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All posts

Top employee engagement activities and ideas

Written by

Jamie Yan

Published

September 13, 2019

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Managers can agree that employee engagement is very important and is a priority, yet it continues to be a challenge for organizations. The good thing is, it doesn’t have to be so complicated. When thinking about employee engagement activities and fun ideas in the office put yourself in your employees’ shoes.

Why employee engagement matters

Employee engagement remains a priority for managers. Take a look at these statistics:

  • 70% of employees are unengaged year after year (Gallup)
  • 39% of employees are likely to leave in the next 12 months (Simpplr Research)
  • The unemployment rate is at a record low of 3.7% (U.S. Department of Labor)
  • Employee turnover costs companies 6-9 months of an employee’s salary

Every company wants to hire and retain your best employees. The challenge is making sure your employees are engaged so they come to work every day to do their best work. Engaged employees are more productive, happier, more innovative, and are a positive influence on other employees.

How to think about employee engagement activities

Planning employee engagement activities isn’t complicated, but it’s important to start with what really matters. Providing snacks and organization games are fun, but when thinking about employee engagement ideas that truly make an impact, you’ll need to start where it matters. 

employee engagement key drivers internal communications chart

Simpplr Research found that the key drivers of driving employee engagement are:

  • Purpose: Showing employees how their work (and the work of the company) has a positive impact
  • Alignment: Making sure that employees and executives are on the same page and understands strategic priorities
  • Community: Establishing a strong sense of community where employees feel connected, safe, and supported

In fact, these factors matter more than autonomy, manager appreciation, compensation, benefits, and many other attributes that we surveyed. 

To learn more about drivers of employee engagement, check out Simpplr Research’s infographic.

Top employee engagement ideas & activities in the office

Now that you know the top three drivers, here are some employee engagement ideas that will actually drive employee engagement: 

Employee engagement activity #1: Create a culture that leverages tools to promote transparency

Encourage your organization, starting from the top, to use tools that connect employees with management and the rest of the organization. Make sure that the tool is modern, easy-to-use for all employees, fun. Use a tool that allows for periodical updates so that leaders can share goals, metrics, and other worthy news. 

Employee engagement activity #2: Organize events to celebrate diversity

employee engagement activities celebrate diversity

The workforce is becoming more and more global and diverse. It’s important that you make all employees feel safe and included. A great way is to organize events to celebrate the diversity of your workforce whether it be a cultural celebration, religious holidays, or social group movements. 

Employee engagement activity #3: Get executives involved 

Employees look up to leadership for direction; they serve as role models. The key to getting the ball rolling is by getting executives involved in employee engagement activities. For example, let them lead by example. Executives should be held accountable for a company’s culture – that means they should not only support employee engagement activities; they need to be involved.

Employee engagement activity #4: Share updates regularly across the organization

Imagine how you would feel if you had your head down all day. You wouldn’t care about anything because you wouldn’t even know what’s happening in the first place. When company news is shared across the organizations, you start aligning employees and uniting the workforce. For example, employees should be able to recite company goals.

Employee engagement activity #7: Quiz (and reward) employees on company goals

Employee engagement activities should fun. Getting your employees to be able to recite company goals should be fun too. Create fun quizzes and share employees’ results on your intranet. Make it interactive and reward-based. That way, it’ll be fun for the entire company.

 Employee engagement activity #5: Promote social and charitable events

No one has ever felt regret or negativity after giving back. Engaging employees in social or charitable events foster a positive mentality and encourages employee engagement. Have employees vote on a cause; that way, it becomes more personal and they are likely to feel more connected.

Employee engagement activity #6: Facilitate lunch where employees eat together

employee engagement activities lunch

It’s no surprise that every employee looks forward to lunch every day. Take this time to rally employees together for lunch to build and foster relationships. When employees sit close together, they are more likely to interact and 

Employee engagement activity #8: Celebrate wins together

An employee’s birthday? Reach a milestone? Celebrate with something simple, like cookies or cake. Companies who win together, stay together. Celebrating both personal wins and company wins strengthen bonds, creating a tighter-knit company culture and community.

Employee engagement activity #9: Constantly communicate company goals and priorities

Generate enthusiasm for your organization by sharing big-picture information. Create employee intranet articles or a company newsletter that keeps employees engaged and aligned with company goals. Employees who are excited about their company influence team members to share their passion.

Employee engagement activity #10: Design community or group sites around different needs
Simpplr intranet Sites

Different groups, teams, or departments have different needs. For example, a business group operates differently than a group for special affinities. Special affinity groups may constantly post and share content and media while a business group might just need a place to store documents. Creating a space or a site to accommodate groups is a practical and easy way to bring employees together so they can collaborate and engage with one another.

Employee engagement activities matter

Here are just some employee engagement activities to spur your creativity. We know it’s not your typical list filled with games, but it’s important to start and understand where it matters. Employee engagement is about more than just having fun. It has a direct impact on culture and employee retention. Employee engagement activities should be derived from the three key drivers: purpose, alignment, and community. To learn more about how culture and retention have to do with employee engagement, check out Simpplr Research: Glassdoor Data: Impact on Employee Communication & Retention (Infographic).

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