Innovation is the keyword today everywhere, in every field and it becomes a dire need especially in fields like human resources.
It’s really a competitive world out there and hiring and retaining capable employees have become harder than before.
Hence it has become imperative that HR departments do not just stick to interviewing and hiring but implement innovative ideas to engage employees so that the workplace is happy, inspiring, innovative and motivating which will not only help retain employees but also attract more fresh talent.
HR Activities for Employees in Workplace:
The following mentioned are few hr activities for employee engagement or activities to engage employees.
1. A Google example:
Google is no doubt the leader in many IT technologies but it is also considered as one of the best places to work with.
It came up with a unique plan for better engagement with employees called as the 20% Project.
It motivated employees to work on any pet projects that they might have in mind for which they could utilize 20% of their working hours. This idea gave a boost to employees’ morale and it also became a tool to attract new talent.
2. Direct communication:
This was a tool practiced by ABC Supply, a reputed roofing distribution company based in the US.
The then CEO of the company, Ken Hendricks believed in direct communication for which he set an hour aside daily to talk to managers to know their inputs and issues and he also made it a practice to throw parties for his employees every week where he could communicate with them informally.
This made the employees feel acknowledged and appreciated. He also kept yearbooks with photos and names of employees and goals of each office across his office locations.
3. The offer to leave:
This is by far one of the most innovative acts of any company. Zappos, an online shoe store boasts of a highly engaged employee team and no wonder that the company is also listed as one of the best places to work with.
Zappos has a foolproof hiring system that comprises telephone interviews, lengthy personal interviews and other detailed processes. This is not all. Once the candidates are selected, they have to attend informal events such as happy hours or lunch events to check how they mingle and mix with the company staff and culture.
The ones who pass through these are given an on-board training. At the end of the training process, these candidates get a strange offer – $3000 to leave.
Around 3% does take up the offer but who choose to stay, are the ones that actually understand the company’s vision and culture and they do have a long-term association with the company.
4. Motivating employees to be a part of the vision:
Every company has a vision and mission and it is important that employers share the vision so that employees too become stakeholders in the mission. That’s what Reebok tried and succeeded at.
Reebok shoes are meant for those who practise a healthy and athletic lifestyle. So, they set up a CrossFit Workout Center wherein employees were motivated to sweat it out.
It was found that the center not only helped employees shed their extra pounds but also made them see the importance of Reebok’s vision which in turn helped the employees engage in their duties more passionately. Thus Reebok in a simple and innovative way walked the talk.
5. A paid vacation with no work but only ‘me’ time:
A fun vacation can recharge batteries and make one fresh and more energetic, many studies and experts have reiterated this.
Even companies have started practising it and they say that this has been not just an innovative but also an effective step to maintain their efficiency and positivity of employees.
FullContact, a firm dealing with contact management gives its employees an allowance of $7500 to take a vacation. It is compulsory that they take the vacation once a year and also they have to completely disconnect from their work during the period.
The company discovered that this disconnect was proving to be fruitful for the company as well as employees who now took active steps to pre-pone work and share knowledge and returned rejuvenated to work.
6. Personalize relationships:
Though workplace is considered to be a formal place with formal relationships, it needn’t be so always.
Getting to know the employees, their hobbies, their liking and even their family can help companies establish a deeper contact with them. That’ what TPC or Technology Professional Corp attempted to.
The company gathers information about their employees, their lifestyle and families and not just that, the company pitches in if any of their families need any help. This is a way of rewarding employees and which in turn reinforces employees’ trust in the company.
7. Asking employees their worth:
Another innovative activity by TPC has been where they asked their employees to find the market value of their skills and accordingly quote an amount for their annual raise.
Such innovative steps actually help employees connect with their company and strengthen the relationship.
8. Allowing employees to create their own prosper plan:
This is as unique as it can get. Mertzger Associates, Inc came out with a unique ‘Live Long and Prosper Plan’ where the employees had to come up with ideas that will help them lead a healthy lifestyle.
Accordingly the company set up a fund and allotted money for physical activities, outdoor life, relaxation and education. If you thought this plan added to the cost, then think again.
The company’s retention rate increased and made the employees engage with the company more efficiently.
9. Creative ways to help employees:
It is not necessary that the company always has to spend money or resources to help the employees. Any creative idea that will help the employees break from the routine and make them more active are welcome.
For example, Eze Castle Software, a firm, took a kindergarten route to motivate its employees. Inspired by a kindergarten activity of giving ‘milk and cookie’ treat, the company too started giving a 20 minute break to employees to organize the office and also to communicate and interact with each other.
10. A post-it thank you:
Though emails are often sent to appreciate employees, another innovative way to appreciate employees is through post-it notes or just a small note in writing.
It not only sends across a personal message that the efforts are being acknowledged. It can be just a ‘thank you’ on a post-it note or ‘good’ or ‘well done’ written on the report.
11. Fun activities to cut a drab routine:
The daily routine can dampen the spirits of even highly motivated employees. So, there can be fun activities to just bring in little relief and spread cheer.
There can be themed days such as 60s look or a colour day or the company can arrange for a 20-minute fun break or there can be after-office get-togethers where the whole team can go for a dinner or coffee or bowling or indulge in any sports. This not only uplifts moods but also helps strengthen team spirit.
12. A power nap can rejuvenate:
It is an accepted fact that afternoons, especially after lunch, can be sleepy. If you find employees snoozing instead of working in a quiet afternoon, it is not their fault and it is not as if they are going to spend hours sleeping.
A nap room can come to your aid. Let the employees who feel tired and sleepy take a 10 or 20 minute nap. They will return to their work refreshed and may even sit little later to complete their work for the day.
13. Offer the employees the flexibility they need:
When the company bends a little to help their employees, the latter will turn 360 degrees in return. During occasions when there is a family crisis and the employee needs to be with his family, the company can offer telecommuting.
When the employees see that their organization is offering them a hand during an emergency, they will feel more connected to the company and will prove to be better and more loyal employees.
14. Mixing personal and professional goals:
More often than not, the personal goal and professional goals can be interlinked.
For example, if a sales person wishes to save money to buy a home or car, the company can motivate him to work on his sales strategies to boost sales, and then give him additional incentives for each target achieved.
Thus the employee is not only working for the benefit of the company, he is also striving to achieve his personal goals. This is an innovative idea that works benefiting each other.
15. Celebrations make workplace happier:
It is a common practice for companies to achieve professional milestones but at the same time, celebrating personal milestones too can go a long way in strengthening the faith and trust of employees.
Why not celebrate birthdays, anniversaries or even the day of completion of any work-related course an employee had taken up? A little celebration and small cake cutting can bring back the zing.
16. Charity and work can go hand in hand:
With CSR or Corporate Social Responsibility becoming a common practice, companies can engage their employees in causes they believe in.
Employees can give suggestions on which causes to take up and this can help a passionate involvement from their side.
17. Awards and rewards:
It is not necessary that all the awards have to be work related. Why not have fun rewards?
For example, there can be an award for the silliest tie or the most stylish dresser or even one for the funky hair style. These fun moments help in stress removal and keep the environment energetic, fostering employee engagement.
18. Ownership activities:
Why not have specific activities named after an employee?
More often than not, when it comes to work achievements, many feel they are not given their due credit.
When there are specific work targets named after employees, the success is also focused on them, which makes others too strive in to get their names included and this will definitely encourage them to take up new hr initiatives ideas and challenges.
19. Mentor interactions:
When there are mentors in the office itself to help an employee not just progress in their professional life but also overcome personal setbacks, the employees feel oneness with the company and they tend to develop a stronger bond of trust with the organization.
20. Weekend rejuvenation:
Even if Saturdays and Sundays are holidays, the company can take the employees on a monthly trip to any resort or spa or have Saturday parties with families or even organize a party in office to relax on Friday evenings. These hr fun activities at work make Mondays cheerful ones and not dull.
Employee engagement is not just necessary for ensuring high productivity but it also helps foster a good relationship between employees and employers.
Today, the emphasis is not just on business but also on interpersonal relations and it is necessary that employees feel relaxed and acknowledged at work so that they are motivated to put in their best everyday without falling to the trap of daily routine. These innovative human resource hr engagement activities keep the adrenaline going and in turn make workplace better and valuable.