10 employee engagement workshop ideas to boost morale

four employees engaging in a Poll Everywhere multiple choice activity

Employees are a company’s greatest yet most volatile asset. In the United States alone, the annual employee turnover rate is 47.2%. A huge part of this volatility is due to the lack of employee engagement at work.

The cost for disengagement for companies is high, as it eats into their profits through lost productivity and high turnover rates. A Gallup report found that in 2022, employee engagement reached a record high—almost one in four employees were engaged at work. But that means there’s still a lot of work to be done.

One way to improve engagement is to conduct employee engagement workshops. It's an excellent way to show employees you care about their voice, growth, and well-being, which translates into better outcomes. 

We’ll explore the concept of employee engagement workshops, how to conduct them, and types of workshops you can implement today.

What is an employee engagement workshop?

Employee engagement workshops are sessions where leaders and employees are equipped with the tools and techniques to increase engagement at work. The intention is to empower every individual and improve their involvement at work.

These workshops act as a gateway to foster communication and align employee goals with company goals.

There are several benefits of conducting them: 

  • They create channels for honest dialogue on issues that impact employee engagement and morale.
  • Through interactive exercises, you can encourage engaged employees, increase team cohesion, and improve collaboration.
  • Employees understand the company's vision more closely—leading to being more motivated.
  • Employees and leaders can improve soft skills like leadership, critical thinking, and problem-solving.
  • They create avenues for teams to highlight and address underlying challenges or pain points that impact engagement.
  • Employees are less likely to look for opportunities elsewhere, lowering turnover costs.

How to host an employee engagement workshop?

As employees are already caught up with their daily responsibilities, getting them to participate and remain engaged throughout is challenging. This is why it's important to create a clear-cut goal and inform employees of the employee engagement workshop agenda. Frame it in a way that's beneficial to them—it's easier to get their buy-in.

Here’s how you can create an employee engagement program that caters to the 17 drivers of employee engagement:

  • Set a clear goal: Think about what you want to achieve. For example, if you're going to teach how to create a healthy work-life balance, the workshop's structure and content should cater to that.
  • Set the time frame: The time frame changes based on the workshop's goal and your employees' availability. An onboarding workshop might take two hours, but a corporate innovation workshop might take more. Keep it long enough to deliver all the information but short enough to encourage active participation.
  • Develop the content: You need to include up-to-date content that meets industry standards and uses a mix of content formats. Ideally, include presentations for in-person and remote sessions, but use self-paced sessions for remote work. And to keep them engaged, use an employee engagement tool like Poll Everywhere to keep their attention. 
  • Choose the participants: You should keep the workshop limited to a single department or team, and limit the number of attendees to a manageable number so you can give more attention to individuals during the session.
  • Send the agenda and get feedback: After you have the action plan in place, send it to your target group of employees and get feedback on the plan from them. You can do this by creating an open backchannel to submit anonymous questions or concerns and address them before or during the workshop.
  • Conduct the workshop: Acting as a neutral facilitator, present the topic and tackle the questions sent in earlier. It's best to create engagement activities like icebreakers and competitions during the workshop. After the workshop, gather feedback using Poll Everywhere and compile those insights.
  • Document insights and communicate results: Document everything you learn during the workshop. For example, common pain points, challenges, workshop feedback, and post-workshop impact. This forms the base for future workshops and will let you create sessions aligned with your employees' needs. Feedback is an ongoing process, so invest the time and energy to gather that information in a way that lets you make meaningful changes to the workshops.

10 workshops to boost employee engagement

Now that you know how to conduct a workshop, let’s look at the types of workshops you can get started with:

1. Employee onboarding

Joining a new company is nerve-wracking—and that feeling worsens when there's no set onboarding process. Integrate new hires slowly and steadily by providing them with the right resources to get up to speed. An employee onboarding workshop is an excellent way to do that.

Let's say you have a new batch of junior residents joining your hospital next month. Create a presentation that takes them through the following:

  • Hospital’s history
  • Organizational culture
  • Rules and regulations
  • Department-specific information
  • Potential training opportunities
  • Perks and benefits

When onboarded effectively, employees become productive faster, resonate with the company's vision, and are more likely to remain with the organization long-term. Imagine a day-long session where they meet fellow new hires, get a company tour, and complete their onboarding requirements to achieve this.

2. Values and culture alignment

Every organization has a vision that employees need to get behind. This helps them understand the company’s goal and future direction. But if they’re unaware of the tangible impact of these aspects, that lack of alignment eventually shows up in their work.

Conduct an alignment workshop to reinforce these beliefs and address concerns about them.

For example, in a finance consultancy, consultants are too close to their client's confidential information. As potential data leaks are possible, you must clarify that the company won't tolerate such activities. And there are many ways in which this can occur—knowingly or unknowingly.

In the workshop, discuss real-life scenarios that can lead to that while reiterating the consequences of such decisions.

In addition, if employees feel like the reality of the workplace doesn’t reflect the organizational value, get that feedback and ask them why. This lets you keep a check on the ground reality of the situation.

3. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)

DEI is a requirement for all companies, regardless of location. Yet marginalized groups face discriminatory practices all the time. 

To discourage these practices, conduct a DEI workshop and discuss important issues like gender and racial equality, corporate sensitivity, and best practices for communication.

It could be that few employees have ever interacted with individuals from specific cultures or ethnicities. Bridge that gap by showing them how to embrace diversity and how things that seem normal to them might offend some cultures. Or how discrimination brings down the organization's morale, preventing it from reaching its goals. 

For example, implicit bias is a common issue in healthcare. Black patients are known to have lower arterial oxygen saturation compared to white patients. This impacts their treatment for deadly diseases like COVID-19 or other respiratory disorders. So show employees how their actions affect those around them and provide guidelines to recognize and resolve those issues.

4. Team building activities

Team building activities are an excellent way to encourage employees to bond with each other. It enhances teamwork and fosters trust, resulting in them acting like a cohesive unit.

These are directed toward People Operations and HR professionals, where they're taught how to create activities that cater to the Five Dysfunctions of a Team:

  • Absence of Trust
  • Fear of Conflict
  • Lack of Commitment
  • Avoidance of Accountability
  • Inattention to Results

This can result in a list of activities like the following: 

  • Three-minute storytelling competition
  • Six-word story
  • Gartic phone
  • Team stretches
  • Four walls communication
  • Hiking 

For example, a full day of outdoor activities packed with problem-solving tasks, creative projects, or shared experiences like hiking can break down barriers and teach them to work toward a common goal.

5. Professional development

Most employees value career progression irrespective of their age. One in three employees indicates that they'll leave a company if there are better career development opportunities. So cater to their current needs and introduce programs that fill those gaps.

There are two ways to do this: a feedback workshop and the actual learning and development (L&D) workshop.

Use Poll Everywhere to create an open-ended Survey. Gather feedback about skill gaps your employees think they have. Consolidate that information and create team or department-specific workshops to address these concerns. It increases employee satisfaction as they access tailored courses without seeking it elsewhere.

6. Physical and mental well-being

Many employees face the physical effects of working too much, with stress levels rising. Ultimately, it impacts the way the organization functions and their overall performance.

For example, if you have a hospital or clinic and you notice that overall employee engagement is reducing, it could be due to work-related stress and lack of a work-life balance—which is common in the industry. Hold workshops with trained medical professionals and employee engagement experts to teach them things like:

  • Stress management
  • Time management
  • Workplace boundary setting
  • Techniques to improve productivity
  • Communication with leadership

These sessions will show employees the many ways in which they can get work done at a faster pace and clock out on time. They'll also learn how to stand up for themselves in the workplace. It'll lead to better work-life balance and reduced stress levels.

7. Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) provide platforms for those with similar backgrounds or life experiences. Especially for marginalized groups, these offer support and a sense of belonging.

For example, an ERG could focus on gender inclusivity at work. The group can be led by accomplished leaders who have made their way to the top despite facing a biased work environment.

They can hold regular workshops on granular issues like “how to ask for a raise at work” or “how to develop soft skills that help you become a business leader.”

8. Development and retention

These are directed toward HR and People Operations individuals struggling with employee retention. It shows them the ropes for truly building engagement at work—such that it translates into better retention rates over time.

It also shows them the path to implementing an employee development program that would complement these efforts. Here's what you can expect in these workshops:

  • Identifying leadership styles that work for different company cultures
  • How to cultivate a positive culture at work
  • How to improve team engagement and diversity
  • How to create interesting engagement initiatives

9. Corporate innovation

Corporate innovation workshops encourage creative thinking that drives the company's growth and competitive edge. The goal is to align internal processes and leadership's vision to foster innovation at all levels.

Consider a scenario where cross-functional team members brainstorm on new product ideas. Only when they're encouraged to look outside their usual sphere of influence will they be able to come back with newer ideas.

Most of these workshops work on existing frameworks like the iEcosystem framework by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

10. Lunch and Learn

“Lunch and Learn” sessions lean on the concept of informal yet impactful learning. As it's over a shared meal, employees discuss topics of interest with peers who are experienced professionals.

Use Poll Everywhere to collect topics of interest through a Pinned Q&A. After you’ve decided which topics will be discussed, send a Multiple choice poll asking them for the best days of the week to conduct this.

Using that information, set up an informal session where participants come together and discuss the chosen topic. This improves the employee experience, as they feel like they can access unstructured information when they need it.

Boost employee engagement with Poll Everywhere

Employee engagement workshops are an excellent way to increase team cohesion, productivity, and retention rates. They're not mere investments but strategic investments into your workforce that improve the company's financial health.

The best way to ensure that these workshops have an actual impact on your employees, it's best to conduct them regularly. Constantly gather feedback before and after these workshops to clearly understand how employees feel about the workshop’s results.

Use Poll Everywhere to gather feedback from employees. You can create employee engagement surveys, open-ended backchannels, or polls to gauge the pulse of your company.  

For example, if you want to understand how the workshop is going, integrate it with your presentation software to seamlessly present live interactive polls. On the other hand, if you need employee engagement workshop ideas, send an open-ended Survey to get these in. You find out what resonates and what requires improvement, letting you fine-tune these workshops to reach your engagement goals. 

Ready to scale your remote company culture? This free ebook gives you even more tips and guidance on keeping your remote team engaged, productive, and committed to your company. Even if your current remote work situation is hybrid or temporary, you may want to bring on remote workers or build off-site teams in the future.