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Building a positive workplace culture that sticks

Most people, from CEOs to jobseekers, recognize the importance of building a positive workplace culture. But actually doing it is more easily said than done. 

It’s one thing to understand the statistics about how 86% of job seekers avoid companies with a bad culture, or how engaged employees’ performance is 202% higher than their disengaged counterparts, or that attracting higher-quality employees leads to a 33% increase in revenue.

But what does actually building a positive workplace culture look like? Here are some tips.

Encourage open and honest communication — at all levels

Effective communication starts at the top, by managers practicing what they preach. If you want employees to be open and honest with you, you have to be open and honest with them first.

This can come in the form of responding well to both positive and negative feedback. It could involve sharing your personal struggles and triumphs.

Leading by example is a big part of building a positive workplace culture. Many people will come from other jobs, families, or communities that don’t communicate openly. As a result, they may understand the theory but struggle to implement it in practice.

Open communication will look different for every company. For some, it means sharing the highs and lows of running a business with all employees. For others, it may extend to sharing those stories with the outside world, too.

You need to know where your line is—what’s off-limits and what’s okay to talk about—and focus on the things that are within those bounds.

Prioritize mental health

Despite what many businesses claim, mental health still carries a lot of stigma in the workplace.

I’ve seen people all over the world take leaves of absence due to stress. Meanwhile, their colleagues roll their eyes believing they’re full of excuses, rather than sending them messages of support.

Or worse—their boss still asks them work-related questions, forgetting that they shouldn’t be on call, since work is likely the cause of their stress.

On average, one in six people will experience a mental health issue each week.

Mental health is also one of the primary causes of disease and disability worldwide.

Which means now is the time to not just say that mental health is important, but to show it.

You could do this by having mental health professionals available for employees to talk to. This is someone they can visit if they’re struggling mentally, much in the same way they’d visit a physical health practitioner for a muscle strain.

You could also make sure that any health insurance you offer covers mental health conditions, regardless of whether it’s a new or pre-existing condition.

And, tying back to the first point, when leaders are more open and honest about their mental health conditions, everyone else is likely to be, too. 

This openness shows that they really do understand how employees might feel. It also makes them more relatable. Which means employees are more likely to share their stories, too.

Sometimes, all it takes for someone to feel better is for them to share how they’re feeling with a person they trust. Why can’t that person be someone they work with?

The more people there are within the business who share their stories, the more comfortable quieter team members will feel being honest about theirs. Ultimately, more people will feel relieved just from being in this supportive working environment.

Get your company’s leaders on LinkedIn

Or any other social media platform your employees are engaged on.

Many senior leaders are reluctant to be active on social media, either because they don’t understand its benefits or don’t believe they have time.

The bigger the company gets, the harder it is for employees to connect with the higher-ups. Doors between each level can feel closed to employees who are newer or on a lower pay grade.

Employee newsletters may feel like a solution, but they can often be long, full of fancy formatting and imagery, and take hours to put together. They also feel more one-sided, like employees are being told what’s going on but they don’t need to get involved. So why would they read it if they don’t get a say?

Social media posts, meanwhile, are quicker to put together and allow employees to be a part of the conversation, regardless of their role.

If employees have an opinion, they can voice it knowing that someone is actually going to read what they think.

The more accessible senior leaders are, the more employees will feel like they’re a part of something and not just another cog in the wheel.

Be patient and consistent

Earning enough trust for employees to mirror your behavior takes time.

Some employees will be more willing to be open and honest than others. Some may resist the change.

But you should lead as you’d want to be led. Others will soon follow suit if you’re patient and consistent with your leadership style.

And that will contribute to building a positive workplace culture that attracts better candidates, retains employees for longer, and makes employees happier in their roles.

It starts at the top

There’s no way around it: building a positive workplace culture starts at the top. You have to set an example of the culture you want to build.

If you’re telling employees they need to be open and honest, but you’re hiding in your ivory tower, nobody is going to want to do what you say. You’re not practicing what you preach. That will lead people to think you’re disingenuous and only care about yourself and your goals.

You need to come across as human. As relatable and honest. Like someone any employee, from your second in command to the person who cleans the toilets, can approach to ask a question, or even just say hello.

Building a positive workplace culture is about breaking down silos from every angle. And, just like attracting customers, that takes time.

But if you do it right, you’re going to experience the rewards for years to come.

If you’re looking for ways to open up communication, encourage connections between employees and their peers and leaders, and drive measurable progress towards building a more positive workplace culture, check out Workrowd. Our comprehensive tool suite can help you streamline communication, increase engagement, and track and analyze culture change over time.

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Employee engagement metrics you should be tracking in 2022

Tracking employee engagement metrics can help you prevent absenteeism, build your brand, reduce employee turnover, and make more money. 

It can also help you spot issues within your workforce which could turn into bigger problems if left unaddressed.

What employee engagement metrics do you need to track, though? Which are going to show you what areas need work, or how employees really feel? Let’s take a look.

Absenteeism

How often employees are out sick—and how long they’re out for—can be huge indicators of employee engagement.

Stress can weaken our immune systems, meaning we’re more susceptible to germs and infections. 

Not to mention there’s the psychological toll of stress, which can cause long-term absences.

A controlling, closed-off, and judgmental company culture can make employees feel uncomfortable sharing that they’re stressed. When employees don’t mention their concerns to colleagues, it makes it harder to find solutions.

Negative company cultures that don’t support employees’ mental health reinforce stigmas and can make stress worse.

Of course, stress isn’t the only thing that can cause employees to repeatedly miss work. There are lots of reasons, and if an employee is frequently absent, it’s worth finding out why. 

Companies often use formulas to track employee absences, but they offer a very black and white picture. You can’t compare the health of someone who’s chronically ill or disabled with someone who hasn’t had a cold in a decade.

Instead of relying on a formula, look for patterns. Are employees out after certain events? Or at a particular time of the year? 

Patterns will help you identify issues. Investigating the story behind them will allow you to make more informed decisions and accommodations.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

NPS measures how likely someone is to recommend your business to another person, on a scale of 1 to 10. 

How an employee rates your business on this scale will tell you more than you might be comfortable with.

Especially when only scores of 9-10 count as promoters. Scores of 7 and 8 are neutral, and scores of 6 or below are detractors. 

These scores can be a real indicator of whether employees are happy in their roles or not. 

If your NPS goes down over time, it may be worth tracking backwards to see how things have changed. Investigating what measures were put into place before the score trended downward will help you turn the tide.

You can apply the Net Promoter Score approach to almost any element of your business, giving you a standardized way to compare across your employee engagement metrics.

Employee turnover rate

What’s the average time someone spends working for your company? Do they progress through the ranks, or do they leave when it’s time for a promotion? Or maybe there’s a trend of employees failing their probation period?

The longer someone stays, the happier they’re likely to be in their working environment.

Tracking turnover not just company-wide, but by department, role, etc. may expose issues you wouldn’t have otherwise discovered.

It could be that some departments have a faster churn rate than others, which can be a sign of a problem within that department instead of the company itself.

Productivity

Disengaged employees are 18% less productive. So, if your employees aren’t hitting their goals, it’s time to dig deeper. 

Managers can’t fix poor productivity levels simply by shouting at employees to work harder. This will lead to more disengagement, and increased absenteeism.

Instead, it’s time to investigate why productivity has gone down. What’s missing? What are employees dissatisfied with? 

You want to ensure employees can have an open and honest dialogue with you about what’s going on in their lives and how it’s affecting their work, whether it’s a personal or professional issue. 

A wide range of things can affect someone’s productivity, and it can continue to deteriorate without the right support. Maybe they need some training, a change in their working environment, or a switch to a new department.

Sometimes all it takes is a short conversation to make employees feel heard. You never know until you ask.

Social media advocacy rates

You’ll never stop employees from using social media during the working day. How you encourage employees to use it, and what they say as a result, will tell you more about your business than you might think.

Employees are 20% more likely to stay at a socially engaged company. They’re also 27% more likely to feel positively about the company’s future.

And, the happier those employees are, the more likely they’ll be to share how they feel online. 

You’ll never get 100% of employees onboard—it’s likely to be around a third—but it only takes a handful of advocates regularly posting to speed up the purchasing process, improve the quality of candidates you attract, and build your employees’ brands within the industry.

Employee advocacy only works if employees are willing to share their honest opinions, and if they’re encouraged to do so. If businesses tell employees to repeat what upper management says, it isn’t advocacy. It’s a loudspeaker designed to draw attention to the business instead of lifting employees up and encouraging them to help their network.

This loudspeaker puts employees off becoming advocates and misses the key part of social media: being social.

Conclusion 

Employee engagement is about so much more than the stats in front of you. It’s about the stories behind those statistics, too. 

You have to dig into the trends and issues behind the statistics to build a thriving and inclusive employee experience.

Engaged employees are a sign of a positive company culture. It’s hard for employees to be happy in their roles and want to stay if they feel dictated to, controlled, or otherwise disconnected from what they’re doing. 

While putting numbers to things with employee engagement metrics makes life simpler on paper, what employees say about your company both on and off the clock matters, too. 

An engaged employee will recommend your company to both customers and future hires. They’ll be happy to spread the word about your business online and offline, attracting more of the right kinds of people and improving time to hire, reducing how long someone takes to make a purchase, and much more.

If you’re looking to supercharge your employee experience and ensure your employee engagement metrics are always just a click away, check out Workrowd. Our automated data collection and customizable dashboards make it easy to see which employee programs and events are driving engagement, and which could use some tweaking. Drop us a note at hello@workrowd.com to learn more.

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7 simple tips for how to have better meetings

Amidst endless Zoom calls, it’s easy to find your mind wandering to thoughts of how to have better meetings. A study by the University of North Carolina discovered that 71% of managers find meetings to be a waste of time. 65% believe meetings prevent them from finishing their work, and 61% said meetings keep them from deep thinking.

And yet, meetings are an unavoidable part of the working world.

They’re seen as an important element of business, but these stats show that they may not be as necessary as some of us might think. There may just be less stressful or less mentally draining ways of updating people. Slack, Teams, Workrowd, emails, or even a quick recording, maybe?

Let’s take a look at some simple tips for how to have better meetings, including ways to make them both shorter and fewer.

Don’t have meetings for the sake of having meetings

Some people really love meetings. Instead of sending a quick email or message, they’ll schedule a meeting to share something that only takes one sentence to explain.

This isn’t an effective use of anyone’s time. It disrupts the attendees’ days, leaving them with less time for their actual jobs.

It can also be a source of anxiety for employees if they don’t know why you want to talk. They can feel stressed even if they have nothing to worry about.

Face-to-face meetings can help you to read other attendees, and also help teams to bond, but they’re not always necessary. Especially if you’re sharing news rather than having a discussion. 

If it’s something that doesn’t require a discussion, and it’s quicker to write an email or record a video, do that instead. Because you want to…

Respect other people’s time

Time and energy are finite resources. The longer a meeting goes on for, the more time and energy it drains.

For some people, it can take even more time and energy. They may need a break to recover before returning to their actual job.

Let’s not forget that meetings aren’t technically in most people’s job descriptions. They’re just an accepted part of the working day.

If it’s a spontaneous meeting, sprung on someone when they were in the middle of something, it can be even worse. They may struggle to get back into what they were doing even if they have a deadline looming.

If it isn’t important to everyone, does it need to be discussed now? Does everyone you’ve invited really need to attend?

It’s all too common for a meeting organizer to invite an employee simply because their boss wanted them there. But then that same boss asks the employee not to speak during the meeting. So, what’s the point in them attending?

Things like business updates can easily be shared with the rest of the company via email. 

The sender can then answer any questions over email as well, or during a much shorter call. This allows employees to digest the information in their own time, instead of when their employer tells them they should.

It also ensures that nobody’s day is broken up by unnecessary meetings. 

Being transparent doesn’t mean having to invite everyone to everything. You can still share information without eating into employees’ days. Being selective about when you actually need to meet is a key element of how to have better meetings.

Have a time and space for small talk

Sometimes, the start of a meeting—or even halfway through, when people start to lag—can get filled with discussions about the latest Netflix show or a book someone’s read. 

While this is a great way for teams to connect, it’s not a great use of people’s time. 

It can drag out the meeting, reducing how much time and energy attendees have left for the rest of their days.

When employees have somewhere to actually chat about these things—like a dedicated krowd in Workrowd, or a regular book club—they’re less likely to have conversations about this stuff during a meeting. The meeting is then more efficient, and teams still get to discuss the latest Netflix true crime documentary.

Stick to the agenda

It’s common for people to discuss an idea in a meeting, then for that idea to trigger another, completely separate idea. Which turns the whole session into a different discussion. Then another idea comes up. And another discussion takes shape. This drags out the meeting, completely changing its course and purpose.

If someone has a great idea that doesn’t directly affect the direction you’re going in, jot it down and save it for another meeting/conversation. 

Just because it’s a great idea, it doesn’t mean that it needs to be discussed in person. Some ideas are just as great when talked about via email or group chat.

And the more focused your meeting is, the more efficient it will be, too.

Send the agenda in advance

When people don’t know what’s going to be talked about in a meeting, it can be harder for them to know what to say when questions are raised or when their opinion is asked for. Not everyone thinks well on their feet. 

Sending out the meeting’s agenda in advance gives those who prefer to ruminate on ideas before sharing them the opportunity to think about things. You may then find you get more employees speaking up in meetings and better ideas as a result.

Notice when someone is taking over

There’s always someone who talks more than others during a meeting. It’s important that a different person is in control of the discussion, and can rein in anyone who’s doing this. 

Having one person not just in charge of the agenda, but of who speaks and when, will help quieter attendees feel more comfortable speaking because everyone will get equal time and space to share their thoughts. 

Sometimes the person speaking too much doesn’t have anything useful to share, is repeating themselves, taking credit for others’ ideas, or changing the direction of the meeting. This drags out the meeting and can make everyone else in attendance disengage out of frustration.

Just because someone doesn’t speak without encouragement, that doesn’t mean they don’t have ideas worth sharing. It may just mean that they’re uncomfortable speaking over the loudest person in the room.

Work toward a takeaway, even if it isn’t a resolution

Another key recommendation for how to have better meetings is to ensure that every meeting has a purpose. What problem are you trying to solve?

Even if you can’t work toward a solution, if you’ve narrowed things down, that’s a win.

Forcing everyone to keep going when they’re falling asleep over their coffee will drag out your meeting and make it harder to decide on anything. Nobody has ever made a great decision when they’re mentally exhausted.

Instead, it may be more effective to have several shorter meetings on the same topic, narrowing down ideas and discussion points each time. 

Having a short, set time to talk about something can lead to more creativity and room for discussion. The shorter time frame means there’s less time to waste on small talk or segues, and the set time gives employees the chance to plan and consider ideas before entering the room.

It also avoids any rushed decisions that come from the need to solve everything in one meeting.

If you’re looking for an easier way to keep employees connected, and to cut down on unnecessary meetings, drop us a line at hello@workrowd.com. Our one-stop platform streamlines the process of sharing information with employees, and ensures they have open lines of communication with peers for both work- and non-work-related discussions.

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Communication and employee engagement: 6 tips for success

It’s easy for employees to become disengaged in their roles, especially in the current climate. The world is so unpredictable these days, that it can be difficult for employees to stay focused. This is where communication and employee engagement come in.

Jobs used to be a source of security. Now, though, with ever-changing rules and businesses cutting back or closing, that security is long gone.

This can lead to employees feeling undervalued and/or underperforming on their tasks.

It’s important you take steps to reassure them that you do value them, and want them on the team. Not doing this can lead to losing some of your top performers, increasing the strain caused by the pandemic.

Unfortunately, Gallup suggests that only 33% of people are engaged in their jobs. This has remained true even though the benefits of an engaged workforce have been proven time and time again. Caterpillar, a construction equipment manufacturer, saved $8.8 million annually by reducing absenteeism, attrition rates, and overtime in a European plant. They also increased profits by $2 million and customer satisfaction by 34%.

So what steps can you take to re-engage your employees? Here are some tips that will improve your communication and employee engagement, along with your culture, retention, and more.

Encourage open communication

Businesses talk about open communication a lot, but rarely actually practice it. This means employees won’t share with you what’s going on in their lives that could affect their work. As a result, when someone’s productivity suffers, the default is to punish them instead of supporting them.

When a company has a culture of open communication, employees feel more comfortable sharing their physical or mental health problems, or other situations which may impact their workload.

They’ll also feel more open to giving and receiving feedback, because it’s embedded in the company culture.

It may help to offer some sort of training around feedback and communication to help with this. 

Too often, people assume they’re great at listening, but then talk over the person who’s speaking. Similarly, they may think they’re great at giving feedback but only focus on the negatives. 

A brief training session—or even encouraging everyone to read a blog post on feedback or communication—reinforces that you’re serious about having a culture of open, honest communication. This is a key way in which communication and employee engagement deeply impact each other.

Make accommodations

People’s lives have changed a lot in the last two years because of the pandemic. But many changes have happened outside of Covid-19, too. 

Employees with elderly relatives may have become caregivers, or another employee may have been diagnosed with a chronic health issue. Employees rarely communicate these things to employers. They either don’t know how to talk about it, don’t think their employer will care, or don’t know what their employer can do.

If someone’s situation has changed, making simple accommodations like allowing flexible working or reducing their hours can show that you still value them and you want to support them as they adjust to their new normal.

Make them feel included in decisions

When companies make changes, they often fail to communicate them to employees in the right way (if they communicate them at all).

They simply announce the change to employees out of nowhere. This leaves employees feeling like they’re not valued and that their opinions don’t matter.

It’s impossible to make everyone happy when introducing changes. That said, it’s important to hear everyone’s opinions, even if they won’t change the outcome. 

It isn’t about involving employees in every decision-making process (although if you can include them, they’ll always appreciate it). It’s about giving them the chance to have their voices heard. 

People can get frustrated when it feels like they’re not being listened to. To remedy this, try running a survey, holding a drop-in chat where employees can ask questions, or inviting feedback via email. 

These opportunities for openness and honesty encourage a positive atmosphere within the business, as well as keeping employees engaged. Changing your approach to communication and employee engagement can transform your company culture.

Ask employees what they want out of their roles

In smaller or newer companies, job descriptions can sometimes be flexible or hard to define. Leaders expect early employees to be jacks-of-all-trades, knowing a little about everything. 

As the company expands, new opportunities become available. It’s important you offer these to existing employees as well as external applicants. It may just help you retain someone who’s great at what they do, but who feels disconnected in their current position.

Offer them the chance to retrain

If someone has been with a business for a long time, or their priorities/interests have changed, it can lead to them feeling bored or unstimulated. This can mean their performance goes down, and they may start looking for other opportunities.

However, just because someone is disengaged in that role, it doesn’t mean they’re not worth retaining or that they can’t excel in another position. 

Always make it clear to employees—wherever they are on their journeys—that they can talk to you about moving departments or retraining should they start to feel dissatisfied.

This is particularly important for areas with high turnover or little room for progression, such as customer support. 

If someone has the right mindset and their attitude is a positive influence on the company, see how you can support them, whether that’s through retraining, or helping them to move on by providing a stellar reference. 

As much as you want to, you can’t keep everyone. Offering them support to move on shows them you respect them, and may encourage them to come back in the future.

Host team building activities

Team-building activities are a great way for employees to get to know their colleagues. 

They’re even more important for remote teams, who may not get to bond with their colleagues in the same way that employees who spend every day in an office would.

Encouraging things like quiz nights, hackathons, or book clubs are just some of the ways employees can connect outside of their day-to-day work activities. Increasing interpersonal communication and employee engagement in this way can make all the difference.

Conclusion 

Keeping employees engaged really boils down to one thing: making them feel like they matter. And the simplest way to do that is to listen to them and communicate openly. 

You may not be able to offer a solution to the problem they’re facing, or have an answer for how they’re feeling, but you don’t always have to. To make people feel valued in any situation, it’s all about giving them the chance to feel heard.

If you want to provide more opportunities for employees to communicate both with each other, and with leaders, we invite you to check out Workrowd’s suite of tools. We’ve even streamlined the process of sharing and storing top-down employee communications. Paired with our automated employee engagement surveys, your workplace will have all the tools it needs to thrive. Visit us at workrowd.com or drop us a line at hello@workrowd.com.

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How to write an awesome employee engagement newsletter

Writing an employee engagement newsletter is hard enough. But there’s no guarantee that after all your hard work anyone is actually going to read it. 

Newsletters can play an important part in developing employee engagement and loyalty if done right, though.

So, how do you write an employee engagement newsletter that people will actually read? It’s time to bring out the psychology textbook and throw away your English notes, because great writing of any kind of is the opposite of what you were taught in school…

Don’t write an essay

The only time most of us are taught to write nonfiction is when we’re taught essay writing in school. 

But that writing style just doesn’t cut it in the real world. 

Most people outside of academia don’t read essays for fun. If they do, they’re essays that are relevant to them, fun to read, or—hopefully—both.

That means it’s time to put away the big words, long paragraphs, and formal tone of voice. If you want employees to keep reading, you need to make what they’re reading accessible.

There’s a reason the most widely-read newspapers have an average reading level of an eighth grader. More people can understand them because it requires less brain power to read them, regardless of their level of education.

Reading takes time and energy. You don’t know what the reading skills—or energy levels—are of your employees. 

Giving them something that’s easy to read will make them grateful you’ve put their needs on equal footing with (or even above) what you want to talk about. 

Which means they’re more likely to read what you send them, and to maybe even look forward to your employee engagement newsletter.

Embrace white space

White space is exactly what it sounds like: all the white (empty) space around text, imagery, etc., on a page.

The point of white space is to guide your reader’s eye to focus on particular words or phrases, which is why it’s common in poetry.

If you look back through this post, you’ll notice that many of the paragraphs are only a sentence or two-long. That’s me embracing white space.

Why do I do this?

Because it’s easier for you to read.

Think about the last time you read a really long paragraph, particularly on a small screen like a mobile phone. Your fingers don’t move as much, nor do your eyes. And so your eyes start to get tired. Which makes your brain tired. Which makes you start to get bored. Even if the topic you’re reading about is interesting, a wall of text simply isn’t as accessible to read on a screen. Not to mention it doesn’t look particularly attractive, either—it looks intimidating and makes people want to switch off.

See what I did there?

How far into the paragraph above did you get before your eyes started to twitch or your mind started to wander?

The longer your paragraphs are, the more readers will feel that way.

In the modern age, most attention spans are around eight seconds.

Not to mention reading on screens isn’t exactly pleasant for our eyes.

You want to make sure people’s eyes are constantly moving around the page and their fingers are always scrolling. This will help to keep their brains engaged.

Write in second person

Second person writing uses the pronoun ‘you’ to create a deeper, faster connection between writer and reader. It’s why most blog posts are written in second person.

It also makes readers feel like the content is more relevant to them, since they’re being addressed directly.

Make it relevant to them

Why do you want employees to read your newsletter? What’s the benefit for them? There should be clear benefits to them reading it beyond just ‘we’re sending it to talk about the business’.

If you don’t have anything interesting to say…spend your time writing something else.

Nobody wants to read a newsletter that’s full of bragging or navel gazing. If you’ve had a recent win, by all means share it, but don’t go on and on about it. 

An employee engagement newsletter should be about building rapport and camaraderie. If you’re just doing it to brag about stuff, employees will glance over it and have no interest in reading future installments.

Use humor 

You may feel like you work in an industry that can’t use humor. But stay with me for a minute.

You know why popsicle stick jokes are so bad?

Because we bond over how bad they are.

Comedy itself can be divisive. Everyone has slightly different senses of humor, and, particularly in larger companies, there’s no guarantee everyone will find the same thing funny.

But, if you use humor in the right way, you can deepen engagement and employees’ feelings of loyalty to your brand.

To use comedy the right way, make sure you never, ever make fun of an employee. That’s the kind of comedy that’s divisive and can be harmful. 

And steer clear of controversial topics like politics or religion. 

Instead, think about how you write about something.

Where can you bring in analogies, anecdotes, or comparisons? When did something unexpected happen that you could share?

You could even ask employees to share their funny work or personal stories to make them feel more involved. 

If you want some tips on how to add humor to a business environment, check out David Nihill’s “Do You Talk Funny?”

Be predictable

If employees know when to expect your newsletter, they can carve out time in their day to read it.

If it’s sent intermittently, they’re more likely to be in the middle of something. 

So they’ll plan to read it once they’ve finished what they were doing, but then more stuff gets added to their to-do list, the newsletter gets pushed down their priorities, and eventually it gets forgotten.

Sending your employee engagement newsletter at the same day/time, whether that’s weekly, monthly, bimonthly, or something else, ensures they know when it’s coming up and can factor it into their schedule.

Conclusion 

Writing any newsletter people want to read is easier said than done. That doesn’t make it impossible, though. 

It’s all about changing your perspective to make it about what your employees want/need to know, over what you want to talk about.

At the end of the day, putting employees first is the most important part of building a happy, productive company culture, right? Your internal newsletters can play a big role in that. 

In fact, if done right, they can encourage employees to be more engaged with your business, and maybe even inspire them to write better business communications themselves.

If you’re looking for an easy way to organize and distribute communications like an employee engagement newsletter, Workrowd has you covered.

With our one-stop platform for employee communities, it’s easy to ensure your message reaches the right audience every time. If you’d like to learn more about how we can take your communications sharing to the next level, drop by the homepage or send us a note at hello@workrowd.com.

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Managing autistic employees: Neurodiversity at work part 3

Read Neurodiversity in the workplace part 1: Why is this important?

Read Managing employees with ADHD: Neurodiversity at work part 2

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a condition where someone’s brain works differently than what’s typical. It can lead to challenges in social situations or with speech and language. It can also present difficulties in the workplace, including for those managing autistic employees.

Plenty of people with ASD lead normal lives, and many go through life without a diagnosis until they’re an adult. This is in part due to old-fashioned assumptions and stereotypes about autism.

There are lots of incorrect stereotypes that cause people to make assumptions and treat autistic people differently. 

But you can’t spot someone who has autism just because they walked down the street and wouldn’t make eye contact, or they didn’t understand a joke. It’s not as simple as a lack of social skills or always taking things literally.

There are hundreds of symptoms, and some are more prevalent than others. If you feel – or know – that you’re managing one or more autistic employees, here’s some advice on how to work with them, support them, and keep them happy and engaged in the workplace.

Don’t make assumptions

ASD can manifest differently in different people. The best way you can ensure you’re supporting someone as much as possible is to do your research. 

Don’t make assumptions that they can do this or that because someone else you know with ASD can. It’s not that simple or that black and white. 

ASD is often misinterpreted or misdiagnosed. Scientific research and understanding of some of the rarer or more nuanced symptoms is only just beginning to emerge.

Understanding the nuances that come with these conditions is really important if you want to be supportive when managing autistic employees. 

You may also find that some employees exhibit traits you think make them autistic, but they haven’t disclosed a diagnosis. This could be because they don’t have one, they’re unaware of their symptoms, or they’re uncomfortable sharing their diagnosis with colleagues. That doesn’t mean you can’t still make accommodations, though. 

There’s no downside to finding ways to work that empower employees to be the best and happiest versions of themselves.

Listen

Listening is an important part of people management. It’s also the only way you’ll learn what accommodations you could make to equip your employee to reach – and maybe even exceed – their potential.

Even if they don’t know what they need, recognizing the challenges they face could help you both find solutions. 

Or perhaps you’ve helped an employee with a similar problem in the past. This could provide a basis for suggestions of what could work for this individual, too.

Learn the language

The language around ASD and neurodiversity in general can be hard to understand if it’s completely new to you. There’s no reason you can’t learn, though. 

Taking the time to learn it shows your employees that you don’t just say you care about their wellbeing, you actually mean it.

Communicate clearly

Sometimes, when we’re saying something we don’t want to say, we can tiptoe around the topic, or use euphemisms. This can be problematic as the key message can get lost in the sea of everything else we’ve said.

Be mindful of how you say something, but be clear when you do speak. Everyone involved in the conversation will have a greater understanding of the key points. Plus, they’ll feel happier with the agreed-upon outcomes. 

Give specific instructions

Giving employees the freedom to make their own decisions about how they grow in their role, and what their role entails, is important to some businesses. 

But this can be challenging for neurodivergent employees. These individuals often need clear guidelines to help them know what’s expected of them and when. 

Some employees who don’t understand the instructions may feel uncomfortable speaking up about it. As a result, they can end up suffering in silence and will be less efficient in their role.

If you want to give them more freedom, ask them what they’d like to achieve. Talk to them about where they see themselves fitting into the business. 

If that doesn’t help, consider what their strengths and areas of interest are. You’ll get far more out of neurodivergent employees by playing to their strengths than by forcing them to do tasks that they find challenging, or which cause them to disengage.

Be accommodating 

You know those ice breakers that are often forced on us at the start of team-building activities but that nobody really likes? Those are even worse for people with ASD.

Instead of forcing everyone to speak in a controlled environment, find a more natural way to involve them in conversation. You could ask them for their opinion, for example. This makes them feel valued and included.

Sometimes, people need time to digest something before a meeting. So give them some time to think on big discussion topics before they come up, or let them mull it over after the meeting and before a decision is made. Not everyone thinks well on the spot.

Another way you can make them feel more comfortable in meetings is to ensure they have a pen to fiddle with, or a fidget spinner. Many people with autism ‘stim’ (i.e. self-stimulate) as a way to self-soothe, and playing with pens is a common one. 

Fiddling, fidgeting, and doodling can help everyone to engage during meetings. This makes us more likely to retain what we’ve heard, whether we’re neurodivergent or not.

Conclusion

Managing autistic employees doesn’t have to be difficult. Neurodivergent team members can be great assets to a business—if they’re allowed to work in a way that complements how they think. 

Forcing them to work in a set way can backfire and mean they disengage. This can make them less productive, unhappy in their role, and lead them to leave without ever fulfilling their potential. 

Supporting neurodivergent employees, on the other hand, can make teams more efficient, creative, and productive.

If you’re looking to build a more inclusive and supportive environment for all team members, regardless of neurodivergence, check out Workrowd. Our platform offers a one-stop shop for marketing, managing, and measuring all your employee events, groups, and programs. We make it easy for employees to see everything they can get involved in from day one, no matter where or when they work. Drop us a line at hello@workrowd.com if you’d like to learn more.

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Managing employees with ADHD: Neurodiversity at work part 2

Read Neurodiversity in the workplace part 1: Why is this important?

More and more adults are getting diagnosed with ADHD, which means more and more people are managing employees with ADHD. Women, in particular, are being diagnosed later in life. Their predominantly inattentive or combined type was frequently ignored because it didn’t cause problems for other people. This is also true for those of us who identify as non-binary and trans.

As we develop greater understandings of neurodiversity, awareness is building around symptoms. These can include brains that won’t switch off, or struggling to concentrate on uninteresting tasks.

Symptoms can differ depending on people’s history, culture, age, gender, and more. They can also differ based on the type of ADHD that a person has (hyperactive, inattentive, or combined). The medical establishment previously called the inattentive form of ADHD, attention deficit disorder, or ADD.

In some countries, not everyone can afford to get an official diagnosis. Others may get stuck on a long waiting list. 

Accommodating these individuals even without medical verification, and finding ways to work with them, can lead to increased morale across the team. In addition, it can boost productivity with tasks completed more quickly and efficiently, and generate more creative ideas.

But these things only happen if you work with your employee, not force them to work in the way that you think is best.

So, what can you do to ensure you’re successful at managing employees with ADHD? Here are some tips.

Research

While research may seem like an obvious thing to do, it’s often forgotten. 

But if you have an employee struggling with a health condition you know little about —or that you only have assumptions about—researching the condition is an important step that will enable you to assist and encourage them in the right way. New studies are coming out all the time; understanding the results shows you care about your employees’ lives and want to support them.

One of the big reasons for this lack of awareness is that ADHD is often misinterpreted or misdiagnosed. Most studies have centered white boys, which means there’s little understanding of how ADHD affects adults, other genders, or POC.

Someone being a relentless fidget isn’t the only symptom of ADHD. It’s not as simple as them constantly disrupting classrooms or meetings.

Understanding the nuances that come with a condition like ADHD is really important if you want to be supportive when managing employees with ADHD.

ADHD looks and feels different for everyone, and can change over time depending on what’s happening in a person’s life.

Use the right language

Using the right terminology can be hard, especially when you’re learning new words and phrases you’ve never needed before. This dictionary is a really helpful reference.

The most important thing to remember is that it’s okay to get things wrong. Make it clear that you want to be corrected, too. This shows your employee that you’re open and willing to learn.

Don’t say phrases like, “we’re all a little ADD/ADHD”

Phrases like, “we’re all a little ADD,” or “we’re all a little OCD,” downplay the detrimental and lifelong impact these conditions can have on someone’s life. 

Yes, these conditions often operate on a scale. 

But if you haven’t lived with the condition, or don’t know someone with it, you can’t know what the impact of that condition actually is. (Which is part of why research helps, but the impact will still vary from person to person.)

It’s your job to be supportive of employees with different conditions. Using inclusive, supportive language is a big part of that. 

The language we use can reflect how we think and feel much more than we realize, so it’s important that we educate ourselves.

Listen to what they need

It’s all too easy to suggest meditation or exercise as ways for people to control, or mitigate, their brains. But it isn’t always about controlling or mitigating the fact that someone’s brain works differently.

An ADHD brain can be a superpower in the right environment. It can make someone more creative, empathetic, honest, insightful, and observant. But employees can only embrace those powers if they’re offered the right support.

So, instead of forcing them to work in a way that works for you, or the business, find a way that works for them. Let them tell you what they need; don’t make assumptions.

If you—or they—aren’t sure of what those solutions could look like, check out resources such as ADHD 2.0 and How to ADHD.

Don’t micromanage

Supervisors may be tempted to micromanage when an employee isn’t fulfilling their potential, or is feeling overwhelmed. But this can lead to further frustrations for everyone.

Micromanaging says to an employee that you don’t trust them. It’s understandable if they’re missing targets, but instead ask them what’s going on and how you can support them. Maybe they need fewer responsibilities, more responsibilities, or an alternative way of doing something.

Break tasks down

ADHD can make it challenging to get things done. Breaking tasks down can really help with this process, as it triggers the brain’s reward response, something which ADHD loves. The more often you can trigger this response, the happier it’ll be.

Imagine that you’ve got a report to put together, and your employee with ADHD is in charge of it. Instead of saying ‘project manage this report,’ break it down into each step that needs to be done. This could include planning, drafting, editing, designing, marketing, etc. Then, assign dates to each task. 

This makes it easier for you to track what’s happening. It also allows them to feel like they’ve accomplished something sooner, triggering that reward response. Plus, it will help reduce the feelings of overwhelm or intimidation that can lead to procrastination on big projects.

Tools like Trello, Milanote, or even a physical planner can be useful to help them—and you—track deadlines and progress.

Give clear (positive and negative) feedback

Most people, when they give someone feedback, only focus on the negative. Or they use a ‘compliment sandwich,’ which can be very transparent. 

Instead of either of these approaches, just be honest! 

Share what you like about what they’ve done or how they’ve done things, then suggest areas where they could improve. 

And include them in the process of identifying how they could improve. 

Give them time to go away and research ways they can improve on the identified issues. Don’t immediately expect them to have answers if they didn’t know that adhering to deadlines was an issue for them. 

There’s no harm in you both going away to do research using resources like the ones mentioned above, to find solutions that work for everyone.

Conclusion

A diverse workforce is one that can be more creative, better at solving problems, and happier to go to work every day. That can only happen if employees are provided with the right support, though. And that support comes from an understanding of the fact that everyone thinks, feels, and prefers to work in a different way.

One final way to enhance your company’s efforts around managing employees with ADHD is through employee communities. Providing additional colleague support can go a long way towards improving the lives of neurodiverse employees. If you’re looking for a way to manage your employee community efforts, we hope you’ll give Workrowd a look. We’ve put the tools and data you need to manage successful employee communities at your fingertips, including best practice resources to help team members drive impact. Drop us a note at hello@workrowd.com.

Read Managing autistic employees: Neurodiversity at work part 3

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Neurodiversity in the workplace part 1: Why is this important?

Neurodiversity in the workplace is increasingly gaining attention, as it should be. Estimates suggest that 2.21% of US adults have autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Figures vary for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but they’re thought to be between 2.5% and 4.4%. Dyslexia, meanwhile, impacts 20% of the population. These are just some of the conditions which fall under neurodiversity. And those stats only refer to people with official diagnoses.

The actual percentages for each condition may be much higher—many people are undiagnosed, or waiting on a diagnosis. They may not even know they’re neurodivergent. More and more people are getting diagnosed as adults, when they start to struggle with everyday life.

Some people never seek a diagnosis because it’s too expensive, too time-consuming, or there’s no benefit to doing so.

But what are the benefits to businesses building and supporting neurodiversity in the workplace?

Supporting neurodiverse employees

As society becomes more accommodating toward things like mental health conditions, and building work environments and company cultures which understand and support employees who face these challenges, it’s important to not overlook those who experience the world differently. 

Phrases like “we’re all a little ADHD,” can be thrown around without considering the detrimental impact conditions like ADHD can have on someone’s wellbeing, and their experience of the working environment. 

And, if a neurodivergent employee doesn’t have a job that allows them to work in a way that suits them, it can lead to frustration, fatigue, and disengagement.

Old school management processes and businesses may prefer to treat every employee the same rather than making accommodations for neurodiversity in the workplace. It’s easier that way. And it may feel like this is working towards equality, too.

But achieving any form of equality isn’t that simple. Instead, it’s about focusing on an individual person’s needs, and not assuming everyone’s needs are the same. That means everyone requires a different management approach.

Thinking differently is a superpower

When businesses embrace diversity of any kind, it can lead to more productivity and increased creativity. 

Neurodiversity in the workplace comes with its own set of benefits. A new way of looking at something could be exactly what you need to solve a problem. The more different points of view there are in a team, the faster that group can come up with a solution that’s creative, effective, and efficient.

Diverse teams are happier and more productive, too. In fact, neurodiversity is a competitive advantage according to Harvard Business Review. 

While every neurodivergent person experiences their ADHD, autism, dyslexia, etc. differently, these conditions often come with abilities such as hyper focus, exceptional memory, heightened pattern recognition, or strength in mathematics.

When someone thinks outside of the norm, it can make them a great innovator, too. This is particularly beneficial in fast-moving industries such as technology.

But these superpowers only come out at work if someone is happy and engaged in their role. If they’re not, it can make it challenging for them to pay attention in meetings, understand instructions, or get any work done.

Noisy work environments, for example, can cause issues for people with sensory processing disorder, a condition which is common alongside ADHD and ASD. Employees with this condition may need to wear headphones to drown out the everyday, distracting, overwhelming, and sometimes pain-inducing noises that a neurotypical employee may not even notice.

Hiring processes

Despite the benefits, estimates suggest that unemployment may be as high as 80% among those who are neurodivergent. The traditional hiring process isn’t suitable for many of them meaning they either don’t make it through, or may not apply for jobs at all.

It’s not that they don’t understand the job itself. Many have masters degrees or graduated with honors. The application process simply isn’t suited to their needs. 

There are lots of skills that hiring managers traditionally see as the cornerstone of a good employee which neurodiverse employees may not have. Things like being able to network, good communication skills, and being salesy, to name a few. 

These soft skills eliminate many neurodiverse applicants before they’ve had the chance to show their knowledge. Knowledge that could help businesses to learn and grow.

Job interviews can be particularly challenging for those on the autism spectrum, who can have confidence issues because of previous job interviews, be too honest about their weaknesses, or may not be good at making eye contact. They could then score lower on interviews than neurotypical candidates, even if they’re more qualified.

Despite society’s dependence on job interviews,  there are other ways to assess someone’s talent to increase neurodiversity in the workplace, such as casual group environments, where candidates can demonstrate their skills. 

Select candidates can then go on to a two- to six-week program which will further assess their skills. Governments and nonprofits often support this initiative, and candidates are usually paid.

Businesses such as SAP and Microsoft run hiring and training programs to encourage neurodiverse talent to join their teams. And their businesses have since reaped the rewards.

Conclusion 

These are just a few of the benefits to neurodiversity in the workplace. It starts with being open to the fact that some people view and experience the world differently, and taking small steps to accommodate this. 

Businesses that embrace diverse talent – including neurodivergence, gender, race, culture, and other characteristics – are more creative, productive, and innovative. This leads to happier teams, more revenue, and faster growth. 

Really, there are no downsides other than businesses having to change their ways of thinking. It may take time, and it may cost money, but can you really afford not to?

If you’re looking to build a more inclusive workplace, you may want to check out Workrowd, a one-stop shop for employee initiatives. You can build digital communities for underrepresented employees, including those with neurodivergencies, survey and monitor employee sentiment, and much more. Visit us at workrowd.com or drop us a note at hello@workrowd.com.

Read part 2: Managing employees with ADHD

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10+ virtual office holiday party ideas to end the year right

The time of year for office holiday parties is almost here again. These events are often a time for employees to let their hair down and connect on a more social level. But is that really possible with a virtual office holiday party?

Yes; yes it is.

There are plenty of things you can do to celebrate the festive season with a virtual team. Celebrations don’t have to be—and shouldn’t be—limited to teams who can meet up in person!

They also don’t have to be limited to employees. It’s a lot easier—and cheaper—to include employees’ loved ones in virtual team events.

If a lot of your employees have children, see if there’s a way you can include them in the activities at your virtual office holiday party, or put something on that they’d enjoy. This shows that you understand employees have lives outside of their work, and helps to encourage and support them.

Give employees a food/drinks budget

A big part of an in-person holiday party is going out for a meal with colleagues. 

While that can’t be recreated at a virtual office holiday party, one thing you can do is provide employees with a food and/or drinks budget. 

They can use this to treat themselves to a nice meal at home. This way, they don’t need to cook and can enjoy the festivities for the evening.

Conduct a yoga or Pilates class

To prepare employees for the festivities to come, you could hire a yoga or Pilates instructor to hold a virtual class. Both can help employees to wind down after a busy period at work. Starting off this way will ensure they’re better able to enjoy the rest of the activities. 

Yoga and Pilates are also amazing for helping to work through joint stiffness you didn’t even know you had. You never know—you may even inspire a new habit for the new year!

Hold a virtual bake off

The holiday season is a time for baking. So why not share some recipes and see which your employees would like to bake? 

This can be a fun way for employees to learn a new skill and talk to people they may not have engaged with before. They’ll also be creating social media content for you to share. Your social media followers can vote on the winning results.

Do a magic show

One family-friendly activity you could try is to hire a magician to put on a magic show. You’d be surprised at how well these work virtually when done over Zoom or Teams.

Much like in-person magic shows, there’s often an element of audience participation. This can be a great way to get employees and their family members involved.

Tell ghost stories or standup comedy

This one is for the more confident public speakers in the group. Much like a lightning talk or PechaKucha, employees get a set amount of time to tell a spooky story or make everyone laugh. 

It’s a lot of pressure and not for the faint of heart, but a great way for employees to hone their public speaking skills and be entertained in the process!

Find a standup comic

Instead of (or as well as) getting employees to provide the comedy, you could hire an actual standup comic. There are plenty out there who entertain at business events, and many have pivoted to online events, too.

Host a festive movie night

Everyone has their favorite festive film, whether it’s a classic like Home Alone, or a more recent Netflix one like The Holidate. It might even be something less safe for work, like Bad Santa.

Watching a film together can be a great way for people to share their thoughts and bond over what happened in the movie. Plus, they’re a great way to relax!

Test everyone’s general knowledge

You could host a holiday-themed quiz, asking questions on holiday-themed foods, pop culture, and customs from around the world.

Take a class or workshop

Office holiday parties can be a chance to learn or develop new skills, from cocktail making to painting. There’s no reason a virtual office holiday party can’t offer the same benefits!

There are online teachers for just about every skill imaginable. If you can, choose something with a low barrier to entry, like writing. This way, employees need less space and resources to take part.

If you want something that requires equipment, like painting, make sure you provide employees with everything they need for the class if they wish to take part.

Put on an awards night

What better way to show employees you appreciate them than with an awards night? 

You could host awards for serious things, such as best problem solver, and put them alongside more humorous awards, such as best baker.

The combination of serious and humorous awards shows employees that you pay attention to what they do at work, and what they’re interested in outside of work. 

Highlighting employees’ achievements is also a great way to show other team members what kinds of attitudes and approaches are the most effective. In turn, this can encourage them to operate in a similar way going forward. 

Including the more humorous awards also shows that it isn’t a super serious awards night that people need to get anxious or worked up about. It’s designed to be fun and not a competition.

Ask employees what they want (or don’t want)

If you’re unsure about an idea, ask! Employees may already have ideas of what they’d like to do, or have suggestions from previous virtual holiday parties they’ve attended before. 

You may even find they loved past activities you’ve done and want to do them again.

Conclusion 

Office holiday parties boost employee morale, help employees get to know their colleagues, and show employees that you appreciate all their hard work over the last twelve months. 

There’s no reason a virtual version can’t do the same thing. There are plenty of activities you can put on that can have the same benefits to employees’ mindsets and morale.

If you’re looking for an easier way to market, manage, and measure the success of events like a virtual office holiday party, we invite you to visit workrowd.com to see how our suite of tools can help you supercharge your impact.

Our platform makes it easy to keep everyone in the loop. It also includes an evolving library of activity guides, and offers automated surveys to ensure you capture crucial feedback. Drop us a line at hello@workrowd.com to learn more.

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9 virtual team-building activities for teams of all sizes

Team-building activities can be a challenge to organize during the best of times, but even more so when they have to be virtual team-building activities. How can you organize something that appeals to a diverse group of people with different interests?

But it’s worth taking time to organize them. They’re a great way for colleagues to bond, leading to a happier working environment. This can improve communication between team members, promote new ways of working, and create more productive working environments.

Remote team-building activities are difficult to organize, but there are lots of options available.

Virtual team-building activities are also more inclusive for employees who may not be able to go out during the evening because of caregiving responsibilities. It’s also easier for employees with chronic illnesses, and for remote teams or hybrid teams to connect.

Here are a few virtual team-building activities you could try.

Lightning talks (or PechaKucha)

In a lightning talk, people get around five minutes to talk about something they’re really passionate about. 

PechaKucha takes a similar approach—people have 20 slides on a topic and get 20 seconds to talk about each slide. 

Talking about something they love makes people are less likely to feel nervous than they would in a typical work-related discussion. These talks are therefore a simple way to help someone develop their public speaking skills.

Someone’s chosen topic doesn’t have to be work-related. It could be dog nutrition, novel writing, the environment—whatever makes them happy! It’s an opportunity for employees to find out more about their colleagues and for them to connect through shared interests.

If you’re planning to host lightning or PechaKucha talks, you could also hold a workshop beforehand on public speaking skills. 

Sometimes people want to join in but have no public speaking experience, or are afraid of it (public speaking is a really common fear!), so giving them some tips will boost their confidence and may increase the number of people who feel excited about participating.

Volunteering or fundraising challenges

Volunteering and fundraising allow employees to bond over a passion for a common cause. 

You could offer a regular window during working hours to volunteer, or several hours per month to donate to a good cause.

Fundraising challenges are shorter, but allow employees to work toward a shared goal, such as walking or running a certain distance together.

Both options provide employees with the opportunity to give back to the world, whatever their situation.

It doesn’t always have to be about donating money—donating time to help those who need it can make just as much of a difference, and provide lots of team-building opportunities, too.

Volunteering and fundraising opportunities also show what your company cares about to the outside world. 

Demonstrating the impact you want to have, beyond what your business does, helps employees to feel like a part of something and can attract more job candidates and potential customers.

Hackathons

Hackathons, where participants have a set amount of time to create a solution or product, are another option. 

These events can last any length of time, but they’re usually short. The idea behind them is that the shorter time frame leads to more creativity, innovation, focus, and, of course, teamwork.

Typically, they’re focused around a key challenge the company is currently facing, but they can also be more open-ended than that. There should at least be some sort of theme to bring everyone together. And probably some prizes on offer for the best results, too.

Hackathons are an opportunity for employees to play to their strengths and challenge themselves. Which is the perfect environment to grow as a person and an employee.

Movie nights 

Informal communication is a key way to build employee morale. Movies are one of the ways you can encourage this. They help us connect with others, and the genre(s) we prefer can say a lot about us. 

Horror helps us confront our fears and anxieties in a safe place; romance offers us an escape; true crime helps us subconsciously prepare for something that could happen to us; films we watched as children can give us that nostalgic, warm and fuzzy feeling.

Discussing and dissecting a film is often water cooler chat, but why not organize it so that everyone has seen it at the same time, and they can discuss it at the same time, too? 

You could provide a list of questions to think about at the end, or let the conversation flow once the movie is over.

Quiz night

Quizzes can be a great way for different team members to show off their areas of expertise and work together to answer the most questions.

You could do a standard quiz, go for something different, like a Jeopardy!-style contest, or make up anagrams or puzzles for participants to solve. Or even combine different types of questions so that everyone gets a chance to use their knowledge and skills.

Dividing employees into small groups, outside of the people they normally work with, gives employees the chance to connect with others and get to know them better. It also ensures that employees who have fewer work-based friends don’t feel left out because they weren’t asked to be in a group.

Escape rooms

In-person escape rooms were growing in popularity before the pandemic hit. Now, the same growth is happening to online ones. 

You can do anything from escaping a spaceship to running away from vampires. 

Sometimes they involve things being sent to someone’s house in advance, while in other instances, everything is done via email or video call.

Teams usually range from 4 to 8, so this is better for small departments, or when people are separated into small groups.

Murder mystery

True crime is one of the biggest genres in the world right now. What better way to build problem-solving skills for true crime lovers than investigating a (fictional) crime?

Online murder mysteries can operate in a few ways, from guided calls to independent, web-based tales. 

Book club (work-related)

Establishing a work-related book club encourages an atmosphere of learning, and discussions about that learning. 

It also teaches active reading skills, which can improve employees’ editorial and analytical abilities.

Suggesting nonfiction books related to upcoming business decisions can often be more powerful than a manager dictating how something will happen. It gives employees a greater understanding of the situation and makes them feel more like a part of the decision-making process.

Book club (fiction)

If you’re going to offer a fiction-focused book club, make sure to alternate genres each week so that everyone’s tastes are included. You could even give each member of the group a chance to pick a book. 

If possible, aim for easy reads so that it doesn’t take huge amounts of time or brain power for people to complete the book. This will be more accommodating to people of different reading skills and energy levels. You’re then more likely to get employees to want to take part and chat about what they’ve read.

Conclusion

Being in different locations doesn’t mean employees can’t still build team skills. These are just a few examples of virtual team-building activities you could try with your employees to foster better communication, a more engaged workforce, and happier employees.

If you’re interested in a better way to market, manage, and measure your team-building activities, check out Workrowd. We’ve got a full suite of tools to help you build transparency and connection for every employee, and track the value of your programs over time. Drop us a line at hello@workrowd.com if you’d like to learn more!