The Chemistry of Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is the buzzword on everyone’s lips in human resources currently. Without it, countless hours are lost to employee absenteeism, resulting in reduced productivity, and retention rates for good employees may actually be driven down due to lack of engagement.
But how can it be achieved?  
Employee engagement can be driven by social cohesion, i.e. by creating “chemistry” between your employee so that they “bond” together. Social cohesion creates a team environment, so that your employees work for not only their pay-packet, but also in order not to let their teammates down. We call this concept, the “diamond” phenomenon.

What does social cohesion look like?

In essence, it looks like a diamond. You probably know that a diamond is created under pressure. Actually, diamonds are made up of carbon molecules highly bonded to each other. So too, with the correct social cohesion, pressure need not destroy the links of a company, but solidify the bonds and turn your company into a diamond.

Creating “bonds”

As an employee, you are in a unique position to create social cohesion. Your actions are like the electrons that form bonds in a diamond, creating the structure that binds your team together by the bonds you form with your team members. What is an example of a bond, I hear you ask?

One example, is to create “coffee dates” between employees. Have all the names of your employees in a draw and match up employees to go on “dates” to get to know one another. If you’re feeling generous you can fund the coffee. The more that your employees are involved with this scheme, the more employees they meet and get to know, and the greater the social cohesion

Another strategy is larger events. Holding office barbecues or Sunday picnics are another way of encouraging social mingling, as are parties for celebrations or holidays. Alternatively, organise a “fun” activity once a month, such as rock climbing or bowling.

Additionally, providing a meeting place for employees can help maintenance of social cohesion. Schools provide a teachers lounge for employees, similarly, a common room can provide an opportunity for socialisation between co-workers. With a common room, you can provide an occasional lunch, or an occasional take-away dinner if people are staying late, creating further opportunity for workers to take a break and mingle.

The effect of one social link

Hemoglobin is an unique chemical structure when looking for a comparison to social cohesion. It is the oxygen carrying component of red blood, and with each bond to oxygen, the structure of haemoglobin changes so that it can bind more oxygen. This is similar to friendships in the workplace, one friendship, is likely to encourage others to form, and the overall structural integrity of the whole company is improved.

Hopefully you’ve learned how to influence the engagement of your employees by improving social cohesion. So if you currently have a bunch of inert gases (people) who won’t bind to each other at all, take these steps to start the process of mingling in the office, and end up with a stronger, more productive company.

WooBoard is a peer to peer recognition platform where your employees can send public messages of thanks and appreciation to their colleagues. Sign up for your free 14-Day Trial of WooBoard today.

A guide to using humour in the workplace, using famous workplaces from Netflix Shows

All of us remember a particular job that we had which had a more relaxed attitude, jokes abounded and the camaraderie we felt helped us pass the hours just that bit more quickly. So popular, is the idea of humour at work, that any workplace depicted in television has a good dose of humor accompanying it.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

For example, anyone who has seen the comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine will know of the hilarious antics that take, place in the police station that the captain not only puts up with but also joins in with. However, if everyone isn’t in on the joke, the situation could be more damaging than it is helpful. This article seeks to explain how you can take of advantage of the productivity which comes with encouraging jokes in the workplace, without causing offence to some of your employees.

Having a good laugh in the workplace has been shown to benefit creativity and productivity in the workplace. Yet, some employers make the mistake of stifling humor, seeing it as a distraction from getting work done. This is definitely a mistake, as humour has been shown to increase productivity, rather than hampering it.

Similarly, the role of humour in the workplace is hardly ever taken seriously by researchers, yet the work that does focus on this area shows overwhelmingly positive effects (1). Humour generally has a hard time being taken seriously, only tragedies being considered truly great pieces of literature. However, if you want a seriously great film, I recommend the hilarious dark comedy “the Seven Psychopaths” starring Colin Farrell. Don’t make the same mistake of these researchers and literature critics, encourage humour in your workplace to benefit productivity today!

The Office

While humour can have all of these great benefits in the workplace, it can go awry quickly. Poor jokes, especially sexist, homophobic or racist jokes can only serve to alienate certain members of the staff.

One need look no further for an example than the seriously awkward situation on “The Office”, when in the process of making a point about racial discrimination, the manager, Michael Scott gives the role of “Black” to Stanley (who is a black man). To combat this, understand that styles of humour can be broken down into:

  • affiliative humour (when you laugh with others)
  • aggressive humour (jokes that are made at the expense of others)  
  • self-enhancing humour (in which one attempts to cheer oneself up)
  • self-defeating humour (in which one uses, or allows others to use negative humour at their expense)

Employees can be educated on these four types of humour styles to understand that affiliative humour and self-enhancing humour are the most acceptable forms. Additionally, ensuring that work behaviour and anti-harassment policies are up-to-date and communicated to employees can be helpful. Once these steps are in place, feel free to encourage as much humour as possible, to the benefit of both your employees, and the bottom line.

WooBoard is a peer to peer recognition platform where your employees can send public messages of thanks and appreciation to their colleagues. Sign up for your free 14-Day Trial of WooBoard today.

  1. Holmes J, Marra M. Having a laugh at work: how humour contributes to workplace culture. J Pragmat. 2002;34(12):1683-1710.

3 Fun ways to increase employee engagement

Engaged employees are a rare breed. Amongst even the biggest and most highly rated organizations in the world, we will often find that engaged employees would account for at best only about 50% of the total workforce.

A Gallup survey conducted in 2013  suggested that only 13% of total employees are engaged, which truely makes for a remarkable 50% a remarkable number to achieve. Where does employee engagement come from? How do we make sure our employees are engaged? What do we do to ensure an engaged workforce?

Using an employee engagement platform is one of the best ways to increase your employee engagement. Being able to recognize and reward employees based on their behaviours and adherence to company values is one of the best ways to increase employee engagement. Apart from this, there are other fun ways to increase employee engagement.

Here are 8 fun ways to increase employee engagement:

Attaching notes of appreciation to your Kanban

The Kanban is a component of project management used to measure the progress of a given project. Kanban can be used in digital form through programs like Jira, MS Project etc, however it is becoming industry standard to create a Kanban through post it notes and other cards on the wall.
As most projects are made up of User Stories and Epics, the content of the Kanban will indicate what User Stories are completed and which are in progress. As the Kanban becomes increasingly filled, it can be easy to lose track of who is working on what, and to share the wins when something gets completed. The content of the Kanban can be pretty dry at times, so why not spice it up with some notes of appreciation. Usually User Stories are completed by one person, or a small team at best, so it’s important to reward and recognize team members when they complete something. Adding stickers to the notes is a fun way to do this!

Add “thank you” notes of appreciation into your office culture

Using “Thank you” notes around the office is a great way to build employee engagement through rewards and recognition. Though you might think that simply verbally saying thank you is an effective strategy as it is, being able to write it down is even more effective in engaging people. The reason why a physical reminder of a thank you is more effective is because it lingers, long after the action has occurred. This builds employee engagement through rewards and recognition. It also adds an element of fun by giving team members a chance to express their gratitude in unique ways.

If you’re feeling a bit strange about saying thank you, there is a guide.

Have a rage and praise meeting

Rage and praise meeting, though a recent phenomena is actually a great way to increase employee engagement, by allowing employees to air grievances and praise others hard work.

To be clear, a rage and praise day is a day whereby team members go around a circle and say “I raged at … but praise … for making it better“, or something along those lines. A rage and praise meeting is great for giving team members a voice, but also providing their airing of grievances with a balance. Usually, complaints are hard to voice due to a perceived air of negativity, but giving them a voice can definitely help.

The best way to increase employee engagement is through rewards and recognition. Though there are many ways to increase employee engagement, try these!

WooBoard is a peer to peer recognition platform where your employees can send public messages of thanks and appreciation to their colleagues. Sign up for your free 14-Day Trial of WooBoard today.