Engagement: There’s been quite a buzz developing around this concept for the past several years, and for good reason. Engaged employees are enthusiastic, committed to their work, invested in your organization and making meaningful contributions. The average organization is functioning with about 30 percent of its workforce engaged at any given time. Can you imagine the implications on your business outcomes (financial success, productivity, customer satisfaction, retention, physical health, etc.) if you could increase this number?
There are several factors that enhance an individual’s engagement at work, including; the belief that that the organization cares about its people, managers that are invested the professional growth and overall happiness of their employees, and an employee’s opportunity to use personal strengths on a daily basis. These things can be accomplished on a broad scale by building a supportive culture, developing effective managers and cultivating self-leaders. For long-term success, it is essential for your organization to have both an in-depth evaluation of the needs of employees, as well as a comprehensive strategy to address cultural pitfalls specific to your organization.
However, when it comes to combatting the daily drivers of disengagement (negative coworkers, stress outside of work, lack of concern for the welfare of the company, feeling powerless to make a meaningful impact, boredom, etc.) there are plenty of weapons of mass encouragement that organizations can deploy in order to level the playing field and take down these negative influences. Here are some of our favorites that you can apply to your organization.
1) Holiday celebrations – Chocolate on Valentine’s Day, wearing green on St Patty’s day, having a dip contest on Cinco de Mayo, fresh flowers for May Day – these are just some examples of ways to spice up the workplace with holiday celebration.
2) Random acts of kindness – Give all of your employees $5 or $10 with one rule: they have to spend it on someone else within the next 3 days. Don’t give them ideas or boundaries up front, but rather, ask them to share what they did with the money on social media. You’ll be amazed at the generosity and thoughtfulness of others and the morale boost as employees and the public alike recognize your organizations’ commitment to doing the right thing.
3) Spirit week – Take a trip down memory lane by mimicking a high school spirit week for the workplace. Incorporate funny themes and odd ways for people to express themselves. By being unique, and acknowledging their individuality you allow for celebration of their expression of self. Plus, it’s fun to see your coworkers dress up like they were in the 80’s.
4) Pun-tastic thank yous – A small plant and a note that says “We appreciate you GROWING with us and we’re proud of what you’ve accomplished!” A note with a pack of gum in it to say “thanks for going the EXTRA mile”. A “thanks for making me SNICKER” bar for the office funny man.
5) Group studies / book clubs – These can unite groups of employees that might not have known each other otherwise, and also support the growth of employees as individuals.
6) Bring luxury onsite – Onsite massages, food trucks or baristas are always a hit with employees. Bringing these small luxuries to your employees in a convenient way can really boost the mood around the office and show you care.
7) Desk drops – drop a small gift at each and every workstation. A piece of fresh fruit and a smoothie recipe, hand warmers and holiday survival tips, a piece of dark chocolate and an inspirational quote. Get creative by offering a small gift along with written inspiration that encourages personal wellbeing.
8) Team building exercises – If you’ve got a budget, ropes courses, escape rooms and other team challenges are great for team building. Don’t underestimate a free personality test either - the “VIA character strengths test”, Tom Rath’s “Stengthsfinder”, or the “Fascination Advantage” are just a few fun personality tests that help employees understand and utilize the strengths of their teammates more effectively.
9) Coloring breaks – Adult coloring books are a big trend right now and there is plenty of research to support its benefits on stress reduction and even concentration and focus. Whether it’s a one-time event tied in to another campaign, or having coloring books and colored pencils available in a certain break room at all times, this is a great way to add some fun and feel goods to the work day.
10) Kids’ art work as office décor – Everyone loves showing off their kids, and it’s pretty easy to incorporate this into your workspace. Buy a large frame and select a spot for it in the office. Each month, you can have employees submit their kid’s artwork. Pick a winner and create an oversized print to frame and incorporate into your décor that month. This can also be a great conversation starter amongst employees.
11) Lunch lotto – This is particularly well-suited for organizations that have many independent departments that don’t interact much out of necessity, or, for an organization that is undergoing rapid growth or acquisitions. Each month, randomly select four people to go to lunch on the company’s dime. This is a fun excuse for employees that may not normally interact to get to know one another and also sends a message that you are invested in a united organization.
12) Peer-to-Peer bonuses – allocate $25 into your budget per employee, per quarter for peer bonuses. Each employee can then choose one of their coworkers to receive their peer bonus each quarter, along with a description of why they were chosen.