14 Best Virtual Employee Engagement Activities and Ideas
Employee engagement has dwindled since 2020. According to Gallup, only 20% of employees are engaged at work and the rest are actively or moderately disengaged. The study claims that actively disengaged employees cost $450 billion to $550 billion in lost productivity per year in the U.S. alone. Whether it’s due to a lack of development opportunities or wellbeing assistance at work, there are many reasons why employees feel less motivated and engaged at work. However, that doesn’t mean there’s no hope, as we’ve come up with numerous ways to increase employee engagement at your workplace, and some of these ideas don’t cost a dime!
What is employee engagement?
Employee engagement refers to a person’s commitment and involvement at work. It’s a term that expresses how committed individuals are to their jobs. For instance, engaged employees care about the performance of their company and understand how their work can positively impact the company whereas disengaged employees may focus solely on getting the bare minimum done and not perceive their efforts as being instrumental to their company’s success or failure.
How does employee engagement affect business performance?
Increased employee engagement, according to research, leads to more profitability and better service. Companies that have the highest level of employee engagement outperform their competitors. The enthusiasm and pride of employees when working for a particular company directly impact customer satisfaction. By investing in employee engagement, businesses are able to retain top talent, create a sense of belonging, and ultimately, drive organisational performance.
How can virtual employee engagement be improved?
There are no quick fixes when it comes to low engagement and efforts to address it need to be constant rather than a one-time fix. Whether it’s team-building activities, staff engagement exercises, a healthy workplace culture, diversity, or equality policies, there are multiple ways to enhance engagement. The most significant thing is to approach the problem in a meaningful way that leads to long-term gain.
There are a number of virtual employee engagement initiatives you can implement right now to see actual results. In this post, we’ll look at 16 employee engagement solutions that you can use as both short-term and long-term fixes to improve engagement.
Employee Engagement Ideas for Team Leaders
One of the many responsibilities of team leaders is to motivate their team members and help them reach their full potential. Though it requires time and patience, it’s always worth investing in your employees’ performance as it directly impacts your business. Here are some ideas to increase engagement within your team:
Focus on what your team members love
Paying attention to your employees’ passions demonstrates that you’re interested in learning more about them and don’t regard them solely as company assets. Inquire about their hobbies and passions, and develop a more personal relationship with them. If you’re a team manager, this is especially beneficial because it’s simpler to get to know your coworkers when you’re not dealing with hundreds of people all at once! If certain employees enjoy basketball, for example, why not organise a casual business team and meet together on a regular basis? Another option to boost engagement is to reward individual employees who reach a goal with something they’ll enjoy, such as a yoga session or a day at the spa, or a whiskey tasting class for a whiskey connoisseur!
Get rid of unnecessary meetings
Zoom fatigue appears to be here to stay, and its influence on employee engagement may be greater than you think. Daily meetings are great for keeping up with your coworkers’ accomplishments and catching up on gossip, but too many meetings per day can deplete morale and motivation. Employees stay behind a screen instead of getting anything interesting done or learning something new, and they frequently multi-task while participating in virtual meetings. Keep meetings to a bare minimum, but don’t forget to keep an eye on your teammates! There are several methods to efficiently manage a remote team, and eliminating insignificant meetings is undoubtedly one of them.
Praise your colleagues (and make it loud!)
Gratitude pays off like nothing else! Employee involvement doesn’t have to be prohibitively expensive. Harvard Business Review emphasises the value of recognising coworkers on a regular basis. Employees may have low morale or be having a bad day, which prevents them from functioning at their best. A real compliment is like a pat on the back, especially in remote offices! It’s critical to express gratitude and praise for your employees’ hard work. Employee appreciation gifts are also a terrific method to keep your employees happy and productive. Make your coworkers feel appreciated by simply mentioning them on Slack or during your weekly meetings! Nothing pays off like gratitude! Employee engagement doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
Set career goals
Setting career development goals for each employee is an essential part of keeping your team motivated and engaged. Prioritising staff development demonstrates that you value your employees’ contributions and want to see them flourish.Individual skill development is emphasised in career development plans, which increases talent and leads to a sense of self-actualisation. Employees must be shown that their employers care about them in exchange for their hard work. So make it a point to meet with your employees at least once every half-year to review their goals and progress.
Establish a check-in strategy
Regular check-ins assist in identifying concerns that can be fixed before they snowball into bigger ones. Employees who work remotely cherish their autonomy and dislike excessive supervision, but regular check-ins guarantee that everyone is on track and that the work is being done. It’s also a way to promote visibility and transparency at work, as employees learn about the processes and work that go into each employee’s role. Check-ins, whether they’re a daily meeting with your team or a one-on-one catch-up, can significantly increase motivation and engagement.
Invest in learning and development
Over the last few years, learning and development have received a lot of attention. Learning is a continuous process that leads to the development of specific abilities. Employers who provide an opportunity for employees to learn and improve have lower employee turnover. According to a study done by Udemy, over 75% of employees agree that learning and development improve engagement. If companies want to keep their workforce and improve their performance, corporate training and development should be a part of their culture.
Employee Engagement Activities for Hybrid Teams
When you’ve never met in person, it’s difficult to connect with remote colleagues. Interactions may appear forced to some, but virtual events can allow your employees to break up the monotony of remote work and get to know one another.
Virtual Murder Mysteries can be used as part of a happy hour or remote office party. The goal of these puzzle-solving games is to build teamwork and develop fresh problem-solving skills. To put it another way, it’s a delightful technique to make your employees feel like they belong and show that you care about their work-life balance.
Here are our top picks:
- Put your team’s wit and decision-making skills to the test with the Secret of Langston Fortune! Find out who killed Tobias Langston, the Langston family’s heir. This 90-minute online murder mystery emphasises the value of collaboration and creativity. This is a dynamic activity that will ensure that your team does not get bored.
- Inquest is a whodunnit that will bring a much-needed boost of energy to your team. Members of the team must take on the roles of a police archivist, coroner, and jurors, and investigate the many hidden aspects of a crime. This detective game is both intriguing and engaging, and it is sure to enhance employee motivation.
- Jury Duty– Another mystery, and another crime that can only be solved by your brilliant staff. A 105-minute event in which you are given the opportunity to question a live suspect and solve the case. Perfect for smaller teams of 8 to 20 where you get to know and talk to each other.
Mental Health Workshops
According to Mind Organisation, 60% of employees would be more engaged and driven if their company supported mental health. Unfortunately, many businesses do not place enough focus on the importance of mental health at work. Work is beneficial for coping with depression, but a poor work atmosphere can be harmful to your coworkers’ mental health. The global economy loses $1 trillion per year in productivity owing to depression and anxiety, according to WHO estimates. Companies can take a variety of steps to decrease mental health issues and foster a better workplace. Keeping your employees’ mental health a priority has a huge impact on their engagement.
Here are a few activities that can help create a healthy work-life balance and a better workplace:
Allyship Workshop: The allyship workshop focuses on fostering inclusion and diversity at work. It provides insight and information on inclusive language, and the history of sexual minorities which in turn, can help employees feel safer at work.
Breathing Workshop: Teach your employees a few breathwork techniques that will help them cultivate focus and calmness. Once they’ve learned a few techniques, they can put them to use whenever they feel overwhelmed at work.
Meditation Session: Known to relieve built-up tension, this meditation session will teach employees mindfulness techniques and help improve performance and mental health.
- Presentations on how to manage workplace stress
- Q&A with a psychologist
- Self-care kits
Creative Hour (aka knowledge swaps)
Your colleagues possess an abundance of knowledge. From random things such as their favourite TV shows to something more ‘work-related’ skills, like solving a Rubik’s cube in under a minute, hosting an exchange of ideas during casual conversations can make employees feel seen and heard. Because they are surrounded by people from many walks of life, coworkers can learn a lot from one another.
Here’s how you can host a knowledge exchange at work:
- To discuss ideas with your coworkers, use a presentation or a free online whiteboard. Encourage everyone to take part and share their newly acquired skills, ideas, and passions. Organise a weekly or biweekly meeting to talk about it.
- Create a classified board where anyone may post their skills, interests, or requests for lessons or assistance in their field of interest. It may be anything from coding to learning to play the ukulele.
- Allow your staff to take on the role of teachers! Allow them to share their knowledge and teach their classmates something new.
- Dedicate a Slack channel to fun facts of the day where employees can share fun educational tidbits.
David Burkus, author of Leading from Anywhere, suggests creating team rituals that are unique to your team. The sense of belonging to something exclusive will contribute to the formation of group identity and the development of trust. It can be a wristband or short ‘talks’ but make it yours and theirs!
Commemorate work anniversaries
Somewhere, there’s always a work anniversary! Celebrating your team’s work anniversary is free and helps them feel appreciated. Make a neat little graphic with a free tool like Canva to wish your team members a happy work anniversary; simply save your template and update it every time there’s a work anniversary! You can request that new employees add their first day of work to Google Calendar so that no one forgets! It will serve as a reminder to employees that their work is valuable and that their presence is valued!
Virtual parties can be anything from an online cooking class to a painting class. Remote team activities help boost employee productivity but also keep your team happier at work. Play a game, share a drink and celebrate together despite the distance allows employees to unwind and relax after work.
Some of our favourite things to include in our remote parties are:
- Hampers: Delivering unexpected appreciation presents to staff is one of our favourite methods to demonstrate our appreciation. Like this All I Want for Christmas 2-in-1 event, which provides tasty food to your staff and then follows with a Christmas-themed trivia game. The festive guffaws can already be heard!
- Virtual Trivias such as Team Quest where participants play six fun rounds of games such as Emoji Riddles or Face Mashup. This is a light-hearted trivia game that will help your team interact in all fun and a little bit of competition.
- Virtual Scavenger Hunts- Most people have probably tried real-life scavenger hunts as kids. Try an Italian Scavenger Hunt with your crew where you get to learn all things pasta, er we mean Italy. Discover the dark stories of the mafia and explore Italian waters for an epic scavenger hunt. Both educational and fun, employees get to learn some Italian words and discover the country together.
Coffee Break Sessions
From time to time every employee needs a bit more conversation and a little less action. If you’re working with a remote team, chances are that they’ll be on their own for most of the day, which can make them feel isolated. To establish a rapport with remote workers and detect indicators of isolation, communication is critical. You can send them snack hampers every now and then, or everyone can bring their own refreshments and have a little talk during online coffee breaks. Setting a regular meeting time and encouraging everyone to join is the best way to go. You can even use a lush background to create a more comfortable environment and get everyone chatting!
Online icebreakers are a staple of remote offices. They’re fun, light, and engaging and help employees feel connected. Icebreakers allow employees to chat, get to know each other, and build trust within the team. These short meaningful activities help to bridge communication gaps between employees working from home or in a hybrid model. Start with some light conversation before the start of any event and avoid being too formal. From hosted activities like trivia, and wine tasting to charades, or question of the week, you can find all you need to know about virtual icebreakers in our blog post!
Host a themed-week
Themed days don’t have to be limited to spirit weeks. Whether it’s for Halloween or a casual get-together, most people enjoy dressing up. While you won’t be organising a themed party per se (unless you want to), you can certainly liven up your remote workplace by having staff dress up as characters from their favourite movies, pop celebrities, rockstars, athletes, and more.
Pro tip: Host a movie night with your coworkers after work to bring the persona to life!
There are several factors that impede employee engagement. It could be due to a lack of personnel cohesion, mismanagement, or micromanagement; consequently, the root of the problem must be identified first. More importantly, employers should understand that no two employees are the same and every case should be treated individually. By paying attention to employees and identifying recurring problems, companies can integrate the right policies, strategies, and activities for their workers. Companies should find what works for them and adopt practices that fit into their culture. Encourage managers and team leaders to build trust within the team through early communication so that they can help employees when they feel less productive or disengaged. Team building activities and the ideas mentioned above will certainly help but you first need to recognise what your team members need to pick the right ones.
What are the benefits of employee engagement?
Numerous studies have shown that engaged employees tend to perform better than their peers. They show more dedication and put more effort into their work. Moreover, companies with higher engagement have a lower turnover of staff than the rest and since recruitment is costly, it’s best to keep staff hired for longer. Enhanced teamwork and improved customer satisfaction are two more of the many benefits of employee engagement.
How can I improve employee engagement when working with a remote team?
Implement some of the ideas and activities mentioned above in your workplace! Showing recognition to employees when they deserve it through simple praise or a note (random appreciation acts), understanding their needs, and building a strategic career plan for them are some key ways to boost engagement. Focus on appreciation programs, recognise the efforts of employees and keep an open-door policy to improve things!
Are there any virtual activities to boost employee engagement?
Yes! Since many companies have adopted a hybrid or remote approach to work, virtual activities have been vital in keeping employees engaged. From virtual wellbeing workshops to virtual parties like online Halloween parties or online cooking classes, there are plenty of options on Tagvenue to help promote employee engagement.
How can I motivate my remote employees?
Social interaction is often lacking in the remote context. Including employee appreciation giftsand hosting fun team-building events are also great ways to enhance motivation and engagement. Wellness and team-building activities are also vital for remote employees who lack social interaction. That being said, to keep up with your employees, it is essential to make recognition part of the work culture itself.
What are the best employee engagement activities?
Anything that appeals to your whole team. It’s hard to please everyone but with some trial and error, you can discover what your team enjoys. Well-being Workshops are definitely among the top activities that will directly impact your employees’ motivation level and well-being. Other options include seminars hosted by experts, departmental exchange programs, and Fun Team Building Activities.