15 Ingenious Employee Engagement Ideas to Try Out in 2024

Improve employee attendance

Organizations that prioritize employee engagement often see increased profitability, higher customer satisfaction, and a better overall reputation in the industry.

Engaged employees are more committed, productive, and motivated to achieve the organization’s goals. They are also more likely to stay with the organization, reducing turnover and recruitment costs.

However, according to Gallup’s recent State of the Workplace report, 85% of employees are not engaged at work.

Employee engagement drivers include effective communication, recognition, career development opportunities, and a positive work environment. Here’s how to build it.

Employee Engagement Ideas for Online Teams

When working remotely, employees may feel isolated and disconnected from their colleagues and the organization. Communication becomes more challenging, leading to a lack of clarity, miscommunication, and misunderstandings. This brings about confusion, frustration, and a lack of engagement.

To overcome these challenges, organizations need to encourage their distributed teams to get to know each other better and start spending more time together outside work.

1. Hi-tech drawing competition

Drawing each other using a neural network can be fun, not to mention it will help you to showcase your creativity and express a positive attitude towards your colleagues.

What’s the plan?
Find a neural network that is known to produce decent images and brief your employees on creating image descriptions. Next, let them select models and share their masterpieces in a virtual picture gallery.

Neural network generated portrit

Estimated time: 30 minutes
Time slot: coffee break
Resources: Access to a free or paid neural network

Neural networks to try:

Pro tip: Use photos to help produce high-quality results even with the basic prompts.

2. Multiplayer game night

By creating a virtual environment that is enjoyable and stress-free, you can strengthen relationships in a team or between teams. An online game night is a perfect opportunity for your colleagues to unwind and bond with each other.

What’s the plan?
Select a shooter, RPG, quest, or quiz everybody loves, ensure it’s easy to install and run on desktop or mobile and arrange a company-wide game session.

Estimated time: 4+ hours
Time slot: time after work
Resources: A mobile or desktop game installed on all the participants’ devices

Games to try:

Some of your team members can’t make it – no problem at all! Replace the night with a continuous puzzle games championship and share your results on Facebook.

Pro tip: Games make time fly like an arrow, so it’s advisable to plan the event the event beforehand and make sure there will be enough people to form teams.

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3. Show-and-tell

By encouraging employees to share their interests and hobbies, you can foster a sense of community and encourage collaboration. Besides that, a show-and-tell game will give a great kickstart to a meeting and drive the boredom away.

What’s the plan?
Ask your colleagues to show something that is precious to them, a favorite toy or a cool gadget.

Estimated time: 5+ minutes per employee
Time slot: meeting

Pro tip: Prepare your story in advance and be the first one to get open.

4. Themed day

Themed days create a festive atmosphere, bring people together, and break the monotonous routine. By selecting a theme that is relevant to your organization or industry, you can also increase motivation and encourage collective enthusiasm.

What’s the plan?
Select a theme, e.g., Star Wars or Harry Potter, and offer your colleagues to dress up as their favorite movie or game characters and spend the whole day this way.

Time slot: meeting
Pro tip: Not all may be ready for such a radical change. So you may start with themed Zoom and Google Meet backgrounds.

Starwars Zoom background


5. Hakathon

By encouraging employees to work together on a project outside of their normal job responsibilities, you can promote cross-functional collaboration and foster a culture of innovation.
Hackathons are internal company competitions where developer teams build solutions for a specific problem or around a specific theme. However, you can hold a hackathon for just any team, including marketing, sales, QA, etc., and make it last for a few hours instead of a few weeks.

What’s the plan?
Select an interesting problem your business is facing, develop the requirements for the solution, give it to the interested teams, and wait for the solution to be presented.

Estimated time: 1.5 hours
Time slot: lunch break/time after work
Resources: online workspace, a virtual whiteboard, or any other tool that lets people collect ideas quickly and easily.

Pro tip: Invite a facilitator or a coach when working with big teams.

6. Virtual escape room

Virtual escape rooms are not too different from physical ones. They offer immersive and challenging experiences which promote teamwork and boost your employees’ problem-solving skills.

What’s the plan?

There’s none, actually. You just reserve the time, join the virtual space and work hard altogether to find the way out.

Estimated time: 2+ hours
Time slot: after work
Resources: Access to a free or paid virtual escape room

Escape rooms to try (all free):

Pro tip: This idea doesn’t fit the teams noted for lack of cooperation, as the unexpected challenges will only increase tension.

Employee Engagement Ideas for Offline Teams

Despite being together 40+ hours a week, offline teams also struggle to get engaged at work. Problems may be caused by poor recognition, the inability to maintain a healthy work-life balance, or the lack of employee development opportunities.

To overcome these challenges, organizations need to increase their comfort and dissolve the tension that may arise.

7. Mystery Lunch

Mystery lunches let employees meet and connect with colleagues from different departments or teams. They promote cross-functional collaboration and build stronger relationships.

What’s the plan?
Prepare a list of questions that would help absolute strangers get to know each other over a relaxed conversation. Randomly pair your employees and ask them to have lunch together in a local cafe or canteen they both like. Offer the questionnaire you prepared to those who feel too shy.

Estimated time: 1 hour
Time slot: lunch break

Pro tip: Try to be wise when creating pairs. Ensure that their work schedules and food preferences don’t clash.

8. Desk Decoration Competition

Desk decoration competitions and office makeover challenges bring excitement and change. Apart from that can boost your employee morale and simply liven up the workspace.

What’s the plan?
Ask your employees to decorate their desks in a certain style and vote for the best idea and implementation.

Estimated time: 2+ hours
Time slot: coffee break

Pro tip: If you select Halloween, Christmas, Thanksgiving, or another popular holiday as your theme, you can buy some simple decorations and give them to those who couldn’t or didn’t want to participate to motivate them.

9. Garage Sale

A garage sale is much more than just an opportunity to declutter and find new homes for some useful but unwanted items. By organizing a garage sale at the workplace, you promote sustainability and conscious consumption.

What’s the plan?
You set the date, arrange a place, and ask your colleagues to bring their lots to work. During the lunch break, they will display them to potential buyers and sell them.

Estimated time: 3+ hours
Time slot: lunch break
Resources: a place to display the goods and sticky notes to use as price labels

Pro tip: The prices shouldn’t be high. Actually, you can completely exclude the money from the process and offer people to exchange their things for sweet treats or other goodies they like. All the staff left unsold can be donated to charity organizations.

10. Potluck lunch

Potluck lunches are a lot about diversity and inclusion. They give your employees a chance to share their cultural foods and bond over a meal.

What’s the plan?
Let your colleagues bring their favorite dishes to work to share and enjoy.

Estimated time: 1 hour
Time slot: lunch break/coffee break
Resources: A hall or a coffee point where everyone can gather, plates and cutlery

Potluck lunch

Pro tip: If you don’t have the capacity for a big gathering, opt for a cook-off competition where people present their signature receipts.

Employee Engagement Tips and Tricks for HRs

Businesses need to be proactive in identifying and addressing potential issues that may impact employee engagement, such as communication breakdowns, lack of collaboration, or burnout. And this is where HRs come into play.

HRs are responsible for creating and implementing strategies to promote employee engagement and retention. They play a key role in understanding the needs and motivations of employees and designing policies and programs that meet those needs.

So our last but not least section is devoted to how an HR should act to make the company staff members motivated, productive, and committed to the organization’s success.

11. Acts of Appreciation

Rewarding employees and celebrating their accomplishments is a simple and effective way to engage employees and increase employee morale. However, we often celebrate work instead of celebrating people, and this should definitely change.

  • Showcase your employees’ personal achievements and important moments along with their hard work;
  • Build a strong acknowledgment culture by letting people reward each other through tools like Giftigram or Fond;
  • Offer extra personalized bonuses such as tickets to local events to the winners of exciting titles like “Sales Rep of the Month” or “The Most Productive QA.”

12. Training and mentorship

New hires are not the only ones in need of your care and attention. All staff members equally want to develop new skills and advance in their careers. By investing in employee development, you can increase employee efficiency and retention.

  • Make sure new employees can reach out to their more experienced peers and get the knowledge and support they are looking for;
  • Make a list of the renowned industry conferences and events available across the company and allocate be ready to purchase access to the most popular ones;
  • Don’t hesitate to invite coaches, influencers, and representatives of similar companies for networking and experience exchange.

13. Wellness programs

Offering access to online or offline wellness courses shows your employees you prioritize their health and well-being over your revenue.

  • Find a program that offers maximum flexibility in terms of time and choice of courses;
  • Encourage whole teams to join together;
  • Adapt your office cafe menu to the needs of those who train or just want to eat healthily.

Wellness in the office

14. Merchandise givaways

Branded apparel constantly reminds your colleagues of the company’s values and goals. By offering merchandise as a reward or incentive, you can provide a sense of belonging and increase retention.

  • Create a kit to equip a comfortable working environment;
  • Send out branded birthday gifts and appreciation trinkets;
  • Make your merchandise sustainable and helpful.

15. Surveys

By listening to employee feedback and taking action to address their concerns, you maintain transparency and trust and make your staff feel valued.

  • Poll your teams on a regular basis to ensure they are satisfied with their work;
  • Create a messaging channel to collect suggestions on how you can make the working environment better;
  • Be transparent and regularly report about the implemented and planned improvements.

The Final Word

By investing in employee engagement, you invest in the long-term success of your business. To make sure your investment pays off, you just need to find the activities and measures that resonate with your company culture and plan them the right way.


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