100 Ideas for Employee Engagement Activities

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Employee engagement plays an important role in attracting, retaining, and developing top talent for organizations, and is important to a business' success. There are so many ways to engage employees through recognition and rewards, compensation, training and development, advancement opportunities, work/life and wellness initiatives, leadership and management behavior, community involvement, employee events, among others.

employee engagement activities

Below are 100+ ideas for employee engagement activities:

1. Share stories about how employees' work impacts customers and the organization.

2. Volunteer at a local charity or non-profit organization.

3. Start an internal company newsletter or blog in which employees and leaders can contribute content.

4. Create a wellness committee to implement initiatives around the office.

5. Start every meeting by recognizing one person for a recent accomplishment.

6. Create a job shadowing program for employees to job shadow and learn about other departments in the company.

7. Create a years of service recognition program.

8. Offer a flexible work schedule.

9. Provide employees with job opportunities outside of their regular job duties.

10. Have the leadership team eat lunch in the cafeteria and promote employees coming to talk to them with questions or concerns.

11. Have a no-email day once a month to encourage employees to encourage in-person interaction.

12. Provide on-the-job leadership opportunities for non-management top performers.

13. Have internal training classes once a month for employees to learn more about the company’s products/services.

14. Create an employee idea/suggestion program.

15. Have supervisors write thank you cards to employees, letting them know much their contributions are valued.

16. At staff or team meetings, encourage employees to recognize their fellow co-workers for a job well done.

17. Schedule regular one-on-one meetings with staff.

18. Create an employee of the month award.

19. Allow employees to bring their dog and/or bring their child to work day. 

20. Create succession plans and communicate them to successors.

Engage and Retain

21. Invite top performers to attend a networking or special event with senior leaders.

22. Invite each employee to attend at least one training program each year.

23. Host exercise or yoga classes at the office.

24. Give employees stretch assignments to challenge them.

25. Recognize a personal accomplishment or milestone in employees' lives, such as births of children, weddings, retirements, and professional development achievements.

26. Start a new-hire mentor or buddy program.

27. Meet one-on-one with employees to talk about what they like and dislike about their job.

28. Implement a fitness program or activity.

29. Host an all-staff or team potluck breakfast or lunch.

30. Create a cross-training program.

31. Create employee-led committees for safety, wellness, or other workplace initiatives.

32. Host a community involvement day.

33. Have senior leaders work with non-management employees on projects and assignments.

34. Take a high performing employee out to lunch and/or host a luncheon or breakfast with a small group of employees.

35. Have monthly/quarterly town hall meetings during which senior management reports on the state of the business and employees have a chance to ask questions.

36. Talk about career development with top performers at least once a year.

37. Require that every manager provide ongoing coaching and feedback to their employees.

38. Start a profit sharing or bonus program.

39. Provide employees with extra time off as a reward, perhaps around a holiday.

40. Give employees a day off for their birthday.
 Engage and Retain

41. Host a summer company picnic or outing and a holiday party every year.

42. Do something special for employees when they are take on extra work while another employee is on vacation or out sick/on a medical leave.

43. Create open, comfortable collaboration spaces in which employees can gather together.

44. Implement an open door policy.

45. Match an employee's charitable donation.

46. Have employees participate in developing the organization's mission, vision, values, and strategic direction.

47. Create a mentoring program.

48. Give employees a paid day off to volunteer at a charity or non-profit organization of their choice.

49. Have a different department lead company staff meetings each time. Let the department plan an activity and report on what their department does.

50. Hang a white board (or other type of collaboration board) in the office and each month post a “Question of the Month” and leave markers for employees to write their answers.

51. Support an employee with a personal or work situation, such as a medical issue, loss of a relative, etc.

52. Pay for one professional membership per employee per year.

53. Offer employees to attend a conference paid by the company.

54. Give stretch assignments to top performers.

55. Give top performers the lead on special projects.

56. Create a culture committee comprised of employees.

57. Coordinate an employee appreciation day/week.

58. Allow employees to work from home as needed or on the regular basis.

59. Have a peer nominated employee of the month award.

60. Have non-management employees lead department or team meetings.

Engage and Retain

61. Rotate each person in your department leading a department meeting.

62. Have a welcome celebration and/or activity for newly hired employees.

63. Create a KPI board so employees can track how well they are doing on a daily/weekly basis.

64. Have a praise board in a public place where employees can informally thank other employees.

65. Do a short daily stand up at the beginning of each shift to recap what is going on in the department and business.

66. Coordinate a team-building event or retreat.

67. Start an internal knowledge-sharing group or initiative.

68. Create a book club in your organization on leadership, management, or industry-related topics.

69. Create a personalized learning and development plan for each employee.

70. Offer career counseling or coaching.

71. Implement a creativity and innovation contest.

72. Take candid photos of employees and at events to share on a bulletin board. Every month start with a new board and create an ongoing scrapbook of the old pictures.

73. Contract with a wellness or health coach to come on-site. 

74. Have a monthly birthday celebration for all birthdays in the office.

75. Put fun games and entertainment in a common area, such as a ping–pong table, television, or Wii.

76. Create a leadership development or emerging leaders program.

77. Offer career opportunities and promotions internally before seeking external hires.

78. Offer online training courses.

79. Allow employees to personalize their workspace.

80. Have a field day of outdoor activities or a few field hours during lunches throughout the summer.

Engage and Retain

81. Send top performing employees to a train-the-trainer class so they can help train new associates in their departments.

82. Start a tuition assistance/reimbursement program.

83. Have a company history month, during which employees learn about the history of the company through different activities.

84. Encourage employees to improve at least one thing about their job each quarter that helps the department and/or company.

85. Have senior leaders make "rounds" around the office each week (if possible) to interact and communicate with employees.

86. Have the CEO or top executive write a column for the internal company newsletter or blog.

87. Highlight a different employee in each internal newsletter. 

88. Give surprise half days to the whole staff.

89. Create an internal job board on which positions are posted internally before looking for outside candidates.

90. Create a company vegetable garden together as a staff.

91. Have employees set yearly professional and developmental goals.

92. Celebrate employee work anniversaries; give employees a gift and a card on their anniversary.

93. Give all employees a compensation increase each year. Differentiate increases based on performance.

94. Offer educational opportunities or programs related to stress management.

95. Have casual dress Fridays.

96. Get everyone involved with safety and have a tally in a common area of how many days without an accident. Every 60 days with no accident everyone is rewarded.

97. Play music in the office.

98. Host meetings outdoors for a change of scenery and fresh air.

99. Start a community puzzle for employees to work on during lunch.

100. Initiate a walking, running, or other type of exercise club.

Hopefully this list gives your organization several ideas for employee engagement activities. Providing opportunities for employees to be engaged creates a positive environment where employees can excel in their work.

Engaged employees can pay off in better business results, retention, and productivity if your organization is willing to create a great workplace environment and culture.

Interested in learning more about engagement surveys?

Submit your contact information and receive instant access to a brochure that overviews what is included in ERC's engagement surveys and our process for conducting and assessing.

View the Engagement Brochure


3 Wellness Program Challenges and How to Fix Them

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As wellness programs have become a regular part of “the cost of doing business” (although ideally these programs will eventually yield a net reduction in the cost of doing business over time), it is still somewhat unclear what a “typical” wellness program should (or does) look like.

With over half of wellness programs set up and facilitated using internal staff, and no clear template to guide the way, developing, implementing and maintaining a wellness program is no easy task. Using data from the 2013 ERC Wellness Practices Survey, we outline some of the key pain points and take a closer look at what Northeast Ohio employers are doing to overcome these challenges.
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4 Things to Know About E-Verify

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The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 forbids employers from "knowingly hiring illegal workers." Employers must comply with this law by verifying the eligibility of prospective employees to work in the U.S by gathering information on the I-9 form. One way to do this is by using E-Verify, an electronic way of verifying employment eligibility based on U.S. requirements.

What is E-Verify?

E-Verify is a free online system operated by the federal government which allows an employer to determine the eligibility of an employee to work in the United States by comparing information reported on an employee's I-9 form to data from U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration records.
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How to Set Compensation in 5 Easy Steps

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Salaries are a business investment, and in order to make sure that you set fair and competitive compensation for jobs it’s important to use a structured method for setting compensation as opposed to choosing a random salary or simply using one salary survey or compensation source.

Employers generally determine salaries based on five (5) types of information: the job's responsibilities, what their competitors are paying, how valuable the job is to their organization, how they pay people in similar roles based on their pay structure, and their budget/organizational needs.

With this in mind, here are five (5) easy steps for setting compensation.
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ERC and ease@work Offer New Small Business EAP

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ERC is thrilled to partner with ease@work to provide small businesses an affordable solution for employee assistance programs.

The ease@work/ERC program provides small businesses an affordable approach to accessing a full-service EAP. The services in this group purchased program help employers address workplace issues like absenteeism, substance abuse, conflict or stress in the workplace, and provides all the other offerings of a full-service EAP, at a cost that’s affordable to small businesses. EAP’s are an outstanding employee benefit and support the attraction and retention of top performing employees.

“ease@work has been a tremendous partner of ours for many years providing employee assistance programs to our members, and we’re excited about making this an affordable option for small businesses. ERC is proud to be a client for this innovative program,” said Pat Perry, President of ERC.

“For almost 10 years, ease@work has recognized the need to bring quality EAP services to the growing small-business market,” said Janet M. Schiavoni, Director at ease@work. “We are thrilled that we have reached an agreement with ERC that expands our partnership which allows our program to be an affordable benefit for organizations of any size.”

For more information on how ease@work can help your organization click here.

SEC Proposes CEO Pay Ratio Rule

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed a rule in 2013, required under the Dodd-Frank Act, which would require companies to disclose a pay ratio of their chief executive officer's compensation to the median total compensation of all of its employees (for the last fiscal year).

The SEC would not prescribe a specific method for organizations to use when calculating a pay ratio, and companies would have the flexibility to determine the median annual total compensation among their employees and make reasonable estimates when calculating elements of and employees' total compensation.  In addition, in the proposed rule, "employee" is defined as any employee who is full-time, part-time, temporary, seasonal, and non-U.S; employed by the company or any of its subsidiaries; and employed as of the last day of the company's prior fiscal year.

Companies would be required to disclose the method they used to identify the median and total compensation as well as any amounts that are estimated.

Source: Securities and Exchange Commission (2013). SEC Proposes Rules for Pay Ratio Disclosure

8 Ways to Get the Employee Behavior You Want

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8 Ways to Get the Employee Behavior You Want

Behavior is central to a productive and successful workplace. It affects how we pay people for what they merit, who we promote, and what we recognize and reward. And, ultimately, how our employees behave day to day ends up significantly affecting our culture and business.

Because of this, it’s critically important for organizations to make sure that their employees’ behavior matches what is needed in the organization. This includes the basics (respect, honesty, etc.), but also the behaviors that are crucial to the business' success (creativity, initiative, risk taking, etc.).

Much of what we try to do as managers is steer employees to behave in the ways that we want them to. We want them to stop complaining, take more initiative, produce better quality work, improve their performance, serve our customers better, act like leaders, and the list goes on. Essentially, we want them to change their behavior, and we're often stumped (and sometimes even baffled) over how to do it. Influencing and changing behavior is tricky in the workplace. Fortunately, there are some "tried and true" ways to do it.

Here are eight ways to get the employee behavior you want.
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Will New DOL Regulations for Direct Care Workers Drive Changes in Pay?

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Here in Northeast Ohio, it is well known that the healthcare industry is by far the largest in the region, employing thousands upon thousands of workers in a wide range of positions (and salaries). One position type that has made headlines in recent weeks is the “direct care worker."

Although not typically the subject of high profile news stories these employees (e.g. home health aides) will soon be seeing a significant change in how they are paid. Nationally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) suggests that approximately 1.9 million workers across the country would be re-classified by the Department of Labor (DOL) under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and this could mean big changes for the fifteen-thousand or so home health aides employed in the immediate area.
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6 Answers To Your Health Care Reform Questions

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How are health insurance rates being affected by health care reform? Now that the notices have been sent and exchanges have launched, what's next for employers? Here are six (6) answers to commonly asked questions on health care reform currently.

1. How are health insurance rates being affected by health care reform?

Currently, health insurance rates have been only modestly affected by health care reform, although this trend is not expected to continue. A 2013 survey conducted by Towers Watson reports that the average total cost of health care is projected to rise by 5.2% in 2014, while a survey by PriceWaterhouseCoopers shows an expected 6.5% increase. Most national surveys have been reporting stable costs (if not slightly lower) from 2012, and our surveys of local employers have also seen stable and slightly lower average premium increases from the last few years.
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4 Important Workplace Wellness Trends You Need to Know

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Employee wellness continues to expand and change in the workplace as organizations use wellness programs to combat rising health care costs and support the development of healthy lifestyles in their workforce. Here's an overview of the state of employee wellness, and specifically 4 important wellness trends you need to know including an analysis of employer programs and practices, incentives, return on investment and drivers of effectiveness, and new things employers are doing in the area of wellness.

1. Programs & Practices

Health and wellness program offerings are expanding in the workplace, according to a few local and national surveys.

The Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) 2013 Employee Benefits Survey shows that when compared to 2009, more employers are offering health and lifestyle coaching and onsite fitness classes. In addition, the most common wellness options in which more than half of respondents offered were wellness resources and information, wellness programs, onsite seasonal flu vaccines, wellness publications, a 24-hour nurse line, and health screening programs.
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