Many organizations think of “employee engagement” as simply the latest buzzword in HR practices. However, employee engagement strategies, especially employee-centered events, can boost employee morale, productivity, and commitment to the organization.
There are many types of events that companies sponsor, such as having “volunteer work days” where groups of employees are given a day off to volunteer at non-profit organizations to paint, build, plant gardens, etc. A volunteer work day is an opportunity for your organization to invest in the community,
and it brings a sense of organizational pride to the employees who participate. People enjoy being part of a bigger picture and making a difference in their community, and they appreciate that their company encourages them to be good regional stewards. Not only do these efforts supply much needed assistance for non-profit agencies, but they also translate into increased employee satisfaction, a more cohesive work place, and a better work experience when the employees return.
Some organizations offer events that include all employees. For instance, the Developmental Disabilities Resource Board of St. Charles County hosts an annual family picnic. On a Friday evening each year, the employees and their families meet at a local park to barbecue and have fun. The barbecues always take place at a different park, which offers a playground that the research board helped develop, where children of all ability levels can play together. There is renewed sense of the board’s mission at the picnic. You can hear employees say, “Everyone at the DDRB helped build this!” In addition, people find things that they have in common and use those commonalities as the basis for positive communication in the future.
“Social events, like our picnic—in addition to being really fun—reduce staff stress and let employees communicate with one another in a way that is not possible during work hours,” says Peg Capo, Executive Director. “This fosters a sense of community within the organization.”
The increased camaraderie that develops during employee events does not end when the activity is over. Employees enjoy sharing pictures and stories for weeks to come. Employees are more engaged with one another and with the goals of the organization.
Another organization, the Center for Autism Education, has a field day just before school starts.
“Our director organizes different teams to be grouped together and rotates those groups around activities,” says Beth Gutzler, the center’s development and communications coordinator. “The groups are not based on job duties, such as teachers, behavioral assistants, or staff who normally work together, so you really get to meet new people.”
Events like these let employees see work through another employee’s eyes and allow all employees to refocus on the mission, goals, and core values of the company.
Looking for other events that help to foster a stronger sense employee engagement? Why not try a team building retreat or even an internal employee mentoring program? Any activity you choose to incorporate into your work routine will pay off with increased morale and employee engagement, as well as heightened interaction and productivity.