The days are now longer, the birds are singing and the pollen count is off the charts. Yes, spring has finally sprung, although I’m not sure some of my friends who woke up to snow today would agree. It’s funny how just the thought of this season brings with it smiles and optimism even though it’s just another date on the calendar. I, however, love any excuse to be able to impart some wisdom on why you need to care about engaging your employees.
It’s hard to remain ‘down in the dumps’ when it’s so beautiful outside but when you work eight to ten hours a day, many times in a windowless work environment and don’t have time for lunch, you don’t always notice the beauty of what’s going on around you. This is especially true for people who have literally quit in their chairs, while still physically present in the workplace. It’s time to shake the rust off these folks with some spring-cleaning.
Here are some ideas that I’ve gotten from managers and a few I’ve tried myself that just might work:
- Carve out a Friday where no meetings are allowed to be scheduled and call it a ‘clean up’ day. Bring in those really large garbage and recycle bins and place them in a central part of the work environment. The goal of the day is to encourage everyone to clean out their workspaces and throw out stuff that’s not necessary and bogging them down. It’s amazing how a clean desk can bring you joy!
- Throw a potluck International lunch where everyone is encouraged to bring in a dish that represents his or her particular heritage. Not only will it be delicious, but it will also be a great way to celebrate diversity.
- Support wellness initiatives in the workplace, whether it is weight loss, smoking cessation, fitness or the like. Your employees need to know that you care about them as people first and foremost.
- Put up a whiteboard or corkboard in a central location and post only one rule: no gripes or badmouthing allowed. This is a recognition graffiti board whose sole purpose is to encourage people to share their thanks or kudos for others in the workplace.
- Hold a town hall meeting and bring all your employees together in one place (and don’t forget to link in your remote workers) to do the following:
- Provide an update on the state of the business including financials
- Talk about your top three strategic business imperatives for the coming year
- Invite 2-3 mid level business leaders to educate the organization on a new product introduction, project update or cross-functional work team for example. It’s a great way to recognize their work and get others excited about things going on in the organization
- Leave plenty of time for a robust Q&A session, including some that come in anonymously in advance as well as in-the-moment ones
- Always remember to provide the ‘why behind the what’ and give context rather than just information
- Create an environment where FUN is a welcome cornerstone to your foundation upon which culture and engagement can thrive.
It doesn’t take a lot of resources, both time and dollars, to create an engaging culture. It is all about getting back to basics, and simply connecting with your employees. It’s the little things that mean the most when you treat people with respect. It’s always great to remember that we are not human resources, nor human capital, but rather we are all just human beings. Let’s spring forward with this in mind.