As we move into the second year of the Work from home normal, 2021 has become a pivotal year for many companies. The workplace has changed, with that, the need for employees to be informed, engaged and motivated has gained paramount importance. In the wake of the coronavirus crisis there is a new awareness amongst HR & Internal communications teams towards online employee engagement. While a decade ago intranet and wikis bolstered knowledge sharing & collaboration, this decade is the onset of a new era. The era of company social networks. Virtual event platforms & employee apps are in the forefront of building these internal social networks.
Last year has seen some of the best creative ideas in online employee engagement. Following are the 21 ideas best liked by the employees
1. Comedy Club
Laughter is the best medicine – you won’t find a better way to get your employees in an upbeat mood than to host your company’s own comedy club. Invite professional stand-up comedians for a live show, or let that hidden comic-genius amongst your colleagues have a go at office humor. Best results are seen when hosted monthly on Wednesdays, to help employees get over the mid-week hump.
TIP: Don’t forget to come up with a funny name for the company’s comedy club
2. Virtual Workout
The best gift you can give to your employees is to make fitness their favourite habit. A large percentage of your employees might have already subscribed to individual fitness classes, but doing a virtual workout with your colleagues creates that healthy bond. With Nunify, you can go live with a fitness trainer or livestream a pre-recorded fitness video. Best results are when hosted weekly on Mondays to help employees get over those Monday blues.
TIP : Online Meditation is also a great stress-busting workout
3. #WFH Cook Off
There is a chef within all of us and of course, who doesn’t miss those amazing office potlucks? So while those potlucks might be rare today, there is no reason we can’t go behind the scenes and enjoy live cooking – masterchef style. Whether it is a mystery box challenge of making something sweet with vegetables or cooking a 3 course meal in 30 minutes, or baking the most creative cake – your employees will have a ton of fun! For best results, host these activities over the weekend.
TIP: Leverage your employee app to upload recipes and create your company’s Cookbook
4. Virtual Trivia
When was the company founded? What is the origin of our company name? How many kids below 12 do all our employees have? What is the name of our Company employee app? Who was our company’s first female hire? Listen to this song and guess which movie is it from? How many times in the past year was Suez canal blocked? Time to form the trivia committee who run weekly trivia themes. This activity works best when hosted on a weekday at 3:30 PM.
TIP: Assign teams so you can track team leaderboards too, besides individual winners
5. Virtual Concert
Nothing can be more relaxing than enjoying a live concert and with Nunify, you can stream a pre-recorded concert as well reduce the stress of internet issues when live. Don’t forget to uncover those hidden musicians and give them the exposure they’ve never had. Best results when hosted quarterly. Check out our experience with virtual concerts
TIP: Poll your employees for their favourite bands they want to hear live
6. Photo Contests
No place can be forgotten if you have memorable photos to look back on. Use employee apps to build your company’s Instagram. It could be the best Hallowen costume contest, or best #WFH photo, or a ‘Me & My pet’ contest, or a ‘You-as-a-Baby’ series. Collect them to build a surprise company scrapbook and don’t forget to promote the company’s favourite photos on social media. Best results when hosted bi-weekly, with winners announced on Sundays.
TIP: Choose an employee app platform that provides custom AR photo frames & hashtags
7. Team Video Contests
Lights, Camera, Action! Time to challenge teams to produce their own movies with creative storylines, seamless camerawork and collaborative execution. We have observed this to be most successful when done with teams. Pre-covid, Mannequin Challenge was the favourite. With everyone working remotely these days #dontrushchallenge is gaining popularity. Best results seen when hosted bi-monthly.
TIP: Don’t forget to share a sample video and some tips
8. Company Radio
“Good morning everybody – it’s 9:01 am and you are listening to our company radio show. We are on for the next 2 hours with our company CEO sharing the emerging trends in 2021, followed by a curated playlist by our Operations team. Feel free to raise your hand to come live on-air. If you are already in a meeting we got you covered – today’s show will be in the podcast section of our employee app.”
Get your employees on-board and excited for the day with a company radio that lets them learn, unwind, and participate in activities.
TIP: To get an audience run live contests
9. Virtual Office Water Cooler Hour
Nope not all water cooler talk needs to be gossip. Have a live office cooler hour for anyone to join in to share their personal or team experiences. It could be about the new baking recipe they tried out yesterday or the best sales anecdote – give a platform for those stories to be heard. Best results seen when the activity is hosted every Friday!
TIP: Don’t over-moderate, trust your employees to self discipline – after all, you hired them!
10. Live Gravity Challenge
Confused? Made popular on Tik Tok & Instagram this challenge is simple except lets do it live!
Choose a male and a female colleague and bring them live. Ask them to get on all fours, then ask them to rest their forearms on the floor, followed by their elbows, with their faces resting in their hands. Then, they quickly move their arms from the ground to behind their back. Here is how others fared! This activity is best done once.
TIP: Our bet is that women crush it. Don’t forget to record the challenge.
11. Company Got Talent
Everyone is born with a talent that is meant to be shared. Promote it with recorded auditions uploaded in the employee app resulting in virtual events with live judges scoring. And who says it needs to end in one day? Best results are seen when this activity is done annually with a multi-month event and multiple rounds, just like every other “Got-talent TV show”
TIP: Everyone’s a winner so have a giveaway for every participant.
12. The Home Treasure Hunt
“Go fetch something that is company’s brand color”
“Take a picture of the view outside your window”
“Solve the puzzle which is our company’s first product on the app”
“Who was our first client”
“Upload what’s for lunch today”
“Bring an item that starts with N”
Mix up trivia, photo contests, videos contests, puzzles to have timed scavenger hunts to create icebreakers between teams or new employees. Try to organize this activity as a surprise during a weekday for best result.
TIP: Do a random lottery to pick teams before you start.
13. Micro-Learning Virtual Workshops
Learning never stops and it doesn’t always need to be about work. Invite external experts or find one within your company to continuously teach and learn new skills & techniques. It could be How to bake your own sourdough, or 30 must use shortcuts in excel, or Under 5 minutes makeup essentials – no dearth of topics. Best results done weekly.
TIP: Keep it short and have limited seats – let your audience ask for more.
14. Online Book Club
Reading is a dying art with the onset of social media & netflix. All great leaders are readers and a company book club can be a great start to find your next generation of leaders. Use your employee app to build a digital library with recommendations from avid book fans. Host book club meetups to discuss the book-of-the-month.
TIP: Internal podcasts could be used to promote audio books but be careful of copyrights
15. Company Cribs
Remember MTV Cribs? Let’s go live weekly into one of our colleague’s homes. Let them give us a tour of their home and share their favourite things. If they feel comfortable we get to say hi to their family and it surely is a great way to know each other on a personal level
TIP : Ideal for small teams where all team members are comfortable
16. Virtual Karaoke Battle
Do we need to say more? Best results when done anytime – every night can be karaoke night and convert it to be a championship with brackets!
TIP : Your CEO & COO have to be the first ones to battle it out with live results
17. Back to the Future Photo Contest
A fun monthly contest where you ask your employees to go through their phone gallery and upload the share of their favourite photo they clicked last month. Bonus if they caption it. Crowdsource winners and award them digital badges that they can showcase in the employee app’s leaderboard.
TIP: Yes you will be amazed by the variety
18. Virtual Offsite & Team Dinners
If we can enjoy virtual birthdays and virtual weddings we surely can have a virtual offsite with our teams ending with an amazing dinner that everyone orders from their favourite restaurant nearby. Don’t forget to send them their offsite goodies – what better way to surprise them and have everyone wear the offsite hoodie at the virtual event
TIP: Add frequent breaks and trim the agenda
19. Virtual Culture Trip
Who doesn’t miss their annual vacation to new places? While we can’t wait to get back to travelling, let’s make the best of what we have. A virtual culture tour from our colleagues. With an increasingly diverse workforce coming from different countries & cultures, ask individuals to share unique culture facts & tips. So when we are back to travelling, our colleague’s hometown would surely be an option . Best results done monthly.
TIP: Make it interactive by asking them to teach us a few words in their language
20. Virtual Celebrations
Use push notifications, virtual events , app contests and more to celebrate festivals, company milestones, individual achievements, diversity, anniversaries & birthdays. Celebrate small wins and most importantly celebrate each other.
21. Let’s Hope to Meet as a Team In-Person Soon!
To wrap up, the 21 ideas we listed above will help make your employee engagement program more interactive, inclusive, fun and motivated. Just remember to get creative, think outside the box, and ask your team what they want. Don’t forget to share with us your ideas.