When facing an employee engagement challenge you may feel like it’s a daunting unsolvable problem. When your team is is underperforming and disengaged you may be at a loss and unsure how to inspire them to be their best. Fortunately, as with all complex problems, you can tackle your employee engagement concerns with smaller actionable steps that manifest major improvements.
A great way to activate your employee’s engagement is through targeted engagement activities. Here are 5 activities to get you started:
Have a hacking party
There’s an interesting finding about people’s daily commutes – those who travel back forth between locations do not necessarily have the best route.
This little bit of research extends beyond the habits of commuters – it shows that people get into comfortable grooves that aren’t necessarily the best or the most efficient – they are simply how they’ve you usually done them.
Hackers, because of the nature of their pursuit, have to think differently. They have to think up creative solutions to circumvent normal processes. This is the sort of thinking you want your team to unleash.
To accomplish this, have a gathering where life-hack ideas are shared, and encourage your team to have a brainstorming session considering ways they can implement daily “hacks” in their routines.
The Reflected Best Self Exercise
The research in positive psychology has provided us with many valuable insights that leaders and managers can utilize. One particularly actionable insight is that ‘constructive’ criticism isn’t constructive at all, but rather disengages your team more and causes people to seek out different opinions until they receive positive affirmation.
You can utilize this bit of wisdom by leading your team in the Reflected Best Self Exercise. During this exercise a number of cards with positive character traits are randomly distributed to your team. Your team then gives the trait card to the person they believe demonstrates the trait. Finally, everyone shares their positive traits and your team offers stories about a time everyone demonstrated their traits.
The exercise leaves your whole team feeling good about their talents and eager to enact them more often.
The idea of “building” is a perhaps one of the most frequently used metaphors in business. But often this metaphor relates to something intangible or abstract – which is why it is important to offer your team the opportunity to physically build something together.
Putting your team into smaller groups and having them build things, like IKEA furniture or bicycles, is a perfect way to show them the objective benefits that arise from working together. You can even make the activity more interesting and turn it into a friendly competition. This encourages your groups to work together as quickly and as best they can.
Weekly Motivational Meetings
Usually, meetings are boring, and this is perhaps unavoidable from time to time. But the weekly motivational meeting, tapping into everyone’s intrinsic motivation, is intended to be something else entirely.
These meetings can be whatever you think will inspire and engage your team, but here’s an example from my personal experience:
Start with a timed minute of dancing with upbeat music then immediately go into a time of quiet reflection – writing down gratitudes, problems, and solutions. After a few minutes of contemplation, everyone should be paired with someone at random to discuss what they wrote down. Finally, the meeting should end with a few minutes of silent meditation.
The Visioning Exercise
At ProHabits we are fortunate enough to work with a number of progressive organizations and see all the great ideas they have. One activity that has stood out, coming from Scientel – a leading national Universal Integration firm, is a practice called the Visioning Exercise.
During this practice you visualize who you are – rather than simply what you do. You then write down your idea of yourself as you are in the present and your vision of your future self.
All the greatest business leaders of our time are also voracious readers. So, if you want to take a deep dive into the art and science of employee engagement, check out these books from our reading list:
Delivering Happiness by Jenn Lim
“Written by a consultant at Zappos!, Delivering Happiness is a culture book that discusses the way in which the Zappos! CEO created one of the greatest cultures to work for by developing a strategy around employee happiness and engagements. This book discusses the ways he grew his business while also taking a human approach to corporate life with his employees.”
The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles That Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor
“Throughout life, it seems as if we are constantly on the hunt for the next thing that will make us happier; whether it be a new job, a trip, losing that other five pounds, we consistently are looking for what’s next. Author Shawn Achor discusses his journey of studying, researching, and finally lecturing at Harvard University as he conducted one of the largest studies at Harvard and companies like KMPG to attempt to fix why we think about happiness the way we do.”
The Future of Happiness by Amy Blankson
“Amy Blankson has served as a powerful force within the realm of positive psychology after co-founding GoodThink, an organization dedicated to making individuals happy. Amy is also the only person to be named a “Person of Light” by two former presidents (Clinton and Bush), and continues her mission and purpose throughout this guide to balancing productivity and well-being in a modern and digital era.”