Need some new ideas for better employee engagement?

This the third blog article in my series on how to ignite and sustain a positive work culture.  In case you missed them, here are my previous two posts – 10 Simple Ways to Improve Your Work Culture and  Building a Positive Work Culture Starts with Intentional Influence.  I focused on ways to better communicate with your team.  In this post, I share some of my favorite ideas to get employees actively engaged in your team.

These are fun and easy, low cost ideas. These engagement activities have all been embraced by the workgroups I’ve led over the years.  Note: Not all employees will be on board with all activities. My advice: spend less time worrying about that and more time offering different activities. Even your biggest critics will eventually find one they enjoy.

Coordinate a Lunch and Learn

Invite your colleagues to meet around a specific interest area.  We’ve  held book groups, choir rehearsals (for our annual recognition event), trainings on unique skills, information sharing (budgeting, hiking), and recaps of unique vacations.

Gather Games

Bring in favorite games (Scrabble, Yahtzee, Uno, Checkers) into a shared space (break or lunch room area).  It may take a while to catch on, but eventually people will get hooked on a fun way to take a break together.

Enjoy the Outdoors Together

If you have outdoor space where people can congregate, get a big plastic bin.  Ask your team to bring in Frisbees, badminton gear, a croquet set etc.  This will get folks moving together during break time and lunch.

Hold a Fundraiser

Organize a miniature golf course tournament that gets everyone involved. Have 9 people (for 9-hole mini-golf) volunteer to decorate their workspaces.  Charge a small fee to play  and donate the proceeds to a local charity.

Have a Cook or Bake-Off

Hold a chili cook-off,  pie-baking contest, or cookie bake-off.  Some people love the friendly competition. Others are in it for the good food.  Make everyone a judge. Use  tickets or poker chips to let everyone vote for their favorite and award small prizes to the winners.

Coordinate Office Olympics

Do some teambuilding around office themed competitions.  Keep it safe (I don’t recommend an office chair race – trust me on this).  Try stacking pencils, wastebasket basketball, or meeting memory (whisper an assignment from one person to the next and see how close it ends up to the original).  The photo for this post is of a puzzle competition (which team can complete the child puzzle fastest). Look around you for inspiration, break into teams and have fun.  Give out small awards for the winning team/individuals.

Do a Service Project

Contact a local charity, and team up with colleagues to help on an after hours service project.  Teaming up outside of work is a great way to build morale and give back to the community together.

Attend a Local Sports Event

It really doesn’t matter what it is: baseball, football, basketball, whatever.

Take a Minute to Celebrate

Consider having birthday buddies for each month.  We held a short (10 min) party each month.

Tip – Keep it Simple and Low Cost:

  • a treat to share with the team (cupcakes, ice cream sundae, etc.)
  • a short birthday song (This is your birthday song, it isn’t very long – hey!)

Start a Workplace Trivia Board

Use a common (or unused) whiteboard to post a trivia question of the day.  Pick a regular time to share the answer.  We revealed the answer at 1:00 pm each day. People gather points for the correct answer and at the end of the month win a small prize.

If you have other team engagement ideas you’ve had success with, I’d love to hear from you so I can add it to the list!


Betty Lochner is the CEO of Cornerstone Coaching & Training. She is an expert in workplace communications and specializes in personal and organizational transformation. She provides individual and group coaching and training in leadership, communication skills, culture change, building teams and employee engagement.

Betty is the author of two books on communication: Dancing with Strangers, and 52 Communication tips – both are available on To find out more about Cornerstone’s services visit