Employee Engagement Strategies
In the age of remote and hybrid work, intentional employee engagement is more important now than ever before. In pre-pandemic times, team building was difficult enough – but since the start of 2020, it has become even more challenging to create a connected, healthy team, whether you’re working in person or remotely.
Effective leaders will employ team-building activities at work intentionally because research has shown that engaged and connected teams lead to greater productivity and business success. But what makes effective team building and how can you implement it into your organization or team?
Defining Employee Engagement
First, we need to understand what employee engagement is and how team building increases engagement. “Employee engagement refers to how invested people are in both their everyday work and the success of the business as a whole.” Engaged employees will have a positive emotional connection with and a sense of purpose in their jobs.
To ensure employees are engaged, leaders need to engage in team-building activities at work. The purpose of team building is to provide your employees with the skills, training, and resources your people need so they can flourish and work in harmony. You can do team building through one-time events and activities, but long-term, effective team building should also be supported by the culture and daily processes of your team.
Team Building Activities
To get the ball rolling on team building, you can start by planning a singular event or activity. A few great, intentional team-building activities are:
- Plan and host a social event for your employees. Socializing at a holiday party, summer barbeque, or casual dinner party is a great way for employees to begin to get to know you and each other as whole people, outside of work. In this kind of setting, people are more apt to open up and show their personalities.
- Do some team-building exercises. A team-building activity can be a great way to highlight team members’ strengths, ask team-building questions, or practice building new skills together. However, not all team-building activities are created equal! Be wary of activities that are based on competition because competitive exercises inevitably produce losers as well as winners, and may lead your team members to work against one another. Here’s a link to some fun and effective team-building exercises.
- Unite your team with a shared vision or goal. Set up a time to meet and dream together, and then spend time casting the vision for where the team is going and what the organizational goals are. Make it fun! Provide visuals, give team affirmations and bring high energy to the meeting. When your people feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves and united as a team, they will be more effective and more engaged with one another.
Cultivating a Team-Building Culture
Once you kick off your employee engagement with a team-building activity or two, you should begin implementing effective team building throughout the culture of your organization. Here are three strategies you can implement:
- Make trust in your employees a core value of the team. The key to building trust is in empowering employees to have autonomy. Instead of micromanaging how your employees work, allow them to self-manage projects, and work to allow for greater flexibility in how, where, and when your employees work. If your team knows you believe in their capability to do their work, and do it well, they will be more engaged and happier overall at work.
- Increase employee recognition efforts. Make it a priority to regularly provide encouragement, give shout-outs, and recognize the efforts of your team members. This is especially important for remote workers, who may feel disconnected or like their work efforts go unseen. Celebrate all of the victories and progress – big or small. It’s also helpful to encourage and develop avenues for peer-to-peer recognition as well. As a leader, you may not see or be able to call out every team member’s successes every day. But, with peer-to-peer recognition in place, team members will build rapport and community amongst themselves and more people will get positive call-outs, which will boost morale and engagement.
- Provide opportunities for growth and development. According to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace Report, Millennials and Gen-Z put a lot of importance on their opportunity to grow, learn, and develop at work. You can start creating opportunities for growth by really getting to know each employee’s strengths, talents, and aspirations and then matching them with roles and projects that will complement those things. Encouraging and providing resources for employees to continue learning and growing–through attending seminars, webinars, taking courses, or encouraging employees to earn certifications or a graduate degree–are ways you can increase employee engagement. Employees that are learning at your company and growing their skillsets will ultimately feel more purposeful, useful, and valued, and are more likely to stay at the company for longer.
Effective leaders can boost their business success by cultivating a connected and engaged team. While these ideas are a good start, it can still be difficult to implement team building into your organizational culture–especially in today’s rapidly changing work environments!
If you want to learn more or need some help with team building to boost your organization’s performance, check out the Team Building training that we offer! Our team-building coaching and training can help you create a more connected, high-performing, and engaged team. We can also help magnify the effectiveness of your leaders and managers as they learn how to better engage employees in the office or remotely.