The science of engaging employees keeps evolving, but it can sometimes be challenging to keep reinventing and coming up with fun employee engagement ideas from time to time. These activities and ideas need to be dynamic and suited to the needs and values of the organisation. If executed properly, they can motivate your team, instil a sense of camaraderie, and help you retain talent – all of which are essential for creating a positive work culture.

While employee workplace engagement has always been a priority for HR managers, things like COVID-19 and the Great Resignation have brought it to the forefront. A high attrition rate adds to the cost of operation, and so leaders are looking for ways to strengthen their companies on an internal level. That being said, your ideas for employee engagement activities for 2022 don’t need to be serious – they can be fun and creative.

We have compiled a small list of employee engagement ideas that can be implemented in a post-pandemic workplace.

1. Improv comedy/crowd-work session

Hire a comedian to conduct a fun improv session with your team members. The comedian can start with a crowd work segment that includes all members of your team. Once the environment has lightened up, he/she can move on to improv activities that focus on your team working together towards a common objective. For e.g. – “Yes, and…” is a fun trust building exercise where the team helps each other complete a story. “Word at a time” is another storytelling activity where the team has to work together.

These activities can be conducted virtually with ease as well.

2. Friendly workplace competitions

Motivate your team with some work-related competitions that promote engagement. Have an incentive in place to pique their interest. Set ground rules to ensure the environment stays competitive but friendly. Include tasks that strengthen relationships and improve communication amongst teammates. For e.g. - Give each team a work goal, and the team that meets it first, gets to leave early on a given day.

3. Laser-tag/paintball

Let your teammates compete in a game of laser tag or paintball, whichever they prefer. Alternatively, you can arrange a scavenger/treasure hunt. Make cross-departmental teams to open up channels of communication and improve teamwork.  Arrange a trophy/voucher for the winners. If your team members are working remotely, they can play a game like Skribbl or Cards against Humanity with the same objectives.

4. Fun lunches or snacks

Breaking bread together enables people to bond, to share and receive feedback and suggestions, and to spend some time with higher management or cross-functional team members.

You can add a twist to this food-based fun employee engagement idea by getting an ice cream truck to swing by your office during lunch hours or by arranging a potluck party once a month. Team members from diverse backgrounds will share food and learn more about other cultures. Another good idea is to fill the office kitchen with healthy snacks for your employees to consume during breaks.

In a virtual scenario, you can gift food baskets to your employees and invite them to join in a casual lunch meeting over Zoom or Hangouts.

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5. Cooking/Mixology Class

Based on company values and team preference, you can host a cooking or mixology class where your employees learn to bake a cake or mix their favourite cocktail. Add the WOW factor by hiring a celebrity chef or bartender. Let team members indulge in tasting sessions and you can have a small competition at the end of the class where they hone their skills.

6. Go Creative

Take some time out for creative activities like painting, dance, music, pottery every once in a while. Such activities can be held indoors or out in nature. You can also take your team on a museum tour, to a concert or a dance recital. These outings can be an interesting break from work.

7. Wellness Retreat

Take your team on a holiday that promotes their mental and physical health. Choose a picturesque location that provides a break from city life. Include activities like yoga, meditation, or a spa treatment. Partner with a wellness brand that specialises in arranging such trips. In case of budget constraints or travel restrictions, you can host wellness sessions on-site/over virtual space as well.

8. Keep it Casual

Let your employees choose what they want to wear – as long as it’s appropriate for a work environment. Shun the uptight formals and opt for a relaxed casual or smart casual dress code. Use the same logic when it applies to work culture: adopt a progressive perspective that focuses on results while keeping the environment easy-going.

9. Watercooler Sessions

Have daily informal check-ins, similar to watercooler conversations that would happen at the workplace. Open up the forum for collaborative brainstorming on various ideas and use this time to understand what could be done to improve employee wellbeing. These sessions should be natural and can be treated as a meet and greet with no official connotation. Encourage team members to share jokes or amusing stories. Participation needs to be voluntary.

10. Celebrate special occasions

Observe employees’ birthdays and anniversaries. When your team meets their operational targets, arrange a small party for them. Arrange a grand celebration on a quarterly or yearly basis to celebrate the accomplishments of your team and reward the star performers. After all, many people leave their organisations because of a lack of recognition.

Lastly, talk to your team and ascertain the activities they would like to indulge in. Don’t push anyone out of their comfort zone. Employee engagement is a process that needs to be seamless and the activities shouldn’t become a burden for the participants.