Build a thriving workplace culture and enhanced candidate experience – 10 engagement ideas

Quality employee engagement programs are as much of a selling point as any employee benefits outlined in the employee handbook. These programs and engagement ideas enhance the corporate culture within the organization. It is through strategic and thoughtful programs that candidates find the real engagement that they crave.

Prospective team members want to see organizations who care about the employees as well as the work produced. It is essential to show how employees are valued within the organization. Candidates should see an organization which understands the value of employee satisfaction. When employees feel appreciated and satisfied with their purpose within the team, they strive to excel and provide that extra effort to help the organization excel.

These ten engagement ideas are guidelines to enhance the overall candidate experience and create strong support foundations for current employees.

Achievement and Appreciation

Everyone wants acknowledgment of a job well done. Acknowledgments could be an “Employee of the Month” award or even an annual award presented to an outstanding employee. What if the recognition comes from peer nominations? Being honored by one’s peers often has more meaning and builds stronger bonds within the team. Establish a peer nominating program where team members promote team recognition. At a minimum, peer encouragement will develop stronger bonds and loyalty within the group itself.

Seek opportunities to highlight achievements and celebrate personal goals, where employees are cared about for more than just their job. Celebrations of the “whole individual” creates a strong culture within your organization of acceptance and enthusiastic engagement. For example, if a team member has completed his or her first 10K, you support and applaud the employee’s determination out of the office so that they know those team characteristics are valued both at work and play.

Invest in Education

New candidates want to know that you encourage the opportunity for professional development. Inspiring all team members to explore educational opportunities demonstrates an investment that supports a growth mindset throughout the organization. Thinking outside the cubicle should not only be required but encouraged. Ensuring that benefits for tuition, professional memberships, and even time to attend conferences shows candidates and employees that your organization commits to developing a mindset that encourages growth for all team members.  

Team Building

Explore ways to incorporate simple team-building games within your team. You don’t need to play all day. Nor should you turn your office space into a ball pit. However, encouraging breaks and team outings can benefit the individual and the team, overall. This game time might momentarily pause the workflow but develops better team interaction. Try hosting lunch alongside a few simple board or card games to increase communication between members who might otherwise be eating lunch at their desks. Here are some ideas for the best new board games. Who knows, you might even start a trend. Who’s ready for Monopoly Mondays?

Another idea moves the team outside the office and away from a planned team building session. What if you got your team together for some kickball on Friday? Team up against another company team or set up a league. See what fun you can have out on the field. Anything that gets your employees moving and working together to build their strategy outside of the office. Extend an invitation to prospective candidates so they can see how the team works in the office and out on the playing field.

Inside Information

A vital part of engaging current and prospective team members is providing opportunities for them to learn new aspects of the company. Have a day where they can gain inside information to what other groups and departments do. Discovering what it is like to work at the call center, the distribution center or even the finance department presents a more global and inclusive look at the organization. It shows how every part of the team must work together to achieve the organization’s mission. Create a candidate experience that provides opportunities to look inside different aspects of the organization. Prospective candidates bring new opportunities with them. Now is your chance to show what opportunities are provided by being a part of the whole organization.

In addition to exploring other departments, it is essential to develop programs like “Take your child to work day.” Programs like this one not only encourages career possibilities within the younger generation, it allows employees to showcase what they do. Adapting programs like this is a significant way to promote career enhancement for adults. Candidates and employees alike can take a look at a different career and see what pathways might be available.

Explore Social Media Outlets

Social media is a part of our everyday culture, and it is critical to remain engaged on social media platforms throughout all the stages of an employee’s life cycle within your organization. gives you a critical opportunity to spotlight areas within employee relations that may need improvement and what is working well. It can provide a unique perspective that is not found in employee surveys. Having the guidance to know what areas of the employee connection should be addressed will create a stronger organization overall. Exploring these opportunities will enhance a candidate’s view of your organization, as well as current employees.

Welcome Wagon

From the start of the recruitment process, a candidate should feel welcomed. It is integral to create a welcome that reaches far outside the hiring scope into becoming part of the team. Develop unique ways to ensure that new talent integrates quickly into the team atmosphere. Build a system that provides a candidate with a mentor or team member who can help them navigate the hiring process from recruitment to welcoming aboard. This is more than a connection through the HR office but someone connected to the team they are potentially joining.  

An example of an epic welcome would be like the one shown here at Snack Nation’s new employee recognition. Showcase new employees while the whole team is there to cheer them on. The introductions are short but provide a little something extra about each new team member. This unique touch displays to the whole team that this person is exceptional and there is more to them than just being new to your program.

Health and Wellness Programs

Wellness programs have become more than just the standard health benefits that correspond to a job description. Integrated programs throughout the organization’s culture preview how the organization makes health and wellness a priority. This priority only enhances the organization’s brand to customers, candidates, and employees.

Specific programs could involve office challenges, which are one of the best ways to incorporate health and team building. Look toward community goals. Get the team involved in creating their unique challenge. It could be most steps in a week using pedometers. Perhaps a water challenge which team members tally how many ounces they are drinking this week. Alternatively, set up a way that your employees have an exercise streak. Their reward is better health and perhaps a bonus of building stronger employee connections.

Volunteer Opportunities

Employees today want to be more than just someone “checking-in” to work. They want their work to mean something. More than that, they want an organization that has a mission and values that connect to things that they feel are important. Employees want to be a part of something bigger.

It is important that team members find volunteer opportunities. They want to make a difference, and many times they want to make a difference for more than just one day. Find ways to coordinate group efforts. It could be organizing programs for Make a Difference Day, working with Habitat for Humanity, or even a river clean up. Sharing time helping others makes for a stronger employee community.

Learning Coalition

Create a learning coalition. This coalition is a team-learning community where individuals can develop and learn new ideas. It could be reviewing new office strategies or setting up an office book club where the group discussion happens over lunch. Try a selected book or video that relates to your work. Have the team review the selection and then gather for a group discussion. Start small; think big. Try something more than just a bag lunch lecture. Set up opportunities to learn with programs like “Great Courses” or TED talks. Gather together and learn a new skill or specialty. Exploring topics and learning a variety of new subjects will expand the collective narrative.

Ownership Consortium

The best way to engage your employees is ensuring they have ownership of the process. Make the engagement come from their collective ideas. When an idea comes from the employee base, they are more likely to participate. It might be something as simple as picking the music playlist for the office for one afternoon a week. Perhaps they have been working hard all week and need a fun break at 4:00 on Friday. A Friday Funday social may be something they coordinate for the team once a month or every week. By putting the program design in the hands of the individual team members, they become owners of the engagement program and vested in its success. They will feel valued and look to ensure future success for the organization as a whole.

Creating quality employee engagement programs is elemental to developing a candidate experience that will set your organization apart from others. It is the uniqueness in quality programs that promote strong bonds with employees, candidates, and customers.