A group writing a song to help boost employee engagement

Now’s the time to integrate some good employee engagement activities into your corporate life. As we’ve come out of the pandemic, engagement is down everywhere. This is a problem you can’t afford to ignore. 

According to Gallup, from 2020 through 2022, there’s been an ongoing employee engagement slump. With the pandemic, the great resignation and the uptick in work from home/hybrid models, it is concerning. 

So if you’re looking around your office or zoom screen feeling worried about your workforce, you’re not alone. This problem is not going away anytime soon. Workers expectations have changed since before the pandemic. You have to create a plan to help everyone reconnect, to build feelings of belonging and motivation.

Why is employee engagement important?

Forbes defines employee engagement as “the level of commitment, passion, and loyalty a worker has toward their work and company.” Engaged employees work hard and work together. They know how to work towards the larger mission. They are passionate about their own work and the work that their company does. 

The numbers don’t lie. Years of studies have shown that engaged employees are markedly more productive, show up for work more often and are more likely to stay at the same workplace longer. Engaged employees are more loyal to employers and to each other. They feel safe enough to share new ideas and push the envelope to create bigger and bolder successes.

High employee engagement also equals high employee retention. In a time when finding and keeping good employees seems impossible, engagement is everything. Investing in employee engagement activities is truly a no brainer when you consider the powerful ROI. Less attrition, more profits, and a better work culture overall – seems like an easy sell to me. 

The key elements of employee engagement activities

When you’re choosing an activity to boost employee engagement, it’s important to look for some key elements to include. Choose an activity that incorporates communication, collaboration and creativity.

1. Communication – When considering a potential program ask yourself the following: Will my employees have the chance to communicate, both with each other and with the group as a whole? Will each person present have a chance to use their voice and share their ideas? Communication creates connection and connection builds engagement.

2. Collaboration – Will your employees be able to collaborate on some sort of project or work together toward a common goal during the chosen activity? Collaborating and working toward a common goal will foster a sense of connection to your overall mission.

3. Creativity – Will the activity give your team members a chance to be creative in some way? Working those creativity muscles will get your team fired up to problem solve faster and more effectively in their work environment. Being able to think on your feet is an important skill in any work environment. Creative challenges help us think on our feet and problem solve in the moment. And creativity is fun. And fun is engaging!

5 Activities to get your team engaged

Here’s are five ways to bring your workforce together and boost engagement. 

1. Pet Pageant

If your team is a little bit shy, a pet pageant is a great place to start building engagement in an easy, low stakes way. To create a pet pageant, all you need to do is place a large cork-board in an easily accessible area of the office. Each employee brings in a photo of his or her pet, along with an index card with a description of the pet to pin up next to it. Make sure everyone writes their name on the index card as well, so other team members can identify who’s pet they are looking at. 

Once everyone has a chance to put their pet up on the board along with a story or detail, give everyone the chance to vote on their favorites. Make sure to include several categories so there can be lots of winners (i.e. – cutest, funniest, best smile, best hairdo, best story, etc). Have a pet pageant party for the office where the winners are announced. You might even have the party outdoors so that your team can bring in their pets to enjoy the party. People will bond over pets, building a sense of belonging for all.

2. Team Building Through Song

I’m a bit biased here, but after over a decade leading groups through my company’s Team Building Through Song® program, I‘ve seen the engagement super power of this program time and again.

Music brings people together. Collaboration = engagement, plain and simple. Led by award winning songwriters, you’ll work together as you tell your story through song. Songs can be about mission, history, goals, what differentiates your organization and more. You’ll feel the synergy that comes from making and performing music as a unit. Think of how engaged a great band or orchestra is. You’ll experience that same feeling during this program. 

3. Cook Something Up

Cooking is something we all have in common. So it’s not a stretch to think that you’ll bond over food. In this program, you’ll have a presentation by a professional chef facilitator and then you’ll break into teams. Each team will be given several ingredients that must go into their dish. The teams must collaborate and communicate to create the most delicious dish possible. A timer is set, and it’s off to the culinary races. 

Once the clock runs out, a panel of judges give out awards for best dishes. After the competition is over, you’ll have your own dinner party. What could be more engaging than that? And cooking will bring out everyone’s creative side.

Do a web search for cooking events. It should be easy to find a provider in your area. 

4. Shout-Out Boxes 

Assign each of your employees a co-worker to make a “shout-out box” for. You can make this activity creative by providing craft items like stickers, glitter, markers and paint. This is a great opportunity to let your inner child out to play. Add music and snacks to make the atmosphere festive and playful.

Once the boxes are finished, display them in an accessible area. Encourage everyone to leave each other anonymous notes of kindness in each shout-out box. Your team can acknowledge each other for a job well done, or even just say something as simple as “thanks for being kind today.”

Make sure to bring up the boxes at meetings to keep the note making ongoing.

5. Community Service Project

Getting involved in the community is a great way to create a sense of buy-in and engagement for your whole team. Plan a day to work with Habitat for Humanity to build houses or collaborate with a local school to plant a garden.

Ask each of your employees for suggestions on a community service project. Give everyone a chance to vote to pick the favorite project. You’ll get out in the community and create something beautiful together. This activity will build connections within your team and with your surrounding community.

As you set out on your quest to find some worthwhile employee engagement activities you now have some fun and productive choices to consider. Whether you choose a short activity in your office or bring in a professional facilitator, your employees will thank you for the chance to build genuine connection and community in the workplace.

About Billy Kirsch

Billy is a Grammy & Emmy nominated, CMA & ACM award winning songwriter with numerous Top 10 hits to his credit. His team building programs and keynote speaking presentations help people tap into their creative abilities to become more innovative and engaged in their work. Clients include Fortune 100 companies and organizations throughout the world.