You know that keeping employees engaged and connected can go a long way towards driving retention. Events are obviously a great way to do this, but who has time to constantly come up with new employee event ideas?
40% of people feel isolated at work. I’ve been there, and it’s a horrible feeling that doesn’t just impact your working life, but your home life, too. Your mental health. Your physical health. And even your ability to enjoy your hobbies when you’re not at work.
When employees feel like they belong in the workplace, it can lead to a 56% increase in job performance, a 50% decrease in turnover risk, and a 75% reduction in sick days. 75%!
For a company with 10,000 employees, this would result in an annual savings of over $52 million.
Just let those numbers sink in for a moment.
All from employees feeling like they belong where they work, instead of feeling like an outsider in the place where they spend most of their time. Coming up with employee event ideas seems like a pretty small lift when you consider that kind of payoff, right?
The relationship between employee events and diversity and inclusion
Businesses in the US spend almost $8 billion per year on diversity and inclusion initiatives. Unfortunately, they often fail to include one key element in these efforts: belonging.
To fully reach your DEI goals, you need to create an environment where employees of all backgrounds and identities feel included.
There’s no point educating employees on what diversity looks like if you don’t take steps to make your workplace more inclusive. This could include offering ramps and elevators as well as stairs to your office, or transcripts for video meetings. Small changes like these can add up to make a big difference to your employee experience.
As many businesses embrace remote or hybrid working, it’s important to find alternative ways to ensure employees can connect with their colleagues.
One simple option for fostering connection and increasing employee belonging is with these employee event ideas.
Employee event ideas to drive deeper belonging for your workforce
Here are some employee event ideas you could try in your business:
Employee resource groups (ERGs) offer a simple, employee-led way for team members to connect with coworkers who share their interests or backgrounds.
When people have someone at work who shares commonalities with them, they’ll feel more connected to what they’re doing and their place of work. They’ll feel less like an outsider and more like they’re a part of something. They’ll also have someone to go to with concerns that may be related to their disability, race, gender, religion, etc.
Of course, your organization’s employee resource groups can also be a great source of employee event ideas if you’re stuck. Don’t hesitate to consult and partner with them!
When working remotely, having the opportunity to meet up with colleagues every few months can re-engage employees and help generate new ideas.
I’ve seen some businesses organize retreats in different places every time. This allows employees to experience different cultures while getting to know their colleagues. It’s a great way to introduce them to other ways of working, scenery, culture, and even food!
A hackathon is a challenge for a group of employees where they have to put together a product or service in a set amount of time. There’s usually a theme of some sort, whether it’s vague like “time” or something more specific, like a scheduling app.
Internal or external hackathons test employees’ skills in a fun way. They also appeal to people’s creative and competitive sides.
Hackathons can be an effective way for teams to bond outside of their day-to-day tasks. Or for new teams to form and get to know each other.
You can also reward employees for their hard work with prizes at the end. Hackathons are one of those employee event ideas that’s often overlooked, but can make a big impact.
Escape rooms build team bonds, develop problem-solving abilities, and play to people’s strengths. They can even help employees discover new skills along the way!
Pop culture is a really good way to bond with other people. You’ll never find a movie that everyone loves, but watching something together can spark conversations and new connections.
Sometimes people’s tastes might surprise you, too, or you might introduce them to a whole new genre.
Employee volunteering programs are becoming increasingly popular. They’re a good way to boost employee morale and engagement.
If you have several employees who live near each other, you could organize for them to all volunteer at the same place on the same day. That way they’ll get to know each other while working together for a common cause.
Partnering with community-based organizations is a great way to tap into a steady stream of new employee event ideas to engage your team.
Whether it’s a lunch and learn, or an afternoon during a team retreat, offering classes is a great way to encourage employee bonding and teach people something new.
Some options include:
- Poetry or spoken word
Go for something that has a low barrier to entry and is accessible to as many employees as possible.
And remind them that it’s meant to be fun—no perfectionism or pressure required!
Meals are a great, low-effort way to get to know someone. If you don’t know what to talk about, just talk about the food!
When booking somewhere, look for a restaurant that can cater to individuals’ nutritional needs or preferences. There’s nothing worse than turning up to a restaurant to find that their only vegan option is a side of fries, or they don’t even know what gluten-free means.
Part of creating a culture of belonging means considering people’s dietary needs, too, even if you don’t have any requirements yourself.
Effective employee event ideas come in many forms. The common factor though, is that they help employees of all backgrounds feel appreciated and included in the workplace.
This has huge benefits for businesses of all sizes, reducing sick time and increasing profits.
It also increases the impact of any diversity and inclusion initiatives, because it’s not just talking about diversity and inclusion, it’s actively creating it.
If you’re ready to free up more time for dreaming up awesome employee event ideas, and spend less time juggling all the logistics, Workrowd has your back. With all the tools you need to market, manage, and measure your events and programs, you and your employees can enjoy the ease of having everything in one place.