Tips for better employee engagement with events

Employee engagement — two words on the mind of every employer at the moment. A happy and engaged staff produces better results and makes for more loyal employees. In the modern era of constant connectedness and mobile offices, it’s becoming harder to find the point where work ends and staff personal lives begin. With the work/life balance of Australians under threat, it’s become increasingly important for employers to play a role in rewarding hard work and sacrifices in creative and satisfying ways.

According to 2015 data from Gallup, Australia is experiencing an employee engagement crisis, with less than 24 per cent of workers feeling engaged by their job. That’s a huge amount of productivity lost every year!

Holding events and holding events staff want to attend can be a great way to achieve this. We have some great tips to keep in mind when running recreational and team-building events your employees will want to attend, and will get the most out of.

Don’t be exclusionary

Rock climbing might be your personal passion — but there’s a good chance there’s a member of the team who is perhaps not as physically able as the others, so it’s best to avoid activities that exclude team members based on things that are out of their control.

If you’re having an after hours event and are choosing to serve some alcoholic drinks, don’t forget to provide some alternative options. Australia’s attitude towards drinking at every occasion is shifting. Rates of alcohol consumption in Australia are the lowest in 50 years and globally there is a trend showing a decline in alcohol consumption among people in their 20s.

It’s impossible to please everyone’s every last desire, but doing your best to be as inclusive as possible goes a long way to showing your employees you care about them and their needs.

Holding a meeting with a social activity at the end is not “team building”

It tends to feel a bit like a ruse to get employees to come along to another meeting (let’s face it, we go to enough of those) and it won’t feel like a reward. Make an occasion of the event, so it feels truly social!

If you need to include some official business as a part of the activity, such as making an important company announcement, be sure to do this at the beginning of the activity and get the “formalities” out of the way, or risk a cloud hanging over your event and your employees not really being present, rather than wondering what might be going on that they’re not being let in on.

Make it a tradition

Events don’t have to be big and flashy to make their mark. You might look at starting a weekly breakfast catch up for staff where you provide a healthy start to the day, and an opportunity to catch up with workmates too. Make it clear that it doesn’t have to be work related. It might just be a casual chat about what everyone did on the weekend.

Friday can be a great day to get staff together for a lunch to wind down from the working week. Whether you dine out or order in, time away from their screen and connecting with their work mates in a casual setting is a simple but invaluable way to keep them motivated.

Do it for a good cause

Helping other people feels good, and bringing a charity or not for profit into your event is a great way to achieve that. Whether it’s a charity auction at a large company dinner, or a small team activity helping the less fortunate, an event that helps others will lead to good vibes all around. Ideas for workplace charitable events include entering your team in a fun run, providing staff with a day for volunteering with a local organisation, or hosting a fundraising day in the office such as Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea or RSCPA Cupcake Day.

When planning off-site events for employee engagement, don’t forget to notify your clients that the office will be closed or arrange for another team to help cover the phones. There’s nothing worse than having to leave your hardest working staff behind because they’re too swamped with work to attend the festivities. Remember that the purpose of the event is to give staff a break from the daily grind!

Laura Huddle, Head of Marketing, Eventbrite Australia

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