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30 Innovative and Fun Employee Engagement Ideas

Engaged employees contribute to the success of any organization. Here are some great employee engagement ideas for you to try. They’re free and fun.
Written by: Penny Swift
innovative and fun employee engagement ideas blog post
Published: March 26, 2024
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In today’s competitive business environment, successful companies recognize that when they engage employees, they can improve productivity and overall team performance. Engaged employees will also stay with companies for longer periods of time. 

In January 2023, Jim Harter, Gallup’s chief scientist of Workplace Management and Wellbeing, wrote that U.S. employee engagement needed a rebound in 2023. He raised the alarm that for the first time in a decade, employee engagement had declined. This decline, according to Gallup’s quarterly surveys, he said had started in late 2021.  

In January 2024, he wrote that while the percentage of engaged employees rose slightly, employee engagement stagnated for the second half of 2023. Key statistics from Gallup show that:

  • 33% of employees were engaged in 2023
  • Disengaged employees cost the U.S. economy about $1.9 trillion in lost productivity
  • In 2023, the percentage of actively disengaged employees declined to 16%

“Employees still feel more detached from — and less satisfied with — their organizations and are less likely to connect to the companies’ mission and purpose or to feel someone cares about them as a person.”

Jim Harter

As Jim Harter says, “The most fundamental engagement element is knowing what is expected of you.” So, it’s not surprising that the vulnerability caused by unclear expectations is particularly severe among fully remote and hybrid employees. 

By identifying effective and innovative employee engagement ideas, you not only unlock a pathway to a more engaged workforce but also establish a proven strategy for propelling your company’s overall success.

This comprehensive guide provides a broad range of more than 30 employee engagement ideas to keep your employees motivated, dedicated, and invested in their jobs and the company as a whole. From inexpensive to onsite and virtual, it includes suggestions that cater to various company sizes, cultures, and budgets. Make our ideas your own. 

Why is Employee Engagement Important?

Employee engagement isn’t just a buzzword, it’s the backbone of a productive, innovative, and fulfilling workplace. When team members are engaged, they bring their best selves to work, driving the company forward with enthusiasm and creativity. When employees are engaged, they are more likely to stay with a company, reducing turnover, and fostering a stronger sense of loyalty.

The power of employee engagement lies in its direct impact on a company’s bottom line. 

Gallup research shows that highly engaged teams show 23% greater profitability. This is because engaged employees are more productive, have higher job satisfaction, and are more effective at solving problems. They’re the engine behind customer satisfaction and innovation. They are also more positive because their feelings of well-being are 66% higher when they are engaged. 

When employees aren’t engaged, absenteeism soars to 81% and turnover to as much as 43%. Alarmingly, safety incidents increase to as much as 64% and safety incidents (falls and mortality) to 58%. Production is also directly affected as defects rise to up to 41%.

But it’s not just about the numbers. Employee engagement significantly influences company culture. 

A positive, engaging culture attracts top talent, and in competitive industries, this can be a game-changer. Southwest Airlines, for example, attributes much of its success to its fun-loving, highly engaged culture. Their corporate goals, which include engagement strategies, are designed to make them “the world’s most loved, most efficient, and most profitable airline.”

They don’t just have a stated purpose and vision. They have a company promise that they make to employees, and an employee promise, as well as values that everyone in the company is expected to live and work by. These relate to pride, integrity, humility, teamwork, honesty, “service with LUV,” efficiency, discipline, and excellence.  

Importance of Investing in Employee Engagement Strategies

Engaged employees are a key driver of success for companies. 

According to the Quantum Workplace Driving Employee Success Employee Engagement Trends 2023 report, only 23% of engaged workers would quit their company in search of one with a better culture. At 60%, the retention rate is considerably lower for disengaged employees.

They provide an exceptionally strong case for prioritizing investments in employee engagement and employee experience:

  • 92% of executives say engaged employees perform better
  • 56% of executives report achieving a positive ROI from their engagement efforts
  • 62% of employees maintain their organization has achieved positive results from investing in employee engagement

Additionally, to be successful, Quantum Workplace states that “leaders should focus on stabilizing and rebuilding trust within their organization. It’s about listening, empathy, and showing employees you value them.”

“Some employers consider discontinuing or delaying employee engagement strategies and tactics. But this can be a short-sighted approach that does more harm than good. Research has consistently shown that investing in employee engagement – no matter the business context – can improve an organization’s bottom line.”

Quantum Workplace

Improving employee engagement starts with understanding what it means to your team members. A robust employee assessment process can help identify areas of strength and opportunities for growth. Engagement activities, regular feedback, and a focus on professional development are all strategies that increase employee engagement.

Technology plays a significant role in employee engagement. Email analytics and innovative internal communications tools help keep employees informed and engaged. Whether it’s through engaging employee newsletters, stimulating internal emails, or offering platforms for gathering feedback, technology enhances the employee experience.

Now that we’ve explored the importance of employee engagement, here are 35 great employee engagement ideas to motivate your team and foster a culture of engagement and innovation.

35 Best Employee Engagement Ideas to Motivate Employees

Boosting employee engagement is essential for fostering a positive work environment and improving job satisfaction. Implementing creative and innovative employee engagement ideas can significantly increase the engagement levels among team members. There are a myriad of ways to motivate employees and enhance their experience within the company.

We’ve arranged our top employee engagement ideas into categories for easy reading. 

Inexpensive employee engagement ideas

Enhancing employee engagement does not necessarily need a significant financial investment — or any investment at all. Here are some cost-effective strategies.

#1 Implement office hours 

“Office hours” in the traditional sense involve employees spending time in a physical office at set times. Very often, they are paid overtime when they work beyond these set office hours. But there’s an innovative way to implement so-called office hours to improve employee engagement. 

We suggest that you use the office hours concept to create a dedicated period of time during the workday for communication. What you do is to allocate specific times when employees can freely discuss ideas, and challenges, or seek advice from their managers. This approach fosters a culture of openness and support. It’s a simple yet effective approach that encourages employees to express themselves. It also leads to increased job satisfaction and a stronger company connection. Moreover, it can help managers identify and address potential issues before they escalate, contributing positively to the overall company culture.

You don’t need fancy equipment or extra space. Utilize existing communication tools like video conferencing platforms, chat apps, or even phone calls. By setting specific times, you remove the scheduling burden and make it easier for employees to connect with managers. This can be particularly helpful for remote workers. Providing a dedicated timeframe promotes more focused conversations compared to quick chats or emails. This leads to a more efficient use of everyone’s time. Ultimately, employees feel valued when managers prioritize communication. This can lead to increased job satisfaction and a stronger team spirit.

During your adapted office hours you can have rotating question-and-answer sessions, virtual coffee chats, and “ask me anything” sessions where managers answer any employee questions. 

#2 Use a pulse survey tool 

Pulse surveys are quick, frequent surveys that gather feedback on employee engagement, satisfaction, and aspects of the workplace environment. Utilizing a pulse survey tool can enable organizations to continuously measure employee engagement and address concerns promptly. It’s a method that not only keeps the survey process manageable and efficient but also demonstrates a commitment to valuing employee feedback, thus improving the employee experience. The insights gained can guide targeted engagement strategies tailored to the team’s needs.

Compared to traditional surveys, pulse surveys are shorter, take less time to complete, and require fewer resources to create and analyze. This translates to significant cost savings. They can be delivered electronically via email, internal communication platforms, or even anonymous mobile apps. A direct benefit is that it eliminates printing costs and ensures a wider reach within the organization.

Ultimately, the ongoing feedback gathered via a pulse survey tool is crucial for identifying and addressing issues early, preventing them from snowballing into bigger problems. By leveraging pulse surveys strategically, you can gain valuable insights into employee engagement without breaking the bank. This allows you to make data-driven decisions to improve employee morale, satisfaction, and ultimately, the success of your company.

#3 Host virtual coffee breaks or team lunches

With the rise of hybrid work environments, maintaining team cohesion has become a creative challenge. Virtual coffee breaks and team lunches offer simple solutions that provide an informal setting for employees to bond and share personal stories, just as they would in a physical office space. These gatherings can help alleviate feelings of isolation, encouraging a sense of belonging and reinforcing company culture. Offering a free demo or gift cards for coffee or lunch can add an extra layer of motivation for participation.

These simple yet powerful actions can significantly improve the employee experience by promoting a culture of open dialogue and recognition.

Many popular video conferencing platforms offer free plans with enough capacity for small group chats. This eliminates the need for expensive software licenses. Encourage employees to grab their favorite drink at home, eliminating the need for catering or refreshments.

For team lunches, encourage everyone to prepare their own lunch and share recipes or cultural dishes virtually. You eliminate catering costs while fostering a sense of community. Allocate a budget for a pre-determined amount per employee to order their own lunch from a local restaurant. This supports local businesses and allows for dietary preferences while keeping costs manageable.

inexpensive employee engagement ideas

Virtual employee engagement ideas

In this era of hybrid work, keeping virtual team members engaged is more important than ever before. Here are some very worthwhile virtual employee engagement ideas:

#4 Organize virtual team-building events

Virtual team-building events, ranging from trivia games to online escape rooms, provide thrilling opportunities for employees to work together and foster a sense of community. These events not only boost morale but also promote problem-solving and collaborative skills, all within a fun and competitive environment. Moreover, organizing these events regularly can immensely enrich team dynamics and enhance the overall employee experience.

You don’t need to hire expensive facilitators. Encourage employees with specific skills like trivia knowledge, artistic talent, or storytelling to lead virtual workshops or games, fostering a sense of ownership and team spirit. Also, be sure to design activities that encourage teamwork and communication. They can involve virtual escape rooms, online scavenger hunts with household items, or collaborative brainstorming sessions, all achievable with minimal expense.

Take advantage of the virtual landscape. Host virtual tours of museums or historical sites, schedule online cooking classes focusing on international cuisines, or even organize remote volunteering activities where employees can contribute virtually to a cause they care about. Make it a challenge that employees will be delighted to embrace. 

A great approach would be to pick a monthly theme for your virtual events to keep them fresh and exciting. This could be a specific game genre, historical period, or cultural focus, allowing for creative variations within an acceptable budget.

#5 Create an employee newsletter 

An employee newsletter is an excellent way to keep team members informed, engaged, and connected with the broader company happenings. Through an easy-to-use email template builder, internal communicators can craft engaging content about company updates, employee achievements, and upcoming events. This steady stream of communication not only strengthens the internal community but also encourages employees to be active participants in the company’s journey. Involving team members in the content creation process can further personalize the newsletter and increase its impact.

Encourage employees to contribute content. This can be anything from department updates and project highlights to employee spotlights and fun facts, fostering a sense of ownership and community. Just make sure that the content is informative and engaging. Include company news, employee achievements, upcoming events, and even fun polls or quizzes. This keeps employees informed, connected, and feeling valued.

Maintain a regular schedule for your newsletter, whether it’s weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. Consistency builds anticipation and encourages employees to look forward to the next edition.

#6 Encourage the use of emoji reactions and anonymous comments in internal communications

Incorporating emoji reactions and facilitating anonymous comments in internal communications platforms can significantly enhance interactivity and inclusivity. These features allow employees to express their emotions and thoughts freely, fostering a culture of openness. Furthermore, the anonymity feature can be especially beneficial in gathering honest feedback, providing valuable insights into employees’ true feelings and opinions. And it can lead to a more engaged and transparent workplace.

By acknowledging and addressing employee reactions (positive or negative) through emojis and comments, organizations can also demonstrate transparency and a willingness to listen. This builds trust and fosters a sense of psychological safety within the team.

Ultimately, emojis and anonymous comments offer a low-barrier way for employees to participate in discussions. Shy or introverted individuals might feel more comfortable expressing themselves through a simple emoji than a lengthy written response. 

virtual employee engagement ideas

Employee engagement contest ideas

Contests are an excellent way to boost employee engagement through friendly competition. Prizes can include gift certificates, company swag, extra vacation days, or charity donations in the winner’s name. 

When it comes to judging these types of competitions, have a combination of management and employees for a well-rounded perspective and increased participation. 

Here are some contest ideas:

#7 A photo competition

Employees don’t need to be “photographers” to excel in a company photo competition. Rather, a photo competition at work can stir creativity and personal expression among employees, giving them a platform to showcase their talents and share glimpses of their lives outside work. Whether it’s a themed contest or a general showcase, it can generate excitement and conversation within the team. To increase and encourage involvement, consider allowing employees to vote for their favorite entries. This will promote interaction and community spirit.

Here are some theme ideas. Ask employees to submit photos that:

  • Share unique work-from-home setups. This is a great idea for remote teams.
  • Capture the essence of teamwork and collaboration within the company.
  • Showcase unexpected beauty or interesting finds in or around the workplace.
  • Capture moments that embody the company’s core values.

#8 A wellness challenge 

Encouraging employees to prioritize their health and well-being is crucial, especially in today’s fast-paced work environments. A wellness challenge, whether it’s a step count competition, mindfulness sessions, or healthy eating goals, can motivate employees to adopt healthier habits. You could also get employees to track their sleep patterns and compete for the most consistent sleep schedules. 

Engage employees with weekly progress reports and create teams for group support. Also, consider incorporating rewards, such as gift cards or extra paid time off (PTO) days for participants or winners. Rewards can always further incentivize engagement and promote a culture of health and well-being within the organization.

#9 An innovation contest 

Fostering a culture of innovation is great for encouraging a competitive spirit. An innovation contest invites employees to propose new ideas or solutions that could benefit the company, encouraging creative thinking and problem-solving. It will empower employees by giving them a voice and also contribute to the company’s growth and evolution. Recognizing and rewarding the best ideas can further stimulate engagement and a sense of ownership among team members.

Engagement contests not only make work more enjoyable but also encourage creativity, teamwork, and a deeper connection to the company’s goals and values. The focus can vary. For example:

  • A process improvement contest could solicit ideas to improve existing company processes for efficiency or cost-savings.
  • A customer-related contest could challenge employees to come up with creative solutions to enhance customer experience.
  • Sustainability champions could call for ideas that would reduce the company’s environmental footprint or promote sustainable practices.

As employees for written proposals with mockups or prototypes, or short videos that outline their ideas. This type of contest is ideal for teams. 

employee engagement contest ideas

Employee engagement event ideas

Organizing events is a cornerstone of employee engagement strategies. With this in mind, choose events that not only enhance a team experience but also contribute to the personal and professional growth of employees.

Here are some ideas to consider.

#10 Team offsites or retreats 

Retreats and team offsites held outside the usual office environment provide a unique opportunity for employees to interact in a non-work setting. They provide the opportunity for colleagues to escape the daily grind and focus on specific goals or projects in a fresh space. Often, team offsites incorporate team-building activities to strengthen communication, collaboration, and overall team dynamics. They are also good for fostering deeper personal connections and team unity. 

These events can range from outdoor adventures to relaxation-focused retreats, depending on the team’s preferences. Prioritizing such outings demonstrates the company’s commitment to employee well-being and professional development, further cementing a positive and supportive company culture.

#11 Internal networking events 

Internal networking events are valuable for promoting cross-departmental collaboration and understanding. They provide a platform for employees from different departments or teams to connect and build relationships. It’s a great way for employees to share insights and learn about different aspects of the business – and these events can spark innovative ideas and solutions. Additionally, they offer a chance for team members to discover potential mentors or collaborators, thereby enhancing their professional development and sense of belonging within the company.

There are all sorts of ways to structure internal networking events from casual lunches to after-work social gatherings.

#12 Seminars and workshops 

Investing in employees’ professional development through seminars and workshops is a powerful way to boost engagement. They also offer employees unique opportunities to learn new skills, gain industry insights, and stay updated on current trends.

These educational events expand employees’ skill sets and demonstrate the company’s investment in their growth. Tailoring topics to meet different team’s interests and needs can increase participation and effectiveness, whether it’s enhancing technical skills, leadership abilities, or industry knowledge.

Additionally, new skills can make employees feel more capable and confident in their roles. And exposure to new ideas and technologies can lead to creative solutions and improved problem-solving.

employee engagement event ideas

Creative employee engagement ideas

Creativity is key to maintaining high levels of engagement. However, there’s no guarantee that all employees will want to participate in every type of activity. For this reason, it makes sense that these activities are optional to ensure everyone feels comfortable. It also stands to reason that employees will appreciate being asked for input, for example on the types of swag or book genres that appeal to them.

Here are a few creative strategies.

#13 Develop team swag

Creating unique team swag, such as t-shirts, mugs, or stickers, can instill a sense of pride and unity among employees. Team (or company) swag can be a tangible representation of the company and its values. It can be used to build a spirit of camaraderie, promote team identity, and create a sense of fun in the work environment. It also serves as a constant reminder of the community employees belong to. 

Involving employees in the design process can make the swag even more special and sought-after, turning everyday items into symbols of team spirit and belonging.

#14 Host a bring your pet to work day

A bring-your-pet-to-work day can be a fun and engaging perk for employees who have pet-friendly workplaces. 

This type of event offers a refreshing change of pace, enabling employees to share a piece of their personal lives with their colleagues. It can help to foster a more intimate and understanding work culture. Pet owners can bond with their animals, fostering connections between colleagues.

Seeing the workplace dotted with furry friends, from wagging tails beneath desks to soft purrs beside monitors, can significantly decrease stress levels and inspire joy. Moreover, it serves as an icebreaker, encouraging interactions among employees who might not typically converse, as pets have a wonderful way of bringing people together. 

Additionally, studies suggest that interacting with pets can lower stress levels, leading to happier and more productive employees.

#15 Set up a company-wide book club

A company-wide book club can be a stimulating and intellectually enriching employee engagement idea that encourages social interaction. By selecting books related to professional development, industry trends, or even fiction for leisure reading, employees can connect on a deeper level, sharing perspectives and insights. A book club can foster a culture of continuous learning and encourages the exchange of ideas and experiences across the team. Incorporating discussions, either virtual or in person, can enhance a sense of community and engagement among participants.

Infusing creativity into employee engagement activities fosters a dynamic and stimulating work environment that most employees are excited to be a part of.

creative employee engagement ideas

Innovative employee engagement ideas

Innovation drives progress and can significantly improve how engagement is fostered within a company. 

Check out these innovative ideas and introduce those that appeal most to you and your employees.

#16 Utilize AI and machine learning 

While AI and machine learning might seem like technical concepts, they can be applied in innovative ways that improve employee experience and indirectly increase engagement.

In fact, AI and machine learning technologies can revolutionize the employee assessment process, providing personalized insights to enhance the employee experience. By analyzing data on work patterns and employee feedback, these technologies can help identify areas for improvement and tailor engagement strategies accordingly. Additionally, AI-driven platforms can automate mundane tasks, freeing up time for team members to focus on more meaningful work, thereby boosting job satisfaction.

AI can also be used to personalize tasks, learning and development opportunities, and even communication styles to better suit individual employee needs and preferences. This can lead to a sense of empowerment and feeling valued.

#17 Implement an internal influencer program

An internal influencer program can be a great way to leverage the power of employee advocacy. It generally leverages employees who are naturally charismatic and connected within the organization to drive engagement and model positive behaviors. These internal influencers can share milestones, celebrate achievements, and disseminate key messages, amplifying their impact through their networks. A well structured program not only enhances internal communications but also fosters a culture of recognition and appreciation.

Here are ways internal influencer program can foster engagement:

  • Engaged employees who are seen as thought leaders within the company can inspire and motivate others.
  • Internal influencers can communicate company messages and initiatives in a more relatable way compared to traditional top-down communication.
  • Influencers can champion company values and create a more positive and engaging work environment.

A caveat is that it’s imperative to identify the right employees for these programs. Choose individuals who are passionate about the company, have strong communication skills, and are respected by their peers. Equip them with the tools and resources they need to be effective communicators and advocates. And be sure to define the program’s objectives and how you’ll measure its success.

#18 Leverage AI chatbots

AI chatbots can play a significant role in improving internal communications and gathering feedback. By providing instant responses to employee inquiries and facilitating surveys, chatbots enhance the accessibility and efficiency of communication channels. Furthermore, their ability to gather and analyze feedback in real time can offer invaluable insights for developing targeted engagement initiatives, making them an indispensable tool for modern HR practices.

These innovative strategies leverage technology to create a more personalized and effective engagement experience for employees.

Just bear in mind that chatbots should not replace human interaction entirely. They should complement existing support structures. Also, ensure the chatbot is user-friendly and provides accurate information.

innovative employee engagement ideas

Holiday employee engagement ideas

Holidays offer unique opportunities to boost employee engagement through themed activities. There are lots of ways to do this. Here are some favorite ideas:

#19 Organize a Halloween costume contest 

A Halloween costume contest is a lighthearted activity that can spark creativity, friendly competition, and team bonding. It is also a fun and creative way for employees to express themselves and break the monotony of the workday. Encouraging participation through themes related to the industry or company culture can add an extra layer of engagement. 

This kind of contest can increase employee engagement by:

  • Promoting a fun, friendly work atmosphere
  • Encouraging self-expression
  • Building relationships

Recognizing the most innovative or humorous costumes with prizes can boost participation and showcase the company’s appreciation for employee creativity and spirit.

#20 Host an end-of-year achievement awards ceremony 

Recognizing and celebrating employee achievements is crucial for motivation and engagement. An end-of-year awards ceremony provides a platform to do just that. By recognizing individual and team achievements, organizations can foster a sense of pride and accomplishment. This event not only serves as a reflection on the year’s progress but also motivates employees for the upcoming challenges, reinforcing their engagement and loyalty to the company.

Here’s why it matters:

  • By acknowledging accomplishments, this type of event shows employees their hard work is valued, boosting morale and satisfaction.
  • A ceremony of this kind can be inspirational. Highlighting achievements can motivate others to strive for excellence.
  • It can also build a culture of recognition. Regular recognition programs generally create a culture where employees feel appreciated and valued.

#21 Arrange holiday decorating contests for individual workspaces or team areas

Holiday decorating contests can bring festive cheer and creativity into the workplace, whether physical or virtual. Encouraging teams to decorate their spaces according to a specific holiday theme can foster teamwork and spark friendly competition. 

Offering rewards or prizes for the most creative or festive decorations can further enhance participation and enjoyment, injecting a sense of fun and belonging into the company culture.

Holiday-themed activities not only add an element of fun to the workplace but also help create memorable moments for employees.

holiday employee engagement ideas

Black History Month employee engagement ideas

Black History Month, also known as African American History Month, is celebrated annually in February. The 2024 theme was “African Americans and the Arts,” which explored the key influence African Americans have had in the fields of “visual and performing arts, literature, fashion, folklore, language, film, music, architecture, culinary and other forms of cultural expression.”

Celebrating Black History Month is an important way to foster an inclusive company culture. And it makes sense to follow whatever the theme is for a particular year. But it’s not only about Africans who were enslaved and brought to the U.S. It also acknowledges the experiences and heritages of all people of African descent.

Here are some non-specific ideas that might fit a variety of themes.

Inviting guest speakers or organizing panel discussions on diversity, inclusion, and the significance of Black History Month can enlighten and inspire employees. These events encourage open dialogue, foster understanding, and highlight the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Employees can gain new perspectives and insights, contributing to a more inclusive and empathetic workplace culture.

#23 Organize a company-wide book or movie club focused on Black history and culture

Creating a space for employees to explore and discuss books or movies relating to Black history and culture can cultivate a deeper understanding and appreciation of diverse experiences and perspectives. This initiative not only supports professional and personal growth but also strengthens the bonds among team members through shared learning experiences. Encouraging participation and discussion can create a more inclusive and engaged workplace environment.

It needn’t be limited to the month of February, though you could invite literary speakers or better still Black authors to talk to employees during February. 

#24 Encourage employees to volunteer with local organizations that support the Black community

Encouraging employees to engage in volunteer work with organizations that support the Black community can provide meaningful opportunities to connect with and contribute to the wider community. It demonstrates the company’s commitment to social responsibility and diversity, encouraging employees to take an active role in making a positive impact. Supporting and recognizing employee volunteer efforts can also enhance job satisfaction and loyalty.

These activities not only celebrate an important aspect of American history but also promote understanding and diversity within the workplace.

black history month employee engagement ideas

Employee engagement games ideas

Incorporating games into the workplace offers a break from the routine and can significantly enhance team dynamics and employee morale. Games are an excellent way to inject fun into the workplace while fostering team spirit. 

Here are some game ideas for you to try. 

#25 Office Olympics

Office Olympics can be a series of fun, competitive activities designed to encourage teamwork and lighten the workday. From desk-chair races to trivia challenges, these games can create memorable moments and strengthen relationships among team members. 

Participation in an event like this encourages a sense of unity. It also offers a much-needed break from routine tasks, boosting morale and employee engagement.

#26 Escape room challenges, either virtual or physical

Escape room challenges offer an exciting way for teams to practice problem-solving and team-building in a pressure-free environment. And they can be physical or virtual. 

By working together to solve puzzles and achieve a common goal, employees can improve their communication and collaboration skills. Hosting escape room challenges, either virtually or in-person, can provide a unique and engaging team experience, fostering a sense of achievement and camaraderie.

#27 Board game tournaments

Board game tournaments are a simple yet effective way to encourage friendly competition and interaction among employees. Selecting a range of games that cater to different interests and skill levels helps to ensure wide participation. 

Organizing these tournaments regularly can provide employees with something to look forward to, fostering a fun and engaging work environment. It also encourages employees to value community and teamwork.

employee engagement games ideas

Employee engagement ideas for managers

Managers play a crucial role in employee engagement. Here are some employee engagement strategies specifically designed for them to participate in.

#28 Offer employee coaching sessions 

Employee coaching sessions provide personalized support and guidance, helping employees to overcome challenges and achieve their career goals. These sessions can be a space for open dialogue, feedback, and professional development planning. 

By investing time in understanding and supporting their team members’ aspirations, managers can boost morale, engagement, and retention. Ultimately, this contributes to a positive and productive work environment.

#29 Regular scheduling of one-on-one meetings to discuss career goals, challenges, and successes

Regular one-on-one meetings between managers and employees are crucial for maintaining open lines of communication and building trust. These meetings offer a forum for discussing career progression, addressing any obstacles, and celebrating achievements. Personalizing the engagement and support provided to each employee gives them a sense of being valued and understood. 

This is an excellent way to enhance job satisfaction and commitment to the company.

#30 Recognize and reward employees’ efforts and achievements in a timely and meaningful way

Timely recognition and rewards for employees’ efforts and achievements can significantly influence their motivation and engagement. Whether through public acknowledgment, bonuses, or personalized rewards, showing appreciation for hard work reinforces positive behaviors and fosters a culture of excellence. 

Managers play a key role in identifying and celebrating these accomplishments, thereby encouraging continued effort and loyalty from their team members. By actively engaging in these practices, managers can significantly influence the level of engagement and job satisfaction among their team members.

employee engagement ideas for managers

How Do We at Cerkl Engage Our Employees?

As a firm that specializes in internal communication software, we use our audience management platform to deliver personalized emails and intranet content to engage and inform employees. We also use many of the innovative and fun employee engagement ideas we have showcased for you in this guide including pulse surveys, team-building events, employee newsletters, contests, and games. 

When we organize games, events, and so on, we brand and theme the experiences so that they are memorable and can easily be recalled or referenced. We tap into our employees’ multiple interests and motivations so that the experiences we offer are relevant. We also cater to both in-person and online employee experiences. 

It’s important to let people drive the experience instead of the experience controlling the people. Memorable moments will emerge! We have proved this over and over again. 

We’re going to briefly share a handful of employee engagement events that will give you a window into how Cerkl engages employees. Feel free to adapt our proven ideas for your own organization.

Cerkl employee engagement event

Cerkl Olympics

Idea #25 suggests office Olympics. This is an event or game that we have found to be immensely successful. 

Our Cerkl Olympics was initially designed as an all-company event to last all summer. The idea was for employees to choose a personal strength that became a challenge. Then on Fridays, individuals and teams would accumulate points from the game. Events have ranged from a words-per-minute typing test to Mario Kart and even a long jump competition. 

We have found that this is a great way to build team chemistry and have fun at work to boost morale 

Reindeer Day

This was created as a single-day event that coincided with our annual holiday party. We crafted a series of games to highlight the holiday spirit and create a memorable experience beyond the stereotypical office holiday party. Games included snowball (with fake snowballs), dodgeball, chair races in the office, and Carol Doo’s.

Space Games

Sam Huber, Cerkl’s principal product designer who loves to develop team building games, tells how the company’s culture thrived on in-person competition and games. “But then COVID stopped us in our tracks. After months of indecisiveness on the future of our work culture, we decided to host a fully remote version of previous events.” These included summer Olympics and reindeer games. 

“This experience aimed to utilize the unique characteristics of remote work to fill the lack of connectedness we were experiencing. Each team had a Zoom background to identify themselves and we used video conferencing features to enhance the games we played. Most importantly, it gave all of us an excuse to do something fun and engaging in a time that was nothing but that.”

Quarantine Cup

This idea shows how important it is to adapt to the times. 

“COVID felt like it was never going to end and we wanted to keep up the momentum from Space Games,” says Sam. “So we invented the Quarantine Cup. This was the first asynchronous experience we had created where employees were completing challenges on their own at home and reporting back to the group.”

Challenges included good lifestyle habits including water consumption, cooking at home, exercise, and so on. When an employee completed a goal they would report back to the group with some sort of picture or reference to what they accomplished to earn points towards the cup. “We really wanted to let people know that they weren’t experiencing this pandemic alone.”

Broadcast Bowls

The idea of a Broadcast Bowl emerged with the return of in-person events. They have now become more of a company retreat or summit. 

“As COVID changed the nature of hiring, we now have many more fully remote employees that do not have access to local employees on a regular basis,” says Sam. “Broadcast Bowl is an annual event where we fly everyone into our headquarters and host a two- to three-day experience where we create opportunities for cross-departmental connections as well to foster established virtual relationships in person. 

cerkl employee engagement event

“This is the most branded and produced event we have ever done. Imagine smoke machines, music, team mascots, relay races, and so much more. It truly is a cornerstone of our culture now.”

cerkl employee engagement event

What’s Next?

Would you like Cerkl to help you improve employee engagement in your organization?

We think that a great start is to use our employee engagement survey template. Designed to gather feedback from employees and gain insights into their thinking, you can use it to gauge their interest in these employee engagement ideas. You can even use it to ask for their innovative ideas. All you have to do is adapt some of our suggested questions. 


What are employee engagement examples?

Examples include employees feeling a sense of purpose in their work, actively contributing ideas, and taking pride in their company’s success. This is reflected in high levels of collaboration, good communication, and positive feedback exchange.

What are the 3 best employee engagement ideas?

Three of the best employee engagement ideas are: 
1. providing opportunities for growth and development
2. fostering open communication with clear expectations
3. recognizing and rewarding employee achievements. 
These practices are good examples that are likely to make employees feel valued and invested in the company’s future.

What are the 5 best inexpensive employee engagement ideas?

Here are five inexpensive employee engagement ideas. We have suggested many others in this post. You’ll need to decide which are the best for your needs.  
1. celebrate team and individual milestones
2. encourage team-building activities
3. create recognition programs for peer-to-peer appreciation
4. offer flexible work arrangements
5. solicit employee feedback through surveys or suggestion boxes
These simple gestures show that you value your employees’ opinions and well-being. 

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