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Employee Engagement is one of the most critical aspects in a high performing team.
I’ve seen one too many managers believe that employee engagement is the sole responsibility of Human Resources.
Boy, are they in for a surprise!
On the contrary, Employee Engagement is everyone’s responsibility in the organization.
It is imperative that leadership take action to keep the team engaged because the cost of re-hire and on-boarding is so much more than building an engagement program.
Each team not only needs to be supportive of Human Resources’ efforts but also come up with their own ways to keep the team engaged.
And the center of that effort is with the manager.
It’s not an “added task”. It’s a key deliverable to achieve results. It is essential in running a team.
Here’s 7 mind-blowing stats on employee engagement:
Companies with engaged employees see 233% greater customer loyalty and a 26% greater annual increase in revenue. (Aberdeen)
92% of employees say showing empathy is an important way to advance employee retention. (Businessolver)
70% of employees say that motivation and morale would improve massively with managers saying thank you more. (Reward Gateway)
83% of employees with opportunities to take on new challenges say they’re more likely to stay with the organization. (ReportLinker)
Employees who use their strengths, skills, and abilities every day are six times more likely to be engaged at work, 8% more productive, and 15% less likely to leave their jobs. (Gallup)
Belief in senior leadership is the strongest engagement driver, with growth and development as the second. (Modern Survey)
The most popular methods to actively manage and drive employee engagement: drafting employee engagement surveys (55%), creating culture committees and events (29%), and offering employee resource groups (20%). (CultureIQ)
If this doesn’t blow your mind on why engagement is KEY to success, then I don’t know what will.
Remember that engagement is primarily the manager’s ownership.
Here are 31 Team Engagement ideas that will build a high performing team that are fully engaged and motivated to deliver results consistently.
In Office Activities
Conduct Regular 1:1’s
This is the number 1 team engagement activity and by far the most impact. Unfortunately, some managers tend to put this in the last of their list when it’s actually the most important task. This is an opportunity to connect with your team member and listen to them. Good leadership starts with connecting with your team and 1:1s is the best avenue to build that connection. This opens up communication channels and will build confidence from your team to talk to you on a regular basis in the long run.
Conduct Monthly Performance Team Review
I find that a once a month meeting about the team’s performance is a good way to wrap up the month and provide guidance for the coming month. This also is a good way to keep the team informed about key priorities as well as recognize top performers for the period.
Conduct an Appreciation month
This can be a slew of activities in the month. It could be an appreciation for front lines for the 1st week, appreciation for the supervisors for the 2nd week etc., 3rd week could be an a boss appreciation week and 4th week could be department appreciation. This will build a culture of appreciation and will improve engagement not just with your team but also the rest of the organization
Have Regular Recognition Events
Recognize top performers and most improved performers to show appreciation to their hard work and dedication. The key is do it consistently. I suggest giving emphasis on the most improved member mainly to drive a culture of progress. This will drive team engagement up and will look forward to the next recognition event. This will also build a highly motivated team in the long run.
Give Personal Inspirational Notes or Thank You Notes
Giving an actual hand-written personal note goes a long way. My 1st ever mentor – 14 years ago gave me a thank you note, and I have held on to that note to this day. I remember feeling awesome and extremely inspired. I use a personal notepad when writing notes to make it more impact. Check out these 2 sites that I use for mine – Paper Concierge and Paper Source
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Get to Know your Team's Interests
Getting to know your team’s interests apart from work builds relationships and will help you understand their motivations. Maybe one is crafter or loves joining marathons. Key is to understand their passion outside of work. It will help you understand what activities to plan in the future and their engagement towards it.
Team huddles are a great way to connect with your team on a regular basis. Conduct one daily or at least 2 times a week to start. Take advantage of this time to recognize top performers or most improved employees. This will make a difference in the team's morale and will instantly improve Team Engagement. Check this post for a quick guide.
I remember one of my managers before had this activity rolled out to his team. Every day when they do a huddle, 1 person will be responsible in discussing a quote they like. It could be about leadership, team building, mental health, time management, recognition etc. It was something that the team looked forward to and definitely kept the team engaged. Here's a curated images of leadership and motivational quotes you can use - Click Here.
One of the best practices I’ve observed with high performing teams is that they take the time to conduct team building sessions with their teams. It doesn’t have to be complicated. I recommend this book that I’ve used for years Quick Team-Building Activities for Busy Managers: 50 Exercises That Get Results in Just 15 Minutes . It’s quick and easy to follow. It provides notes on what you need per activity, so it helps with planning efficiently. Also, it has notes on how to process your team’s thoughts after the games. This is crucial so that they all come out with one understanding of the activity and everyone has the same learning.
The first 90 days of a person’s employment is a crucial time period. This is the period where the employee has a lot of uncertainty in their minds. Take advantage of this time and conduct sessions that will make the newbies feel secure and welcome. Talk to them about the growth that you’re seeing, the culture and how the company is a great place to work for. These topics will surely make them feel engaged and motivated.
Send out an inspiring quote every week. Pick a day - maybe do it on Wednesdays and call it Wisdom Wednesdays. You can automate this in your work email so you don't have to do it weekly. You can do a full 6 months worth - once a week in 2 hours. Check out these Leadership Quotes Images and just copy/paste in your email weekly.
During on-boarding of the newbies, have your tenured team members visit the class and welcome them. I have observed that the tenured members of the team feel more engaged when they are involved in welcoming the newbies. They can conduct team building activities or be in charge of the ice-breaker sessions throughout the Training. On the other hand, the newbies feel welcomed and form a bond with the tenured folks immediately helping them become engaged faster.
Assign one of your highly engaged team members to support the Training of the newbies
This will help in building relationships early on in your newbies’ tenure with the organization. Your team member will be a mentor to these trainees. The trainees will start to build a relationship with the team member and will feel more welcome joining the rest of the team on the floor. The daily interaction will help in building a highly engaged team from the get-go without too much effort.
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These are informal employee skip level sessions where your team gets to chat with you. Take advantage of this time by asking about feedback and getting new ideas from the team. This power move is also a great initiative to truly understand the issues that are not obvious in your team. It will help you act on the issues before they become a full on problem. It also gives a chance for your team to get to know you and build a meaningful relationship with you.
Create a Team Engagement Committee
This is a key aspect in creating a sustainable engagement structure for the team. Having a set of folks responsible for helping plan and execute the activities go a long way. Have the committee use OneNote to collaborate with each other and share notes. Building a Team Engagement Committee is not a walk in the park but the benefits of what the this team can achieve is worth the hours. It can help manage attrition and improve team engagement over time.
Get my 50 Team Engagement Activities Guide that will Transform your Team TODAY!
This PDF guide includes tried-and-tested team engagement activities that has proven to lower attrition and drastically improve Employee Retention.*
Create a Team Engagement Calendar
This is a list of activities that is calendared so that the team is aware of what’s coming and can prepare accordingly. Send out invites as placeholders so it’s in everyone’s calendars. This will help in making sure that the activities that your Team Engagement Committee are working on happens and will be supported. For starters, have 1 major activity every quarter. But make sure you have mini team building activities monthly to keep the engagement going.
Create activities in Valentine’s, Easter, St. Patrick’s day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Eid, depending on your team’s diverse backgrounds. I suggest meeting with the team first and decide which holidays you’d like to include in the holiday event. Be mindful of the different backgrounds in your team but keep in mind that this activity is to create engagement and not animosity. This will be a good break from the monotony at work and improve team engagement. Take it a notch and make it a family event so that the team can bring in their kids at work like on Halloween or on Christmas.
However you want to do this, maybe include this during the recognition events or in your daily team huddle, make sure that you do it consistently. This is a nice way to start getting your team engaged because it means you care enough to know about their birthdays and celebrate it with the team.
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These are days where an event or activity revolves around a theme. This is not just the Halloween event. It can be done any time of the year. Some suggestions include: Pajama day, Ugly Christmas Sweater Day, Favorite Anime or Superhero etc. This is a great monotony breaker in the office. If your team is remote, this is a fun way to keep the team engaged even if they are not in the same place.
This can be a contest when you do theme days. My team did a “Flores-De-Mayo” (Festival of Flowers) event in the past and they transformed their stations to colorful works of art. Everyone had a great time in the activity – planning the design, cutting the paper flowers and decorating their workstations. This activity brought out the creativity, collaboration and project management skills of the team. Allow for time to ensure the team has enough time to plan, prepare and execute. This is one of my favorite team engagement activities and all the workstations are definitely Instagram-able.
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Rotate the Host of the Team Engagement Activities between the Team Members
Hosting an engagement activity is a mini project. You must plan, coordinate, send communication out and prepare everything that needs to be done to make the activity successful. When you rotate the host, it will give an opportunity for the rest of your team to project manage the activity and improve their organization and communication skills.
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Use this activity as a creative outlet of the team. This will help them de-stress and get creative with their peers. This will help in their mental health and well-being as well.
Having a healthy lifestyle need not be done by yourself. Encourage your team to join the activity to improve their health. One the best ones I've witnessed is when a team member lost 50 pounds in 3 months! Pitch in 20 USD per person so that it becomes the pot money for the winner. You'll be surprised how many will join in on the fun.
Having a team shirt is a good way to build loyalty to the team and will make the team feel that they belong to the group. Have a contest on the design and the winner will be the official team shirt design. This is another way to bring out the team's creativity and have fun.
Out of Office Activities
This is one of the best activities to have outside of the office. Have your team members bring their family to have games and chill with the rest of the team. This need not be complicated. The point is to meet the people that matter most to your team and thank them for sharing their loved one’s time and energy to perform at work. Be genuine in thanking the family or loved one that make your team member show up for work every day. This will go a long way in building a relationship with your team but also with the family members that support your team be great at what they do.
Pick a place where you and your team can volunteer together and organize 1 Saturday for this activity. This will build camaraderie within the team and will help build a socially aware team. In my previous team, we had so much fun that we made it a quarterly activity that all of us took turns to host. It was fulfilling and the team bonded quickly.
Tips on Getting Started in Improving your Team's Engagement
Before rolling out activities, establish a goal for yourself. Your activities will help support your overall goal to keep your efforts aligned.
Start with activities that you can start to implement soon. Remember that the team will gravitate towards your direction.
Pace the activities as you plan through your engagement calendar. If the team can only accommodate once a month, then start with once a month activities first. You can always revise the pacing after you launch activities.
Communicate with your team before you start to plan for activities.
Set the expectations with your team on what you aim to accomplish and where they can help.
Ask for recommendations from your team on what activities to prioritize.
Create a survey every after a team activity event. This will help give you feedback that you can use for the next team activity
Be consistent. If the activity is once a month, it must happen every month. Do not miss or else it will lose its relevance.
Have fun with your team.
As you can see, most of the activities in building a highly engaged team starts in the office. There are so many activities you can do before arranging an out of office activity.
If the team is not engaged, it is not only costly to the company, but it is also a source of frustration in the office thereby affecting the overall working environment. Soon, attrition will come. Don't let this happen without giving a genuine effort to build an engaged team.
A team leader’s success is gauged on how the team is not only able to deliver results but also on how engaged the team is in achieving results.
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If the team feels burdened to achieve goals, the leader needs to investigate the problem and often, it’s the lack of engagement that is the root cause.
Creating a team activity is a lot of work but the work it takes to replace a person, train and then managing performance is costlier than putting the effort to conducting a fun activity.
Make significant efforts to start with rolling out team engagement activities. Not only will it improve the morale of your team, it will also create a culture of appreciation and will fuel the team’s motivation to consistently perform and exceed expectations.
Want to get more ideas? Let me send you this curated list that has helped over 1,000 managers in the last year - 50 activities to improve team engagement with your team today.
If you are ready to take your team engagement's structure to the next level, then let me show you how.
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About Daisy Casio
Daisy is the creator of ChampLeaders. She has a husband, a toddler, a passion for coffee, travel and love for learning something new everyday. She writes about leadership, motivation, career tips and many more. Daisy hopes to share her mantra on being positive and living your best self now.