20 Innovative Activities to Engage Employees and Boost Morale

Boosting employee engagement is crucial, yet challenging. This article highlights 20 creative and effective employee engagement ideas to engage employees, enhance teamwork, and promote a thriving work environment. Whether you’re in the office or coordinating remotely, these activities can boost morale and create a sense of unity within your entire team.

Key Takeaways

  • A variety of activities that engage employees in team building activities – like escape rooms, culinary competitions, and sports – can enhance camaraderie and inject energy into the work environment.
  • Employee recognition strategies, development opportunities, and wellness initiatives are crucial for fostering engagement and growth while supporting work and life balance.
  • Adopting flexible work policies, encouraging community involvement, and implementing gamification can boost morale and create a dynamic, empowering workplace culture.

Benefits of Engaged Workers

Globally, a mere 23% of workers are engaged, according to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report. This means 77% of workers are not engaged. They are uninspired, do the bare minimum of work, and are most likely seeking other employment. But for the engaged 23%, there are numerous benefits to the organization.

Higher profitability. If this benefit doesn’t appeal to HR departments, managers, and leadership teams involved in engagement, it’s time to retire! But profitability is the result of other factors that are positively affected by employee engagement. Things like retaining top talent, providing great customer service, and applying best efforts to the job. These all lead to higher profits.

A Safer Workplace. Engaged employees are also a key factor in creating a safer work environment. Companies with high employee engagement had 62 percent fewer safety incidents than those with lower employee engagement, according to a Gallup poll. Since June is National Safety Month, it’s the perfect time to incorporate engagement strategies to create a safer workplace. Employees that are enthusiastic about their work and fully involved with their company are also more likely to embrace safety.

Healthier Employees. Employee health and well-being, both physical and mental, are major benefits of an engaged workforce. Healthy employees have a positive affect on other team members, creating a favorable culture. Their attitude and engagement can be contagious. These healthy, well-balanced individuals enjoy work, as opposed to viewing work as a stressful grind. From fewer sick days and lower insurance costs to higher productivity and creativity, there’s every reason to strive for healthier employees by increasing engagement in your workforce.

Engaging Team Building Exercises

Employees participating in team building activities outdoors

Have you ever solved a puzzle under pressure, cooked up a storm, or scored the winning goal in a sporting match? Done independently, these activities boost confidence and build excitement; done with a group of colleagues, they produce engaged employees to produce a vibrant company culture.

Engaging in activities that promote team building – with a hint of competition – can breathe life into the daily routine, encourage employees to bring their A-game, and strengthen team bonds that turn coworkers into a close-knit community.

Here are a few employee engagement ideas that integrate team building activities with employee engagement initiatives.

Escape Room Adventure

Locked in a room, the clock’s ticking, and the only way out is through a maze of puzzles that demand teamwork. An escape room adventure is where the collective wit of your team is put to the test, laying the foundation for trust and highlighting everyone’s unique strengths. Every clue solved is a step closer to success, mirroring the collaborative spirit required in the office space.

You can check out escape rooms in your area, hire a company to build a pop-up escape room in your office, or even construct one yourself. The options are limitless!

Culinary Team Competitions

Imagine the sizzle of competition paired with the aroma of culinary delights as teams whip up dishes that are as creative as your latest marketing campaign. Culinary team competitions are a recipe for strengthening team bonds while indulging in a feast of flavors.

Set up a competition amongst different departments, or between executive staff members and their teams. You could even match up new hires against existing employees! A little rivalry combined with teamwork – and the power of delicious food – is sure get your workforce engaged and have a memorable impact on overall employee experience.

Outdoor Sports Day

What better way to boost morale than by stepping out of the office and into the sun for an outdoor sports day? It’s not just about flexing those muscles; it’s about engagement activities that build team spirit and encourage healthy competition. Whether it’s the thrill of the race or the cheer of teammates, it’s a day where office hierarchies dissolve into high-fives and teamwork.

Here are some fun employee engagement games and sports to incorporate that are sure to boost employee engagement on the field and in the office:

  • Ball sports – Softball, kickball, pickleball, soccer, volleyball
  • Races – Sack races, egg races, blindfolded partner races
  • Yard games – Bean bag toss, washers, horse shoes, ladder-ball
  • Strategy games – Capture the flag, manhunt

Employee Recognition Strategies

A woman being celebrated by coworkers throwing confetti

Recognition is the unsung hero of the workplace. It’s the spark that ignites passion, the wind that propels progress, and the glue that binds a team together.

Employee recognition strategies are not just about saying ‘good job’ – they are a testament to the value each individual brings to the table, enhancing work satisfaction and propelling your company’s success.

Spot Awards for Instant Recognition

In a world that moves at lightning speed, recognition should keep pace. Spot awards for instant recognition shine a spotlight on achievements as they happen, ensuring that the flames of motivation and the drive to excel are always fueled.

Whether it’s a verbal acknowledgement or a gift card to a local restaurant, even a small instant recognition to reward employees will improve employee engagement and even result in higher employee retention.

Peer-to-Peer Recognition Programs

Peer-to-peer recognition programs offer employees the ability to share their respect and admiration for one another, strengthening your organization’s culture.

Consider having a “recognition box” in the office where employees can drop comment cards showing appreciation for their co-workers. Or, encourage employees to send emails to HR when they see notable actions from colleagues.

You could send out the acknowledgements – anonymously or not – in an internal newsletter, announce them at meetings, or hold an employee appreciation lunch to read them.

Having the confirmation of fellow employees is a great employee engagement idea that will empower your entire workforce.

Celebratory Milestone Events

Milestone events are the landmark celebrations that recognize both the journey and the destination. Examples could include years working for the company, perfect attendance, employee birthdays, or employee of the month. Recognizing milestones are the personal touches that make employees feel like part of a larger family, spotlighting individual stories of dedication and triumph.

Develop a process for milestone events so milestones aren’t missed and are properly acknowledged.

It could be as simple as a manager that will invite employees out to lunch for a promotion, to a modest office party for a milestone work anniversary, to a full-blown retirement celebration with all the bells and whistles.

Whatever way you celebrate, activities to engage employees in these milestone events will foster a community-driven company culture.

Professional Development Opportunities

Business professionals attending a workshop for continued learning

Growth is the lifeblood of employee engagement. When engaged employees see a future teeming with possibilities, their commitment deepens, and their contributions soar.

Employee development plays a crucial role in fostering this growth, and employee engagement efforts are essential in driving these activities forward. To enhance these efforts and ensure employees feel valued, incorporating employee engagement ideas that include development can be highly beneficial.

These could come in the form of:

  • Skill-Building Workshops – in skill-building workshops, employee potential is nurtured and skills are honed. By amplifying your team members’ capabilities, the collective knowledge of your workforce is expanded and innovation blooms.
  • Mentorship Pairings – mentorship guides employees through the landscape of their careers. These relationships are the bridges between experience and ambition, offering a roadmap for those who aspire to climb the professional ladder.
  • Leadership Training Programs – Leadership training programs are designed to cultivate potential leaders, equipping them with the skills to guide the company toward success.

By encouraging employees to participate in development opportunities, you demonstrate an investment in your employee’s wellbeing, leading them to be more a engaged employee.

Wellness Initiatives: Effective Employee Engagement Activities

Office workers doing yoga, representing wellness initiatives as employee engagement activities

Well-being is the cornerstone of productivity. Wellness initiatives are the commitment a company makes to the holistic health of its employees, ensuring that they thrive not just within the office walls but in all facets of life.

A healthy work life balance fostered by wellness initiatives can include:

  • On-Site Fitness Classes – On-site fitness classes within the in-person work environment can help employees recharge and return to their desks invigorated and inspired – a great way to inspire an engaged workforce.
  • Mental Health Days Off – Mental health days signify that your organization cares about employees’ overall wellbeing, beyond physical health. In addition to being a gesture of social responsibility, workers who are able to alleviate mental health problems through various strategies – like taking a day off – will be more productive, leading to better employee engagement and efficiency.
  • Sending Flowers – When an employee or their loved one is hospitalized or passes, sending flowers is a meaningful gesture to show you care. This thoughtfulness compounds into even more goodwill, as friends and family usually recognize your company’s support during this emotional time.
  • Financial Planning Seminars – Often overlooked, financial planning is another part of holistic wellbeing. Financial planning seminars can empower employees to build foundations for their futures, giving financial peace of mind to your workforce.

Creative Social Gatherings

Employees in a photo booth at a work theme party

Social gatherings transform the mundane day to day workplace into the extraordinary, enhancing engagement and stitching together the fabric of your company’s culture.

Employee Engagement Activities for Socializing

  • Themed Office Parties – these shared office experiences will add chapters of laughter and camaraderie to the story of your company.
  • Virtual Coffee Hangouts – bridge the gap between office space and cyberspace, keeping remote employees woven into the company’s social tapestry.
  • Company-Wide Talent Shows – showcase the diverse assortment of personal interests that enrich the culture and spirit of your organization.

Communication and Feedback Channels to Enhance Engagement

When communication flows freely, it nourishes every part of the company, ensuring that every voice is heard and every idea has the chance to blossom. Try using some of these communication channels to keep employees engaged in having their voices heard.

Employee Surveys for Insightful Feedback

Employee surveys are the mirrors that reflect the inner workings of an organization. They are the channels through which employees can share their thoughts and shout their ideas, playing a crucial role in shaping the path forward. By providing employee feedback, these surveys contribute to the overall growth and improvement of the company.

Town Hall Meetings with Leadership

Town hall meetings are the forums where hierarchies flatten and dialogue flourishes, where leaders listen and employees speak, fostering an atmosphere of trust and transparency.

Idea Submission Platforms

Idea submission platforms are the fertile ground where the seeds of innovation are sown. They are the channels that empower employees to contribute to the company’s evolution, ensuring that the best ideas always have room to grow.

Empowerment Through Responsibility

Empowerment comes from a sense of ownership. When employees are entrusted with responsibility, they rise to the occasion. Thus, to engage employees effectively, it’s crucial to foster this sense of empowerment.

While not commonly thought of as employee engagement activities, offering additional responsibilities can help drive their engagement and the company’s success to new heights.

Project Lead Rotation

Project lead rotation is a dance of leadership, where all team members get a turn to lead and learn. When employees join leaders in understanding day to day challenges from a management perspective, it allows them to see how their engagement impacts different levels of the organization.

This dynamic encourages empathy and broadens perspectives, enriching the team’s collective wisdom.

Cross-Departmental Committees

Cross-departmental committees are the melting pots where diverse ideas and viewpoints simmer together, creating a blend of insights that elevate the company’s strategies and solutions.

Team members from different departments can offer outside perspectives that help solve problems and, in the process, empower team members to be more actively engaged.

Community Service and Charity Involvement

Community service and charity involvement are the expression of a company’s heart. More than employee engagement activities, they’re the commitment to extend the reach of engagement beyond the office and into the broader world, creating ripples of positive change. This is also an easy engagement strategy to adopt at smaller companies with few employees.

  • Volunteer Days – in these gateways to giving, employees step into the community as ambassadors of goodwill, embodying the values of their company and finding fulfillment in service.
  • Fundraising Campaigns – the collective effort of fundraising amplifies a company’s impact; employees unite to support causes close to their hearts and demonstrate the strength of their shared commitment to making a difference.
  • Environmental Sustainability Projects – sustainability projects not only protect the planet but also instill a sense of pride and purpose in every team member. The tangible actions of employees reflect your company’s commitment to the future.

Flexibility and Autonomy in the Workplace

When considering employee engagement ideas, it’s unlikely that autonomy and flexibility come to mind; and yet, the modern workforce craves these job benefits. They support a positive work environment where employees can balance their personal and professional lives, allowing them to be their best selves in and out of the office.

Remote Working Options

Remote working options are the portals to productivity and work and life balance, allowing employees to tailor their work environment to their needs while staying connected to the pulse of the company.

Flexible Hours and Job Sharing

Flexible hours and job sharing are the keys to a harmonious work-life symphony, where employees can compose their schedules in a way that resonates with their personal rhythms and life’s melodies.

Self-Directed Projects

Self-directed projects are canvases for creativity and initiative, providing opportunities for employees to take the reins and drive their ideas forward. Self-directed projects result in empowering contributions to the company’s success and personal growth

Gamification and Competition

Gamification and competition are easy and fun employee engagement activities that add excitement to the workday. They transform routine tasks into challenges to be conquered and goals to be achieved, infusing the workplace with energy and enthusiasm.

Employee Engagement Ideas for Friendly Competition

Here are some simple employee engagement activities that will instill competition and enthusiasm in your workforce:


From the heart-pumping thrill of an escape room to the quiet satisfaction of a well-executed project, the journey we’ve taken together showcases the myriad ways to keep the flame of employee engagement burning bright.

We hope the ideas shared here serve as a beacon, guiding you to cultivate a workplace that is not only productive but also pulsing with passion, creativity, and a deep sense of community.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some examples of engaging team building exercises?

Engaging team building exercises can include activities like escape room adventures, culinary team competitions, and outdoor sports days, all of which promote problem-solving, creativity, collaboration, and team camaraderie. These activities are enjoyable and beneficial for building a strong team.

How do spot awards contribute to having engaged employees?

Spot awards contribute to employee motivation and engagement by offering instant recognition of employees’ hard work, significantly improving their motivation and workplace satisfaction. The immediacy of the reward reinforces positive behavior and encourages continued excellence in performance.

Why are wellness initiatives important in the workplace?

Wellness initiatives in the workplace are important because they support employees’ overall well-being, leading to a happier and more productive workforce. They encompass physical and mental health programs, as well as financial planning seminars.

How does flexible working enhance employee engagement?

Flexible working enhances employee engagement by allowing better work-life balance, leading to increased job satisfaction and a more committed workforce. Employees can manage their work and personal lives more effectively, resulting in a healthier and more engaged work environment.

  • Amber Schneider

    Amber Schneider has a broad background and significant experience in HR and staffing. Her position as HR Generalist at Formrite, a Division of G3 Industries, keeps her in the forefront of HR management, issues, and trends.