100 Ideas for Employee Engagement Activities

Share on LinkedIn Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google Plus Share this Page

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


5 Reasons Why Your Employees Aren't Fully Engaged

Share on LinkedIn Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google Plus Share this Page

Employee engagement is an employee's involvement with, commitment to, and satisfaction with their work. It is an employee's positive or negative emotional attachment and connection to their job, their coworkers, and their organization. Employees who are the most engaged...

  • love what they do
  • take pride in their organization
  • believe they can make an impact
  • work in the best interests of their organization
  • feel empowered to help move their organization forward
  • initiate new contributions to the organization

But every day, you probably encounter employees who are not fully engaged in their job or your organization. These employees lack full commitment, do not take as much initiative to go above and beyond their job responsibilities, show apathy and passivity, take on fewer projects, participate less, take less pride in the organization, and are not as enthusiastic about their work as they could be.
Read this article...

Employee Engagement Definition: What it Is, What Affects It, Where Employers Lag

Share on LinkedIn Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google Plus Share this Page

Understanding the employee engagement definition is on every employer’s priority list these days. The number of companies that want to measure, track, and improve employee engagement in their workplace continues to increase – a testament to engagement’s increasing popularity.

Understanding the concept of employee engagement can be confusing for many employers since so many conflicting definitions and research exists on the topic. This article seeks to clarify what employee engagement is, what affects it, and where employers typically lag in engaging employees.

What is employee engagement?

Employee engagement refers to an employee’s involvement in, commitment to, and satisfaction with their work. Many people mistake employee engagement for simply employee satisfaction. Engagement measures more than just an employee opinion of how satisfied they are at work. Rather, engagement measures how emotionally connected the employee is to their work.
Read this article...

How to Inspire & Engage Employees in 6 Easy Ways

Share on LinkedIn Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google Plus Share this Page

Do you want your employees to work harder? Have a better attitude? Be more productive? Find efficiencies or areas to improve? Show more enthusiasm? Be committed?

It seems that every manager wants these behaviors from their employees, but often believe they need to "fix" or "change" their employees, design elaborate programs, or invest a lot of money in engagement to achieve any results.

The truth is that even though these strategies can help engage employees, using only these tactics will sorely miss the mark. Your front-line managers, on the other hand, are the people that have the largest effect on day-to-day engagement and these outcomes, and the ways in which they do are often cost-free.

Here are 6 easy and cost-free ways that you as a manager can inspire and engage employees to receive the outcomes you want.
Read this article...

How to Create a Positive, Engaging Performance Review Experience

Share on LinkedIn Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google Plus Share this Page

It’s the end of the year and for most employers, time for performance review conversations.

Have you ever left a performance review discussion feeling more engaged, inspired, and motivated? If you have, you understand that performance reviews can drive positive change and feelings, if done right. The trouble is that most managers don’t know how to facilitate these positive changes within the context of a performance review discussion.

All too often, performance reviews can be a negative experience for employees and managers alike, dreaded by some, avoided by others, and feared by even the best of performers. Managers often dislike providing performance feedback to their employees, and employees don’t like receiving it. Who can blame them? When the process is focused on judging, rating, and criticizing, as it is traditionally, it can lose its purpose and become a negative experience for everyone involved.

The performance review process doesn’t need to be perceived this way. It can be a time of re-engaging and re-directing employees towards greater success in the next year and affirming your support for their performance and development, while still meeting your administrative needs (i.e. merit increases, performance documentation, etc.).

Changing the perceptions of the process starts with changing the experience. Here are a few suggestions for your managers to create a more positive performance review experience.

Prepare and be objective.

Throughout the year, it’s important to collect information about your employees, including their specific accomplishments, performance problems, progress in their development, and current skills. This information will help you form a more objective evaluation of your employee. For example, every time your employee does something well, goes to a training, develops a new skill, has a performance issue, or goes above and beyond their duties, log the behavior, result, and cause (if known) in a diary for future reference. This will make completing your employee’s performance review much easier and accurate. Nothing is more frustrating to an employee than a manager who doesn’t have all of his/her facts straight or evaluates them too subjectively.

Deemphasize ratings.

Ratings can serve a purpose in the performance review process, but the focus of a performance review discussion should not be where the employee fell on the Likert scale or how the employee ranks compared to other employees. Employees can often get caught up in how they were rated and miss the bigger picture of the conversation. The performance discussion can quickly become an argument about differing opinions on ratings and this isn’t productive for either party. Additionally, remember that a manager’s core purpose in the performance management process isn’t to judge, but rather coach to improve performance.

Uncover causes of high performance.

A fair performance review should uncover an employee’s areas of high performance throughout the year and the causes of why the employee performed well on those tasks or projects. By identifying an employee’s successes and reasons for their success, you can better understand the factors that lead an employee to perform well, and maximize these factors in the future by recreating conditions that facilitate great performance.

Focus on improvement.

Another core purpose of a performance review is to improve performance. This rarely happens just by criticizing the employee and telling them what they need to improve. In fact, you’ll often find that employees don’t know where to start to improve, so there needs to be additional work, help, coaching, and development to close the performance gap that exists and to enhance and broaden skills. The performance review discussion should explore ways to close those gaps and expand skill sets, and discuss barriers to employees’ success as well as how those can be bridged or alleviated.

Suggest ways employees can learn and develop.

Explore learning and training opportunities and look for ways to align development with employees’ preferred learning styles. For example, some employees respond better to reading material, attending workshops, mentoring, or on-the-job training. The key is to find and suggest effective ways that employees like to learn and use these to encourage skill development. Map out a few learning objectives to ensure that employees are held accountable for building their skills.

Set goals and objectives.

A final step that’s beneficial at the end of a performance review discussion is goal setting. Setting goals towards the end of the conversation helps close the conversation on a motivational note, and get employees excited about new objectives and projects. Goals can strengthen performance and improve skills, and can be helpful in motivating employees to work towards new objectives. Ideally, employees should have input into what these goals are, versus just being arbitrarily assigned objectives.

Close with support.

Finally, it’s important to end a performance review discussion supportively. Express confidence in the employee’s abilities and let them know that you are there to support their success throughout the next year as they work towards their goals. Emphasize what they are doing right, what they can improve upon, and how you’ll help them. Cite specific ways that you will do this, and if possible, create a written action plan. Then, be sure to deliver on those promises. Even when an employee has much to work on, having the support and confidence of their manager can make all the difference between a negative or positive reaction to the discussion and feeling motivated to change their behavior.

In the coming years, make it a goal to have each and every one of your employees leave their performance review discussion motivated and inspired. You may discover that these discussions aren’t so bad after all, and create a more engaged team that’s ready to deliver great results in your organization.

Performance Management Training Courses

Performance Management Training Courses

ERC offers a variety of Performance Management topics based on your needs.

Choose a Course to Get Started