Over the past several years, Hogan has held an annual Game Day as a way to bring everyone together and have a little fun on a Friday afternoon. Hogan Game Day involves teams competing in a series of Minute to Win It-style challenges where individuals earn points for their teams based on successful completion of the game. Not only does the winning team get a swanky trophy and bragging rights for the year, they also get to make a donation to the charity of their choice.
Given our ambitious and driven nature, things can get a little competitive. Your teammates are cheering you on, while the competition will do whatever it takes to rattle your concentration and get in your head, which can make stacking chocolate Ding Dongs on your forehead pretty challenging.
Beyond the fun of taking a Friday afternoon off to compete in silly games with your coworkers, Game Day serves another important function – it helps get people engaged. Hogan recently published a whitepaper on the importance of engagement in the workplace. One of the key points from this paper was that engagement has an impact on a company’s bottom-line. When employees are disengaged, productivity suffers.
So, how do we get (and keep) employees engaged? Research shows that it starts with senior management. When bosses treat their employees with concern and respect, workers tend to feel valued and will go above expectations.
There are many techniques bosses have at their disposal to help increase employee engagement. Although extravagant corporate outings like whitewater rafting excursions tout their ability to help build and engage teams through improved communication skills and enhanced trust among team members, these excursions are not only costly but incredibly time consuming. Luckily, there are much simpler ways for managers to get their employees engaged.
The first step for organizations to increase engagement is to hire employees that are more likely to be engaged. An obvious first step would be to hire people that possess the relevant knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to perform the job. However, there is more to engagement than simply being able to perform the job. It’s important that people also like their job. As such, understanding organizational and cultural fit is imperative to having engaged employees. If people do not find congruence between their values and the values of the company, we are more likely to see dissatisfied and disengaged workers.
Once the right people are in the position, it is important to keep people engaged. A few ways to keep people engaged include increased communications between boss and employee, providing opportunities for stretch assignments, and hosting events that display appreciation for the employees. When managers have regular communications with their employees, they have an opportunity to reinforce how the employee’s work has contributed to achieving the mission of the organization, which should help provide a sense of meaning for their job. Providing stretch opportunities allows managers to challenge their workers and allow them a chance to grow their skill sets and responsibilities. Lastly, having appreciation events such as game days and other outside the office gatherings can allow workers to have fun and bond with one another. Probably the most important thing to consider with any engagement activity is to be genuine. If the initiative seems forced, chances are the employees will see right through it and the activity may backfire.