42 Fun Employee Engagement Ideas in 2023
Employee engagement is key in making sure workers feel like they’re a vital part of their organization. Most workers view their job as more than just the way they pay their bills; they also see it as a major investment of time and energy that consumes most of their waking hours.
This is even truer now that so many people work from home and face the extra daily test of keeping their work time separate from their personal time. With all of this in mind, shouldn’t their work experience be as engaging as possible? And shouldn’t workplace leaders take up the challenge to keep employee engagement at the forefront of business?
Workers who stay engaged and feel as if their role is appreciated report a higher level of job satisfaction, which can translate into higher productivity and a more successful organization. And workers who feel valued and engaged also feel like a necessary part of the operation.
So why not inspire these positive aspects of work-life by planning some fun employee engagement opportunities for your team? Whether you’re looking for a variety of fun events to do as a group or some fun virtual team building activities for remote staff, here’s a list of 37 ideas worth considering to help keep your workers engaged!
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- Foodie Employee Engagement Ideas
- Creativity-Based Employee Engagement Ideas
- Experience-Based Employee Engagement Ideas
- Virtual Employee Engagement Ideas
- Employee Engagement Ideas to Implement at Work
- More Team Building in Cities Near You
Foodie Employee Engagement Ideas
1. City Food Tours
Exploring the foodie scene in your own backyard is a great way to foster employee engagement on a unique level. The group will get to discover new local eateries and visit some familiar haunts, and you’ll get to learn about your team’s favorite foods and dining choices.
2. Private Chef Experiences
You can’t go wrong treating your team to a gourmet meal custom-made for their enjoyment. When you book a private chef experience, you and your team can choose a menu from a wide range of cuisines and enjoy watching your chef in action — no shopping, cooking or kitchen cleanup required.
3. Culinary Team Building Activities
Bonding over food and drinks is a sure-fire way to encourage employee engagement. Culinary-themed team building activities are centered around creating gourmet meals together — or competing head-to-head to see which team creates the best dish. Guided by some of the best chefs in the industry, each event offers a team building spin. Your employees will engage in collaborative activities and come away with skills they can use every day!
4. Cooking Classes
If your employees like a challenge, why not sign up for cooking classes to stir up a little fun employee engagement? They can create a whole meal or explore specialties like cookie decorating and pastry baking. They’ll learn in person from five-star chefs who make learning about food tasty and fun.
5. Online Cooking Classes
Working remotely doesn’t mean you can’t come together for a fun food-focused employee engagement activity. Online cooking classes are available to help your team boost morale from the comfort of their home kitchens.
Whether your team is full of established home cooks or they could use some online cooking classes for beginners to learn the ropes, they’ll get to use their own tools in their own environment to create enticing recipes. It’s a chance for your team to relax and explore their other talents while learning new skills and creating delicious things to eat.
6. Online Mixology Classes
Employee engagement activities often center around drinks and happy hours. So why not bring that energy to a remote employee engagement experience from the other side of the bar? With online mixology classes, your team can learn to shake, stir and swizzle a selection of refreshing beverages from top-tier mixologists across the globe.
They’ll learn classics and specialty drinks, explore the proper way to combine liquor for ultimate enjoyment and they’ll get to taste their concoctions when they’re finished.
7. Virtual Wine Tasting
The next best thing to a trip to Napa, virtual wine tastings will take your team through reds, whites and the finer points of wine culture under the guidance of world-class chefs and sommeliers with no travel necessary. They’ll learn how to pair foods with the proper wine, how to appreciate the bouquet and flavor notes, and so much more. Raise a glass to employee engagement!
8. Whiskey Tasting
If your team prefers whiskey over wine and craft cocktails, they'll love getting together for a whiskey tasting experience perfectly tailored to employee engagement. The group will get to sample the finest whiskey, bourbon and scotch selections while their very own scotch steward breaks down everything there is to know about these beloved spirits — including history, distilling methods, flavor notes, food pairings and more.
9. Distillery and Brewery Tours
If your team has never seen how beer and spirits are made, they’re in for a real treat. There are small-business local brewers and distillers in cities and towns across America who open their doors to the public to show off their craft.
These presentations are fascinating lessons in chemistry and industry and usually include a tasting or two and some intriguing facts about how flavors are achieved.
10. Cooking Contests
Get your workers out from behind their desks and into the kitchen to cook up their best versions of chili, salsa, chocolate chip cookies — whatever strikes their fancy. Then, host a blind tasting where everyone votes for their favorites.
Have a small prize for the winner: $5 gift cards for coffee or dining make fun awards or gifts for employees on these occasions.
11. Ice Cream or Doughnut Day
Surprise your workers with a little edible employee engagement such as a box of ice cream treats or a few dozen doughnuts. Encourage them to break away from their tasks for some happy conversation around the snack table. It’s a small appreciation for their big jobs, but small perks at work add up when it comes to keeping employees engaged and productive.
Creativity-Based Employee Engagement Ideas
12. Theater or Improv Class
If your team is up for a fun yet slightly risk-taking challenge, find a local theater or college that offers improv courses and sign your team up for one. There are few better exercises for strengthening collaboration and anticipation of the needs of others, and it’s a great method for getting beyond the work-centered personalities of your team to see their more playful sides in action!
13. Ceramic Classes
Make-and-take ceramic studios can be found in most malls and shopping centers and usually offer group lessons in glazing bare ceramic pieces. It’s a great way to engage your employees in a creative activity that everyone can enjoy, no matter their artistic skills.
14. Musical Performance
Musical tastes among your team are sure to vary wildly. Attending a concert together, even a small-venue performance at a coffee shop or a local watering hole, is a great employee engagement opportunity that exposes your team members to discoveries of new sounds they might never have made otherwise.
15. Museum Trips
How about a walk around the science museum to get your team’s brain juices flowing in a different direction? Or a visit to an art museum to explore the peaceful exhibitions of classic pieces or an exciting new installation? A museum trip as an employee engagement activity can be a relaxing break from the usual day that allows new perspectives to emerge within your team.
16. Assembly Challenge
Working together on a creative project is a primary example of encouraging collaboration during employee engagement activities. Have your team assemble the most aerodynamic paper airplane or make a robot out of recyclable materials. They can create their own designs or you can offer a blueprint for them to follow with challenges thrown in all along the way.
Does a soda can make a better robot’s arm or leg? How far can a roll of aluminum foil go? Let them explore their teamwork capabilities to find out!
17. Paint and Pour Events
Book a session at a studio and bring some wine or non-alcoholic beverages and snacks for your team to enjoy. Then, get ready to create masterpieces, either solo or in teams, and watch your workers learn new collaboration skills and develop a sense of camaraderie that’s sure to activate employee engagement in a whole new way.
18. Movie Day
When the workload gets super-heavy, it’s a nice reward to let your team disengage a little. It may seem counter-intuitive, but employee engagement sometimes takes the form of a relaxing activity that isn’t all that active. It also shows understanding from their leaders that their hard work is seen, heard and appreciated. A bit of a break may be exactly what’s needed to restore them to their full energy levels.
19. Office Decorating
Throw a Christmas tree-trimming party, have your teams decorate their cubes for Halloween or choose a movie or TV show-themed occasion and have your workers put their design skills to the test. Not only will you be encouraging employee engagement and teamwork, you’ll also be lightening the often-heavy office atmosphere with fun color and mood-boosting décor.
Experience-Based Employee Engagement Ideas
20. Scavenger Hunt
An easy employee engagement activity to put together, a scavenger hunt can encourage divergent thinking and spark collaborative play, depending on the list you put together.
If you're hosting a virtual scavenger hunt, you can make the searchable items things around the house or even web-based treasures to find. And if you’re up for a real creative challenge, you can put together a hunt in a shopping mall or other public space and have your team search for characters planted in various spots who deliver the listed items before handing out the next clues.
21. Indoor Skydiving
While this employee engagement activity isn’t for everyone, it’s a thrilling prospect for teams who like a little adventure in their engagement. Sometimes encouraging your workers to step beyond their comfort zones and try something daring is enough to inspire them to new heights of creativity when they return to the workplace.
22. Sky-High Obstacle Course
These tricky amusement activities involve teams and individuals maneuvering through walking courses made of suspension bridges and spaced stepping blocks while hovering several feet above the ground, all while attached to a cable for safety. It's an employee engagement idea that explores risk management and fear-conquering, and one best suited for the more daring among your workers!
23. Rock Wall Climbing
This employee engagement idea is perfect for exploring the various ways in which teams can communicate and work together to achieve a common goal. An instructor guides you in small sub-teams in collaborative climbing activities such as a “mission control” team giving verbal commands to the climber, who can only move when and where instructed.
Fun and challenging, it’s a great exercise in teamwork — and a great opportunity for team-based exercise!
24. Laser Tag
A fun way to let off steam in a safe, controlled environment, your workers can divide into teams and compete for high scores or separate into an everyone-for-themselves configuration and go for the gold. Employee engagement has rarely been so futuristic!
25. Escape Rooms
These are the height of collaborative employee engagement, encouraging teamwork, strategizing and divergent thinking while maximizing the various skill sets of the individual team members. And with a multitude of themes available from alien abductions to full-blown high fantasy, your team is sure to have an immersive cinematic experience like no other!
26. Sporting Events
There’s no better way to model teamwork during an employee engagement event than by watching an actual team. Try a spring training game if there’s one in your area to take advantage of the great outdoors or book an indoor event to give your workers the full sports arena experience.
27. Team Games
Getting your workers outside and involved in some physical activity is a tremendous opportunity to put their teamwork skills to the test. Try something simply with rules that are easily understood, like kickball or a cornhole competition, to make sure everyone is able to participate.
Virtual Employee Engagement Ideas
28. Online Team Building Activities
There are a slew of food-based online team building activities, from virtual tastings to online cooking classes, all conducted by highly qualified culinary professionals. Your team can engage without leaving their home offices and they’ll all have fun noshes to enjoy along the way!
29. Virtual Happy Hour
No need to reserve a table to fit the whole team for this one. You can raise a glass from the comfort of your own home space and enjoy some convivial employee engagement when the workday is done. And with a virtual happy hour, you can have them as frequently as you want; set up a recurring weekly or monthly calendar item to make sure everyone gets in on the fun.
30. Zoom Holiday Parties
Few employee engagement activities are as well-known as the office holiday party. Now that the home front doubles as the work front for so many, it’s easy to transfer the fun to a virtual holiday party.
For a bit of added coordination, plan a menu in which everyone prepares a different dish and reviews their creations as they sample them or tune into a website for some group-based holiday karaoke to make the festivities extra engaging.
31. Bell-Ringer Events
A simple way to activate employee engagement is to celebrate your workers’ accomplishments as they happen. If a deadline is met, a goal accomplished or a threshold reached, call an impromptu meeting or Zoom call and sing the praises of those who’ve achieved. Make sure to include any managers or team leads who might like to know how well their employees are performing.
32. Online Gaming
For an easy virtual get-together that involves strategic thinking, you can’t go wrong with a few rounds of online games for remote teams. Whether played in groups or as individuals, your workers can engage in friendly desktop competition that brings them together no matter how far apart they might be.
33. Chat Over Online Coffee Classes
Simply interacting with their coworkers in an informal social way is enough to improve employee morale and foster a sense of belonging, especially when everyone is working remotely. Have your team schedule some one-on-one time with each other setting up Zoom coffee chat sessions. Add an extra element of fun by treating them to online coffee classes, where they'll get to bond over learning to make café-quality coffee in their own kitchen.
Sharing knowledge of random facts about literally anything in the world is a great way to get employee engagement flowing. Choose from history, pop culture, science and more. And for more strategizing and coordinated play, split your workers into teams and have them collaborate on their answers in private chats.
35. Fitness Activity Challenge
Working from home often means sitting for the majority of the day, even more than working in an office. To help promote healthy habits for mind and body, suggest a step count contest and have your employees track their progress through the week or month.
Or, encourage small exercise breaks at the top of every hour, like 30 jumping jacks or a minute of jogging in place. It’ll help get your team out of their chairs and remind them to keep their blood and brains pumping throughout the day for a fitter, happier work experience.
36. Tik Tok Dance Contest
It’s pretty much everywhere online, so why not use it in your employee engagement activities? Have your team choose a Tik Tok dance to recreate, give them a little time to get in the groove and view the results together for a humor-filled event that reminds everyone that work life is easier and more enjoyable when laughter is involved!
37. Informational Talks
Each of your team members is an expert in a topic that has nothing to do with their jobs. So why not encourage some fun team engagement by having them create a 10-minute presentation that lets them expound on their best-known subjects?
Whether it’s cooking or car repair, painting or parenting, your team members are sure to come away with fun information about their workmates that personalizes them in a way they might not experience otherwise.
Employee Engagement Ideas to Implement at Work
38. Asking For Employees’ Input…and Acting On It
Every member of your staff comes from a different background and brings a unique range of experiences to the table. Show employees you value their perspective by asking for their feedback whenever possible. This could be as wide-scale as an anonymous survey or as personalized as a one-on-one session. Knowing their opinion matters motivates employees because it provides a sense of personal ownership in the workplace.
But feedback doesn’t end with asking. Actually implement their ideas whenever possible. Show the entire team the positive tangible results of their contribution.
39. Going Away Parties
It’s never fun to say goodbye to a stellar team member, but one of the best ideas for both employee engagement and workplace morale is to throw a going away party for an employee moving on to new opportunities. Going away party ideas for the workplace include anything from the classic potluck or pizza lunch to a game day (or night) where you call in for lunch or dinner and let everyone kick back with their favorite board game or fun activity.
40. Social Spaces
There’s something to be said for the proverbial workplace water cooler. It’s where you get to know your coworkers and keep up-to-date on the happenings of their lives. Social spaces like this are key to workplace engagement, but why limit it to the water cooler? Create chat corners by grouping a bunch of comfortable sofas at conversation-friendly angles. Get a pingpong table; install a coffee bar. If your team is remote, schedule social sessions over Zoom or Skype where employees meet and mingle with someone else on the team.
41. Milestone Celebrations
Acknowledging both professional and personal milestones in employees’ lives lets them know how valuable they are not only as part of the organization, but also as individuals. Celebrate birthdays, graduations, community awards, their work anniversary and the like with anything from a cake in their favorite flavor to a card with a message that fits them and only them.
42. Wellness Benefits
Companies that provide wellness benefits for employees report higher job satisfaction rates and lower turnover. With stress playing a role in roughly 90% of doctor’s visits, any perk you can add to employees’ days to lessen tension and anxiety is a major boon to both their health and the health of the company. For perks, consider a meditation room where employees can shut their eyes and breathe in silence, a nap room for a refreshing snooze, or free on-site massages or exercise classes. It may sound counterintuitive to productivity and engagement at first, but as Intuit reports, research shows otherwise.
What is employee engagement and why is it important?
Your own distinct employee engagement definition can take many forms. Overall, employee engagement is a necessary aspect of any workplace, a way to keep workers focused, passionate, productive and excited about their work. It’s a great way for leaders to demonstrate their commitment to their team by planning activities that inspire engagement and interaction among team members.
Many times, workers will look to one another to spark their own enthusiasm for their job. The more engaged your workers can be, the more effective they’ll be at contributing to the organization.
What are examples of employee engagement?
Training, one-on-one time with leadership and managers, round-robin meetings and team building games are all examples of employee engagement. These give leaders an opportunity to meet their workers on a less formal level and learn more about what excites them in their work while allowing team members who might not otherwise interact to have a chance to get to know one another and learn from each other. Improved teamwork is a great outcome of employee engagement!
How do you increase employee engagement?
It’s best to make sure your employees feel heard, that their work needs are being met and that they have an open line of communication to their leaders in order to facilitate ongoing employee engagement. This can become difficult, especially during busy periods or when workplace changes occur.
It’s especially important to provide a sense of stability amidst the fluctuations to make sure your employees stay engaged. This can be achieved with simple Employee Appreciation Day gestures like lunches and happy hours, or with work-based functions like team building events and offsite excursions.
How do you measure employee engagement?
The impact of employee engagement can be seen in increased productivity, a higher quality of output and an overall sense of fulfillment and satisfaction expressed by employees who feel that their energy at work is well spent and appreciated by their leaders. Many times, this is reflected in measurable work performance and an increased desire to take on greater tasks and more complex commitments.
What are the benefits of employee involvement?
When employees are engaged, the whole organization experiences a smoother flow, a better sense of belonging, increased productivity and job satisfaction that leads to improved work performance and a more successful operation all the way around!
Whether you manage a team of three or a department of 30, ensuring employee engagement to and employee happiness to keep your workers productive is a vital element of work culture. It helps ensure a successful work experience for everyone involved, which leads to a successful workplace. And keeping them engaged doesn’t have to be a complicated task. It just takes a little thoughtfulness and some preparation.
There are plenty of resources available to help you plan engaging team building activities. And if budget and location are considerations, these challenges can be overcome easily with online options and DIY employee engagement activities. The internet is your best friend in this situation and doing your research can pay off nicely when it comes time to pull the team together.
Don’t forget that you’re an employee, too! Part of the challenge is to keep yourself engaged while engaging others. When everyone feels like their contribution is recognized and appreciated, the whole team becomes a more productive, happy and successful crew, ready to take on whatever comes their way.
For even more employee engagement ideas, check out other experiences on Cozymeal.
More Team Building in Cities Near You
Check out more exciting team building activities in cities near you.