to give them opportunities to learn new skills and develop professionally. This will help them feel like they’re growing and contributing to the organization’s success.
Encourage Lateral Career Moves
Not every profile is destined for a linear career path. Sometimes, lateral moves can really jump-start stagnating motivation.
Many organizations can have relatively strict growth avenues (for example, assistant manager, to project manager, to senior project manager). How about a shift from project management to logistics? Or – depending on the skill set and education – even wider jumps like from HR to Accounting are entirely possible.
Offering employees the flexibility to really take control of their career path is a sure way to boost engagement. Giving them autonomy to find what works best for them. Of course, these growth plans need to be backed by the company to assist with upskilling and reskilling.
Offer Flexible Training
Employee training works best when it’s easy to access and flexible to complete. By offering online training, accessible from anywhere, anytime – staff can perform their training at their own pace. Instead of blocking off hours, days, or weeks for on-site training, a digital training solution can empower employees to take their training schedules into their own hands.
Digital workplace platforms with integrated LMS provides an intuitive, one-stop-shop for staff training needs. At iTacit, we really believe that the future of training is on-demand microlearning. Using a mobile LMS microlearning platform, employees can find training easily, scan for topics and have a more personalized and relevant training experience.
Help Employees Set Personal Goals
What’s that famous quote? Something like “a goal is a dream with a deadline”? That’s right, Napoleon Hill. As overused as it is…it still holds true! Goals are extremely important in business, but they must have a deadline and a clear path to realization.
All employees, from new hires to seasoned veterans, should have personal career goals during their time within an organization. But setting goals doesn’t come easy for certain people. It’s the responsibility of managers and team leaders to help their staff set realistic goals and outline their plan to achieve them.
Having a personal (or team) goal will give staff direction. And being on their side, helping them along the way, will motivate them to make their dream (goal) a reality.
Encourage Open, 2-Way Conversation
Along the employee journey there will be highs, lows, bumps, and diversions. For the employee, navigating this road can sometimes be overwhelming. For managers, it’s important to be there to support staff to keep pushing forward on their journey. To do this, open, 2-way conversation with each employee can be an extremely motivating gesture.
When they have a problem, they know they can safely come to you for support and advice. Make an effort to engage with your staff, and they’ll be more open and transparent.
Employee Engagement Drives Success
Every organization has a unique mix of employees. Certain activities will resonate with some groups more than others. We’ve listed 20 activities that will definitely inject a bit of spark throughout the employee base.
From fun and games to strategic career planning, employee engagement activities certainly can take on many forms. Employee experience software helps organizations drive their engagement strategy.
A digital, all-in-one employee platform connects employees on one hub and gives them a voice and platform to be creative. It’s one of the best ways to genuinely create high-impact employee engagement opportunities.
With digital workspaces and remote workers continuing to become more common, connecting staff with an intuitive, secure system is more important than ever. Heading into the future of work, and the evolving challenges facing employee engagement, companies need to have the best possible tools to assist on their digital journey.
To learn more about how you can use technology to drive employee engagement in your organization, feel free to browse our front-line feed.