Employee engagement is one of the biggest challenges faced by modern businesses.
In the last several years, human resources professionals, recruiters and researchers have been shouting the benefits of increased engagement from the rooftops, but ideas on the best ways to achieve it still come across a little…unimaginative.
Considering disengaged employees cost the UK £348 billion per year, this is not an optional bonus – companies in 2019 can keep their employees engaged, enthusiastic and appreciated, or they can lose money.
Many business tick engagement off their list by throwing money into their facilities and bonus schemes. While those things might improve your brand reputation and attract better candidates they don’t have a lasting impact.
Taking a human approach to engagement and putting core desires at the heart of your programmes is where real engagement begins.
Your engagement strategy should be human, honest, and inclusive, and employees agree, with 96% of employees believing empathy is one of the most crucial aspects of improving employee retention. Team building should absolutely be a part of your strategy and for the best results invest in ongoing team building.
Team-Building days are incredible for employee engagement and proven to work when approached correctly, but if they don’t have that human touch, employees see right through them.
After all, if your engagement initiatives and team-building day consist of by-the-numbers, boring tasks that your employees have done countless times before, can you really expect them to care?
Here at Inspire Me, we’ve spent a long time studying and researching the latest data on employee engagement, but more importantly, we’ve spent a lot of time asking employees and employers what works for them.
It is almost unanimously agreed that a unique, surprising and genuinely human experience is the biggest requirement for creating a truly effective employee engagement strategy that galvanises a team and increases enthusiasm across the board.
With that in mind, we’ve decided to bring you a detailed list of actionable tips for improving employee engagement.
Every tip listed here is based on our own experience getting results, and taking each of them into account is guaranteed to improve your employee engagement, pride and retainment:
Employee Engagement Ideas: Activities
So without further ado, let’s first take a look at some amazing and unique activities that we know will get people talking, socialising and laughing together.
When you’re organising team building activities or employee engagement events, it’s a good idea to imagine what your employees will tell their spouses and family members about it when they go home.
Consider your day a success if your employee goes home and says ‘it was the best team building experience in my 20 years with the company’ as one our client’s employees once said vs “it was just one of those team-building days with the group exercises.”
The key is to create unique team building experiences that get people talking, that encourage human connection and ultimately break down barriers quickly.
Here are a few good ideas to consider:
If your team is passionate about a specific issue, encouraging them to volunteer goes a long way towards aligning their goals with those of your business.
If you can spare the time, you can even allow them to do this during working hours.
This creates the feeling that they are working together to improve the world and that you support them with this, which builds a sense of joint purpose that can be very difficult to achieve in other ways.
Peak Performance Team Building
A great option for the challengers and adrenaline lovers in your workplace. Create experiences that pose a challenge. Popular activities include rock climbing, mountain climbing, mountain trekking and even sailing.
Our energise and inspire workshops involve activities such as martial arts style board breaking, breaking of arrows by the neck(!), firewalking, glass-walking and more!
While this may seem absurd, the benefits have been huge, with employees seeming nervous, shocked and unwilling to participate when they first see what they’re expected to do.
A few hours later, they will all be getting involved, laughing, and most importantly proud and surprised by what they have achieved together.
This is something that helps a team gel together for the long term, not just for the day, and we highly recommend trying to run your employee engagement strategy along the same lines.
A surprising option that brings joy and enthusiasm out in even the most pessimistic of employees.
Singing is something most people don’t want to do in front of others when first given the option, but once they start, they will almost always get into the infectious nature of creating music together.
Our own sing & inspire workshops bring in a harmony/teamwork aspect, splitting the employees into teams and letting each team handle a different aspect of the song. The key thing is it’s not about the singing, it’s about the collective experience of working together for a shared goal.
It is brilliant for increasing confidence, breaking down barriers, connecting teams and solidifying This works absolute wonders as it allows those who are a little shy to sing with others, increasing their confidence, while each member gains pride in being a small part of the whole.
If you can get an experienced facilitator to visit your place of work and get your staff making beautiful music together, the results will be far more impressive than any traditional team building games you might have otherwise considered.
This is similar in concept to the singing workshops mentioned above, with each employee being a small but important part of an impressive overall performance. Getting your employees’ hands on actual musical instruments brings a more dynamic and impressive feel to the whole thing and can even be a great way to decrease stress.
We have a lot of experience in this thanks to our rhythm & inspire workshops, which are some of our most popular workshops with employees and employers alike.
Employees tend to return to work energised, de-stressed and with a big smile on their face after this type of event.
Employee Engagement Ideas: General Tips
So, above we provided a few tips about employee engagement ideas for 2019 and team-building workshops that will boost your employees’ work ethic, teamwork and overall engagement when used correctly.
But what about general tips for how to run your workplace?
Not to worry, we’ve got you covered there too:
Start Strong with Your Onboarding Strategy
How many times have you heard the old “first impressions” chestnut?
Making a good first impression is of huge importance in making your employees feel comfortable, proud and at home in the workplace. Taking time to give them a tour, introducing them to their superiors, and giving them a chance to ask any questions can make all the difference.
You can even take it further, letting new hires start on a Friday or giving them a “learning week” before their responsibilities begin. Giving them a team building experience with their more experienced colleagues is a great way to break the ice and immerse them into your company culture.
Celebrating your staff for their work accomplishments is great, but you should celebrate them for themselves and what they pride themselves on outside of work too.
It can be something as simple as remembering their birthday and giving them a small gift or showing interest in their hobbies. Where possible let them take creative freedom in their roles allowing them to do things differently and not just the way things have always been done. What works for one doesn’t necessarily work for all.
This makes them feel valued as a person and not just a number on payroll.
Ask Staff for Advice
Each of your employees has different strengths, and each of them works in different ways.
Asking for their help on things you know they are particularly skilled at is an excellent way to not only recognise their strengths but also to place value on their presence and simply show appreciation.
Respecting their opinions and taking them into account will also help your choices to be more pleasing to the workforce in general.
Put Health and Wellbeing First
With mental health and depression on the rise it’s crucial to create positive working environments that encourage health & wellbeing.
Ensure you have signposts in place letting people know who they can speak to if they have an issue affecting their performance and wellbeing at work. Little pokes in the right direction such as offering your workers free gym memberships or healthy food options can make them feel valued, improve their productivity and increase retention.
Offering regular activities such as yoga, mindfulness workshops, massages can make a massive impact to how your people function as you are providing the space for them to be their whole selves and reminding them to take time out.
Our tip here is to lead by example. While most workplaces how promote health & wellbeing the best way to encourage is from the top down. If your team see their line manger not taking breaks or taking part in on site activities, they may feel pressured to do the same. Encourage your management team to act as champions for health & wellbeing in the workplace.
That’s all for today, but if you’re still not convinced by the results a good employee engagement strategy can achieve, just take a look at our happy clients page to see some of the huge returns on investment we have been able to achieve for businesses around the UK.
And if you’re planning your own team building day or event, don’t forget to check our blog regularly for more effective tips to increase your employee engagement, retention and productivity!