I have a two-part assignment for you:
- Decide how many special, engagement-boosting activities you would like to organize in 2018, and
- Put them on the calendar…in “ink.”
By “special, engagement-boosting activities” I’m talking about the events you treat your team to that are fun or encourage either professional or personal growth. These are the things that make your company special. They are the activities employees will boast about on their social media accounts.
I think most businesses are sold on the importance of these events, but many get so bogged down in the regular planning required to get the day-to-day work done that they don’t invest sufficient time in these morale-boosting activities.
Therefore, decide how many you can afford to hold and then put them on the company calendar.
A few ideas may come to mind immediately. Perhaps you’ve done this before and you have a sense for the kinds of activities your team enjoys the most. If you have some good ideas, schedule them. You can also get volunteers to do some planning or ask employees for suggestions.
To prime the pump, here are some ideas that I believe will build loyalty and enthusiasm for your business:
Volunteer work. Send out teams to work at some of your favorite nonprofit community organizations. This gives people a greater sense of meaning and folks who don’t normally work together can get to know one another.
Games. Have a game night or conduct an ongoing tournament of some kind. I heard about one organization that had a Connect Four tournament. Games were played between individuals during lunch or breaks and then everyone got together to witness the championship match of the tournament. Maybe you could do something like this in parallel with March Madness.
Take me out to the ball game. Take your crew to a local professional sporting event. Businesses use these to entertain clients, but in the long run, you’ll may get better bang for your buck by treating your team members.
Spa day. I’m hearing about more and more companies bringing in a masseuse to squeeze the stress out of employees. Sounds like a good idea to me.
Health and wellness counseling. Exercise and nutrition coaches are the rage today. Having a more healthy team delivers many benefits. First, your employees and their families benefit from improved health. Next, you tend to suffer fewer sick days. Finally, more fit and alert employees turn out better work. Consider adding a gym membership or discount to your benefits package.
Company picnic. This is a traditional way to boost employee morale and engagement. However, if you’ve gotten into a rut, do something different this year: change locations or splurge on the catering.
Create office themed days or weeks. Halloween is the model here, but don’t be restricted to that old stalwart. Maybe you could have a bakeoff week where the expert bakers on your team bring in samples of their best creations. Check out a National Day Calendar for some inspiration – some of the special pet days might give you some ideas.
DIY TED Talks. Find team members who have special knowledge and an enthusiasm for sharing it, then get people together for a short presentation. The topics can be business related, but perhaps someone would love to share knowledge or experience that goes outside of your immediate subject area. That would be fine too!
Bring in a well-known speaker. I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to a wide variety of companies and I know there are many others who give these kinds of talks. I will also work with companies to develop programs that address specific themes that are important to their business plan or employees. An infusion of fresh ideas from outside can really give your team a boost. (By the way, if you’d like to explore the idea of bringing me to your company, call us at 866-227-8684 ext. 11 or fill out the contact form on this page.)
Recognition awards. Take time to recognize achievements, both within your company and outside of your company. I know a woman who has a nationally ranked pickle ball player in her organization. She loves to hear about this athlete’s wins on the tournament circuit.
I’ve mentioned some discrete morale or engagement building activities. However, don’t overlook ongoing initiatives, especially funding and release time for professional and even personal development training or courses.