Coming up with the right virtual employee engagement activities can make the difference between having disengaged employees and creating an exciting workplace culture where every member of the team feels invested in the success of the organization.
In this post, we put together some of our favorite virtual employee engagement activities that you can implement in your organization.
The virtual employee engagement activities listed below are only blueprints. It is your innovation and smarts that will turn them into actions. Once you’re done with this list, we do recommend you check out our article on how you can create an employee engagement action plan in 4 easy steps!
Table of Contents
What is Virtual Employee Engagement and Why is It Important?
Employee engagement is the degree of loyalty and connection to the organization, as well as sincerity toward the organization, its employees, and its culture.
Employee engagement is being recognized as a key element of success in today’s competitive economy. Employees are the most essential component of any company. Revenue and the position of a company are directly impacted by employee engagement levels.
According to a Gallup survey, employees who are more engaged are 18% more productive. Significant growth indicates highly engaged staff members in a company. This is why organizations place a strong emphasis on developing a work environment where people will give their best.
15 Virtual Employee Engagement Activities
1. Virtual Murder Mystery
Online murder games might be one of the best virtual employee engagement activities out there. Competition is good, but collaboration is better. With murder mysteries, you can do both! You can have your cake and eat it!
These games are a great way for your employees to work together and solve puzzles together while enjoying fun stories. You can take them to the next level by dividing your team into breakout rooms and seeing which team can solve the puzzle first.
There are many incredible virtual murder mystery games out there and all of them can be great virtual employee engagement ideas in their own right. Our personal favorite is the Society of Curiosities Series.
2. Virtual Trivia Contests
Trivia is always a crowd-pleaser and a great way to engage remote employees! Whether you’re a sports buff or a pop culture fanatic, there’s a trivia topic for everyone. You can host virtual trivia contests using platforms like Microsoft Teams or Discord. You can even add a little friendly competition by offering prizes for the winners.
The best part about hosting trivia events is that it provides your team with the opportunity to get to know each other on a level they had never known before. Who would’ve guessed that Janice from accounting was a die-hard Star Wars fan?
3. Online Tournaments
Who says you can’t have some friendly competition while working remotely? Virtual game tournaments are a great way to engage your team and build camaraderie and excellent virtual employee engagement activities.
You can choose from a variety of games like trivia, poker, or even a classic game of Jeopardy. Just make sure to set some ground rules and keep the competition friendly!
Another fun idea is to host a virtual game show. You can use platforms like Kahoot or Quizlet to create your own game show-style quizzes.
Your team members can compete against each other to see who knows the most about your company or industry. Not only is it a fun way to engage your team, but it’s also a great way to reinforce important information.
4. Employee Appreciation E-mails
Some virtual employee engagement activities are incredibly simple and just as effective. A quick email can go a long way in making your team members feel valued.
Take the time to send personalized emails to your team members to recognize their hard work and contributions. Bonus points if you add a little humor or a fun gif to brighten their day.
You can take this idea to the absolute mask and transition from e-mails to hosting virtual award ceremonies.
You can create awards for things like “Best Teams Background” or “Most Creative Problem Solver.” Your team members will love the recognition and it’s a great way to build team morale.
5. Employee Recognition Software
Practicing employee recognition is one of the best virtual employee engagement ideas you can go with any day of the week.
That being said, in a remote setting, practicing recognition isn’t as simple as giving someone a pat on the back or saying your congratulations over coffee. Remote employee recognition requires consistency and efficiency.
That is why we recommend that you invest in recognition software that lets your team show each other the appreciation they truly deserve.
There are some very helpful tools you can use in that regard to this. In fact, we highlighted some of the best recognition tools of the year right here: Top 10 Employee Recognition Software of 2023.
If your organization is using Microsoft Teams, however, Teamflect is the best option by far. Teamflect is an all-in-one performance management software designed specifically for Microsoft Teams.
With how customizable and intuitive Teamflect is, you can implement all your virtual employee engagement activities without ever having to leave Microsoft Teams.
Teamflect also lets you gauge the effectiveness of your virtual employee engagement ideas, through employee engagement surveys. You can use customizable templates to conduct pulse surveys, exchange feedback, conduct performance reviews, manage tasks, and more!
6. Sending Care Packages & Gift Cards
Virtual employee engagement activities, don’t always have to be “virtual”. Nothing beats the sensation of getting a real surprise in the mail. And real, tangible employee recognition is hard to come by in these times of remote work. So, why not send your team a fun surprise in the actual mail?
Sending care packages or gift cards is a great way to show your team members that you care. Whether it’s a box of snacks or a gift card to their favorite coffee shop, these little tokens of appreciation can go a long way in making your team feel valued.
7. Virtual Coffee Breaks
Getting rid of the sense of isolation might be one of the key employee engagement metrics of our time. Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you can’t take a coffee break with your team members.
Schedule virtual coffee breaks using platforms like Microsoft Teams or Discord. It’s a great way to catch up with your team members and build connections.
Scheduling these virtual coffee breaks also allows for fun little office rituals to form even as you’re working in a remote setting. You can take this to the next level by turning them into full-on happy hours on special occasions.
8. Making Feedback Accessible
Saying that feedback is important is the “Water is wet.” of virtual employee engagement activities. That doesn’t mean the discussion of how we are exchanging feedback isn’t relevant. Especially in remote settings, keeping the exchange of feedback continuous and accessible is a challenge in and of itself.
To help you with this, we strongly recommend that you incorporate some employee feedback templates into the communication software of your choice. Here is a library filled to the brim with some of the feedback templates you can find anywhere: Teamflect’s Feedback Template Gallery.
9. Virtual Training Sessions
Virtual training sessions are a great way to develop your team’s skills and knowledge. You can use platforms like Microsoft Teams or any other communication software of your choice to host virtual training sessions on topics like leadership, communication, or technical skills. These sessions can be led by internal experts or external trainers.
You can build further on this practice by evolving it into virtual mentorships. As your mentorships evolve, you can develop other employee engagement strategies around them.
You can try creating virtual mentorship programs where your team members can connect with more experienced colleagues for guidance and advice. These programs can be structured or informal, depending on your team’s needs.
10. A Digital Library
Everyone learns at their own pace! Not everyone will benefit from attending classes or having things taught to them by someone else. Not every virtual employee engagement idea is created the same!
Many of your employees are individual learners who benefit from simply having access to educational resources. That is why building a digital library is one of the top-notch virtual employee engagement ideas out there.
You can compile articles, podcasts, and videos on topics relevant to your industry or company values. Your team members can access these resources at their own pace and use them to develop their skills and knowledge.
11. Create a Small-Victories Channel
Consider setting up a small-victories channel when organizing virtual employee engagement activities. This channel can be on Microsoft Teams, email, or other messaging services where the company can celebrate little achievements.
You may, for instance, include a press mention, a positive blog comment, or a professional achievement. Keeping the scope narrow is the only rule for this activity.
12. Virtual Birthday Celebration
Birthday celebrations at work typically involve cakes in the break room. But, you can make a few little adjustments to have a similarly high-quality celebration while you work virtually. Birthday celebrations as virtual employee engagement activities, will be enough to put a smile on your colleagues’ faces.
We have two suggestions:
- Invite the birthday person to join a call a few moments after the rest of the team. Everyone will applaud and wish them a happy birthday when they join, creating the impression of a virtual surprise party.
- Or you can use Canva to create a “Happy Birthday, Jack!” message, and then post it on your organization’s channels.
13. Motivational Speeches
To inspire and involve your virtual team, you might learn to give motivational talks.
Going from big to small is a straightforward formula for delivering a motivational speech. Speak with honesty, enthusiasm, and integrity.
When you deliver a motivational speech well, your team will support the idea and engagement will significantly increase and there are almost no repercussions if you deliver an inspirational speech incorrectly.
14. Wellness Challenge
Working remotely can either help you develop healthy habits or prevent you from doing so. For instance, if your staff had the option to begin working from bed in the morning, they might be more inclined to do so. A further example would be eating regularly, getting enough water, and exercising.
A monthly Wellness Challenge might help your remote employees establish healthy behaviors. Pick a theme, such as “20 minutes of walking every day,” and create a spreadsheet to monitor your progress. The colleague with the most completed days wins!
You can give Amazon gift cards as a prize or reward them with a yoga mat to reinforce healthy habits further.
15. Virtual Hackathon
Some businesses host internal hackathons where groups of people strive to come up with solutions to issues the business is seeking to solve. By holding a virtual hackathon, you can apply the most effective elements of hackathons for remote employee engagement.
Use Google Sheets or a comparable platform if you wish to include staff members with more general abilities or from different divisions. Together, you can solve business challenges, or you may do something more enjoyable to increase remote employee engagement.
What are some mistakes to avoid with virtual employee engagement activities?
There is nothing wrong with trying hard to keep your virtual employees engaged and any virtual employee engagement activity you plan will definitely be a step in the right direction. That being said, as with any well-intentioned initiative, there are common mistakes that organizations and leaders often make when planning and executing virtual employee engagement activities.
Let’s dive into these pitfalls to ensure your virtual employee engagement activities are successful and genuinely impactful.
1. Doing them just for the sake of it.
One of the most significant mistakes made with virtual employee engagement activities is a lack of purpose and alignment with organizational goals. While virtual activities can be fun and entertaining, they should also serve a strategic purpose.
Activities should promote team cohesion, address specific challenges, or support skill development. Failure to align these activities with your organization’s objectives can result in wasted time and resources.
2. Underestimating Technology Requirements
Effective virtual employee engagement activities often rely on technology, whether it’s video conferencing platforms, collaboration tools, or interactive apps. Giving the go-ahead on virtual employee engagement activities is great. But let’s make sure you have the right infrastructure to handle them.
It’s a common mistake to assume that all employees are equally tech-savvy or have access to the same resources. Organizations must ensure that the chosen technology is user-friendly and accessible to all participants.
3. Poor Timing and Frequency
Another pitfall to avoid is poor timing and frequency of virtual employee engagement activities. Scheduling activities during work hours or overloading employees with too many events can lead to disengagement.
Infrequent activities can result in a lack of connection and camaraderie among team members. Finding the right balance and scheduling virtual activities thoughtfully is essential for success.
4. Neglecting Follow-Up and Long-Term Engagement
Many organizations make the mistake of viewing virtual employee engagement activities as one-time events. In reality, the impact of these activities can be maximized when they are part of a broader engagement strategy.
Follow-up actions, such as recognizing and celebrating achievements or integrating lessons learned from activities into daily work, are vital for sustaining employee engagement over the long term.
If you have made it this far down the article, that means you care about employee engagement just as much as we do and we think that is rare!
So if your organization is using Microsoft Teams, then we can wholeheartedly say that this right here, is a match made in heaven. You should definitely give Teamflect a try! You can schedule a free demo, and roll out Teamflect’s free plan for a 10-person group within your organization to see how it fits!