31. Hire from the Inside First
For employees that are concerned with upward movement within an organization, there’s nothing more discouraging than working for a company that tends to hire from the outside only.
Outside hires are more common than most people would like to admit, especially among businesses that are attempting to save money by hiring cheap. This won’t do you any favors, and will only serve to cause your employees to feel further disengaged in their work.
Hiring from the inside comes along with a number of benefits, specifically for as a great employee engagement idea.
For one, the candidate will already have a strong handle on the ways in which your organization operates, not to mention the fact that there will already be working relationships with colleagues set in place.
But perhaps most importantly, hiring from within will generate excitement among your entire staff, raising levels of engagement and promoting a more positive work environment — two things every great manager should be focusing on.
32. Hold an Awards Night
Anyone who is familiar with The Office (BTW I love this show, I’m from PA and grew up about an hour from Scranton) …. anyway … if you seen the show you likely remember the episodes which involved “The Dundees,” the company’s very own awards ceremony.
It may seem like a goofy idea at face value, but there’s actually quite a bit to gain from holding an awards night, and it can be a great time for you and your staff to get together and celebrate a year’s worth of achievements.
The sky’s the limit in terms of how you can plan an awards night for your organization. You can do it in the comfort of your own office … but why not rent out a space and really make it a party?
Live music, catering, and anything else you can think of (themes come to mind) … will all help to make your awards ceremony a hit, and you can pull off a party like this without spending too much money if you plan things out ahead of time.
Just be sure you’re creative with the awards categories! Again, ask you’re employees about award categories and even let them vote on who should win awards. But remember to keep it in good fun.
33. Let Your Staff Determine Their Dress Code
Suit and tie? Khakis and a polo shirt? T-shirt and jeans? Hawaiian shirt day? How about whatever they feel most comfortable wearing?
Dress code can have a big impact on attitude, and it’s been debated time and time again over which code of dress is best for maintaining a sense of professionalism while also allowing employees to feel comfortable throughout the day.
Every office needs its own sense of culture, and the ways in which people dress can have a dramatic impact on the look and feel of your work environment. If you’re open to switching things up, you might want to allow your staff to determine what their code of dress should be.
When you’re already working with a team of respected professionals, there shouldn’t really be much of a concern over what one might wear to work.
For the most part, you should be able to trust that your employees will come to work looking good, regardless of what type of style they might embrace
Allowing your staff to come up with a reasonable dress code that everyone can be happy with is an excellent way to boost engagement levels.
34. Bring in Motivational Speakers Every Month / 3 Months
If you’ve ever seen a good motivational speaker work their magic, chances are you already know just how effective they can be at helping to improve employee engagement / inspiration / motivation / whatever. I absolutely love going to hear smart people talk, no matter what they are talking about.
Motivational speakers help to remind your employees just how vital a role they serve within their organization, and their positivity can often be exactly what the doctor ordered in terms of improving levels of engagement.
Not just any motivational speaker will do, however; it has to be the right fit.
Plan to have a different motivational speaker come in each month, and structure the visits in a way that will benefit your employees the most. In choosing an individual to come in and speak, it’s essential that you take the interests and culture of your staff into consideration. Do your homework. Ask for references. If your employees are into music, consider bringing in a professional musician as a speaker; sports fans will respond well to local athletes. The possibilities for tailoring your motivational speaker program to best fit your organization are many, and the more focused you can get, the better.
35. Have a Potluck Lunch on Thursday, or Friday
Throughout any busy work week, it’s common for employees to want to branch out and do their own thing for lunch.
While there’s nothing wrong with people getting a little solo time in during the afternoon, communal lunches can be a lot of fun, not to mention beneficial to employee engagement.
Holding a potluck lunch on Thursday (near the end of the work week) is a great way to get the team together and also helps everyone to save a bit of money in comparison to going out for lunch.
Potlucks only work when they’re structured and planned, so if you’re just now introducing this idea to your staff, be sure that everyone is well-aware of when and where the lunch will take place, as well as what everyone needs to bring.
The planning process is half the fun, as it allows staff members to come up with unique ways in which they can contribute to the party.
See how things go, and if it’s a good fit, you might want to have Thursday potlucks become a regular event.
36. Bring Your Employees Into the Hiring Process
Want to make your employees really feel like they’re an important part of your organization? There’s no better way to do so than to bring them right into the hiring process.
Having a staff member sit-in on an interview that you’re conducting comes along with a number of benefits.
For one, it makes them feel more engaged and appreciated. In addition, your employees’ input can be very helpful in ultimately leading you to make the right decision regarding a new hire, especially if they’ve been a part of the company for a long period of time.
As any interview process is typically awkward, it’s important that you let whoever sits in know that you’ll be doing the bulk of the actual interviewing. Just let them sit there and listen. Then when its over, ask them their thoughts on the candidate.
It’s fine for a staff member to ask a question or two, but too much can be overwhelming for the applicant. More important is asking your employee what they thought of the potential new hire after the interview is over, which is a great way to get a more well-rounded sense of whether or not the person might be a good fit.
37. Make Up Your Own Holiday and Throw a Party
Happy Logical Axiom Day!!
There’s never a bad excuse for throwing a party, so why not make one up?
If you’ve ever heard of the concept of “Christmas in July,” or “Halloween in April,” or an “80’s party” … you get the idea.
This serves as a great platform for throwing a fun party that will help people to separate themselves from the workday and have a great time with their colleagues, and it’s quite clear just how positive an effect this can have on levels of employee engagement within your organization.
The “Christmas in July” concept is a fun place to start when planning a themed “holiday” party, but there’s no reason why you can’t come up with your very own ideas for made-up holidays.
Try to align whatever you choose with the interests of your staff, and don’t forget to put a fair amount of effort into the planning process. Hell, throw some of that petty cash on the table.
After all, if you’re going to take the time to make up a fake holiday, you really need to nail down the details if you want the party to go well.
38. Take Your Staff to a Local Sporting Event
Just about every city or town has a number of local sports teams that play regularly, and tickets are usually inexpensive at the minor level.
One great way to improve levels of employee engagement at your company is to take everyone out to a local game once a month, or even buy a season pass for your company.
Many minor league teams will work with you in regards to pricing, and it’s difficult to beat the experience of taking the entire office out for a game. And if you contact the sports team ahead of time, maybe you’ll even get to meet some of the players. Take photos!
People can be finicky regarding which sports they’re interested in, so before setting out to make any major purchases (tickets or passes), be sure to at least ask everyone in detail about the team/sport they’d most like to go see.
It’s not always possible to make everyone happy, but you can at least come to find some common ground if you’re up-front and take everyone’s requests into consideration.
39. Allow Employees to Dictate Their Own Schedules
Scheduling can be a difficult part of the job for any manager. Or, it could be a nobrainer. You’re working M-F, 5 to 9 baby!
But the days where every team member can easily commit to a Monday through Friday, nine-to-five position are quickly fading away.
People are placing more focus on working remotely than ever before, and CEOs/managers are doing everything they can to accommodate the shift without losing too much control. It can be tricky to find the right amount of balance, but it’s more than worth working towards.
Instead of sticking to a rigid schedule that works for you but not everyone else in your company, allow your employees to dictate their own schedules. They should, of course, still end up putting in the same amount of time each week, but if you have the luxury of being able to remain flexible, how they structure those hours should be up to them. An employee who feels as if he is respected enough to make up his own mind about when to come into work will almost always remain fully engaged, as this creates a sense of trust that is difficult to come upon otherwise.
40. Get Creative with Engagement Prompts
The quickest way to gauge levels of employee engagement may be to simply give-out a survey to each and every individual in your office, but that’s not to say it’s the most effective. You can read more about surveys in my other blog post, Employee Engagement Survey Questions. Good or Bad?
One way that you can get a lot of mileage is to come up with a number of different prompts and exercises that you can utilize to gain a better understanding of how an employee feels about the organization they’re working for. The more creative you can be, the better.
A favorite way to get a sense of an employee’s level of engagement is to hand them a crayon and ask them to “draw the company” in their own unique way.
It’s not as simple as tracing the physical outlines of your office, but rather a way for employees to share the feelings they get when coming to work every day in an artistic manner. You might get a few blank stares with this one, but it’s a great exercise that can be especially helpful for onboarding new hires.