Supercharge: 6 Employee Engagement Ideas

By David Hassell

It’s a fact of life: we get tired, worn out and sometimes bored. It’s time to reevaluate and recharge.

Think of all the energy you started the year with –has it slowly dissipated? Do you notice the same waning of employee engagement ideas for your team? Summer vacations are over, kids are back in school, projects and budgets are wrapping up and autumn sweeps us into shorter days.

If you are noticing any signs of listless detachment in either yourself or your team, try these six “energy hacks” to increase employee engagement, reinvigorate yourself, and sprint through this final quarter of the year with flying colors.

1. Pause and take a step back for self review

Yes, there are still a million things to do. Everyday. And there always will be. But now is the time to examine what and how you’re spending time through self review and reflection. Start by stopping. Just for a moment — trust us.

We’re big fans of reflection at 15Five — we think its a key function for anyone trying to accomplish anything. We start each year with ambitious goals, monumental resolutions and well-defined targets to hit.

But at some point, we get carried away and forget to look back. We believe reflection is a practice that should be adhered to on a weekly basis. That’s why we make it a point to ask qualitative feedback questions in weekly 15Fives.

Looking back helps us to look forward. Reflection is  really a gauge of where we’ve come and where we’re headed. Have the whole team try the following reflective brain dump and then solicit their feedback. It won’t take long:

  • WINS. Big or small, it doesn’t matter. These are our triumphs. Start with yesterday, then last week and retrace time until you get to the beginning of the year. You might be astounded by what you thought you forgot.

  • LESSONS. What have you learned? Recall the challenges you’ve faced. Think about your projects, relationships and personal endeavors. When were you stuck? How did you overcome it? Assign one word to represent each challenge and ensuing lesson for as far back as you can remember this year.

This practice of conducting a self review at work offers incredible perspective. I can almost guarantee that you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how you feel after reflecting on your year in the frame of wins and lessons. 

2. The competitive edge of employee engagement

Mix it up in the final quarter and aim for innovation through collaboration. Take the good ideas people have given you all year, look at the ones that have potential and send your team out on creatively solving a new problem, or coming up with some totally new ideas for how to approach a challenge.

With the right performance management strategy, you can make it wild, make it fun, and make it competitive. Ask them what they would do with a million dollar budget, for example; or ask them to come up with one idea if they had zero constraints. Come up with a creative award other than money, then give them a week and see what emerges. The most innovative idea wins –no matter how ridiculous it may seem or unrealistically achievable. The point is to provide incentives for employees, get the creative juices flowing, improve team engagement, and spark imagination in a realm where anything is possible.

3. Establish trust as a key employee performance metric

At the end of the day, trust equals loyalty. Loyal employees have a great deal more value and are generally more engaged. The best way to build trust and loyalty, and to increase employee engagement is through transparency. Give your employees insight into decision-making in order to make them feel important and part of the process.

Get involved in working on a local project, like landscaping a communal garden, or renovating an old building. Creating something of use to the community from scratch, will involve making collective decisions about how to tackle the problem and who to delegate tasks to. As well as gaining insight into how to manage a project, your team will have to rely on each other to get the job done, improving camaraderie and their team-building chops. The satisfaction gained at a job well done will also inspire everyone involved.

4. Make employee feedback fun!

Performance feedback should be consistent and dynamic.

Make some feedback questions funny:

If we had a mascot what would it be and why? Yes, unicorns are contenders.

Or ask a deeply thought-provoking question like, If you owned this company for one month, what would you first do and why?

Giving your team the freedom to live a month in your shoes will make them feel more valued and respected. And encouraging a creative environment where they can let their imaginations go wild may even churn out some inspirational ideas that end up moving your company in an unexpected direction.

5. Time for Learning and Development

This may sound like an expensive distraction, but it’s really a perk that employees crave. So sign your team up for affordable online courses! Give your team the permission, time, and perhaps even the funds to enroll in something they’ve always wanted to learn. Communicates the value and importance of  “always be learning and growing.”

Encouraging people to learn new professional skills and personally useful abilities that will make them happier people which translates into improving morale at work. Their learning doesn’t necessarily have to be online – hands-on courses for cooking, self-defense, or a musical instrument will have the same effect. What’s important is that you empower people to do something completely different than they are used to. This will expand people’s minds and allow them to be more effective in the workplace.

6. Focus on your customers

Make this one a team-wide workplace engagement effort, whether employees are customer facing or not. Everybody in the company can pool ideas on ways to showcase your most enthusiastic customers. They are the source of our jobs, and are the reason your company exists. Shift into a lens of gratitude and love up the people who love your product.

The team could take an hour out of the week to hand write hank you cards. Or generate ideas for creative, surprise gifts to send to a few of your VIPs. Take to social media and give your team uninhibited permission to tweet, like, and spread some authentic love to your customers.

Engaged employees are critical for maintaining a thriving business and creating a steady stream of satisfied customers. Sometimes all it takes are some simple employee engagement ideas that encourage a sense of responsibility or involve them more deeply in the running of the business. Over time self-reflect on your commitment to employee learning and development and the other engagement ideas in this post to support a thriving team that supports your customers.

David Hassell is the cofounder and CEO of 15Five, continuous performance management software that includes weekly check-ins, objectives (OKR) tracking, peer recognition, 1-on-1 meeting agendas, and reviews. David is a speaker and prolific writer and was named “The Most Connected Man You Don’t Know in Silicon Valley” by Forbes Magazine.

Image credit: simplebitsdan via photopin cc


Know the pulse of your team each week and improve employee engagement with 15Five.


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