Employers are constantly coming up with new ways to increase productivity and efficiency in the workplace. Methods to accomplish this usually involve elevating employee engagement using a variety of means, such as employee engagement activities. Employee engagement is the term assigned to the amount of energy that employees are devoting to their work on any given day. Simply put, the problem employers are addressing is that the less engaged employees are, the more distracted they become, resulting in decreased workflow and productivity throughout the day. So how do you incorporate employee engagement activities into your workforce in a way that will enhance your business? Let’s take a look.
Employment Engagement Activities: Health and Wellness
Employee engagement activities are all about empowering the individual to take ownership of his or her small portion of the company and his or her role in it, but sometimes that means empowering the employee to take control of his or her personal choices while at work. Why not start with losing weight – something that 60% of people already want to do?
Stock Healthy Items
What if part of the weekly coffee budget went to stocking a basket of fruit instead? Or you could make Monday lunches a share-the-health initiative where employees who sign up bring healthy lunches and then swap them.
Create a Stand-up Culture
It’s a traditional stereotype: the water-cooler conversation where employees are “slacking off,” presents an image of decreased productivity, but movement increases circulation and therefore brain power, increasing productivity.
Gym memberships and FitBit initiatives work as great motivators for office clusters to get up and get moving together.
Teach Employees How to Balance Work and Life
Remember that employees are more connected to work than ever due to improved mobile technology. A big part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle is learning to separate work from personal life, and protecting personal time from work time.
On-Site Exercise Programs
There’s a growing initiative to provide on-site exercise, including classes like Yoga and Pilates. If your company has the space in your building and the budget, using exercise as employee engagement activities is a great option.
Encourage Mental Health as Well as Physical Health
Productivity boosting begins with confident, rested employees. Mental-health promoting employee engagement activities can include banning emails for a day or blasting music on a Friday afternoon.
Employee Engagement Activities: A Culture of Transparency
Employee engagement activities that facilitate ownership and empowerment involve a lot of communications efforts, creating a culture of openness and honesty within the workplace from the top down.
Involve Employees in Decisions
Several proponents of employee engagement activities advocate involving employees in the business planning process. Wherever possible, allow employees to contribute to the decision-making process, thereby reinforcing their feeling of ownership within the company.
Share Financial Statements
Traditionally, sharing financial statements with employees has been viewed as unwise, but it’s just another step in involving employees in their own company. When the higher tiers of a corporate structure demonstrate a willingness to be transparent with their goals and challenges, they set the tone for a culture that will trickle down through the entirety of the company.
Elevate Responsibility, not Tasks
Adding more and more tasks to your workforce makes employees feel like workhorses, simply there for the services they provide. Tasks do not empower, but responsibility does. Giving employees headship of a project and emphasizing ownership in the company increases employee engagement.
Allow Lateral Movement in the Company
People thrive on variety, and change has a way of engaging the mental efforts of employees in a way nothing else does. Employee engagement activities that allow lateral movement, or the ability to do a different job for a time, can be just the mental boost some employees need.
Let Employees Trade Tasks
Sometimes job descriptions allow for some leeway, but this is easy to incorporate in your arsenal employee engagement activities. Allow employees to discuss what tasks they hate and give them the ability to trade or share the load if desired. Be flexible!
Let Employees Control Design
A boring cubicle can sure kill a mood. Structure employee engagement activities around office redesign, where a committee made up of employees can decide together on new paint, office décor, or ambiance. Giving employees a say in what art they stare at for 8 hours a day facilitates ownership.
Employee Engagement Activities: Play Together!
Finally, the last major cluster of employee engagement activities is really the most fun. This is where employers get to “play” with their workforce, and enhance team development by providing opportunities to, essentially, make “work” fun. Gone are the days when work was work and it wasn’t meant to be enjoyable, where the employee came in to suffer from 9 to 5 and went home to relax. Now, employers are finding that productivity – and profits – see major increases when a more relaxed culture of work is encouraged.
Rearranging workspaces as one of your employee engagement activities should facilitate a culture of openness at work. Structure appropriately to encourage conversations, nixing cubicles in favor of more open working space to generate creativity.
Employee engagement activities should never be used like a band-aid. Work incentives should be kept to minimal cost and high visibility. Cheap prizes with high perceived value like gift cards or tokens for special purchases are great for incentivizing that extra mile.
Incorporate Time Off
Employee engagement activities like Friday afternoon hangouts at a park or doing a bowling outing enhance fun and fellowship. Don’t balk at taking time out of work hours. If a two-hour bowling trip results in a six-hour boost in productivity, the return is actually greater than the cost.
Apply Creative Encouragement
Have employees contribute nice things they have to say about each other and do weekly “power showers,” with the contributions. Celebrate their birthdays and anniversaries. Show them you care.
Gamify the Workday
“Gamification” is new among employee engagement activities, but uses game mechanics to motivate participation. Bunchball is a relatively new company that is applying this initiative extremely well.
Hold a “Night of Crazy”
On a Thursday night, hold a four-hour evening of working like crazy. Everyone comes in, brings snacks, and hashes out high speed productivity with short breaks. Let employees come in late the next day or leave early, as they please, and you’ll make their weekend while they still get their full time hours in.
Employee engagement activities take on many forms and don’t stop with the ones mentioned above. Used wisely, employee engagement activities are one of the most valuable tools in an employer’s toolbox, and generate immense positive impact on the overall culture of the organization.
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