Working to create motivated, engaged employees is a full-time job. That’s why a static approach to onboarding no longer works. You need real interaction, but as the number of team members grows, it’s often hard to individualize not only your new hires, but your existing employees as well.
Consider a unique approach to employee engagement that, when done right, can work wonders. “Blind Dates” between employees can not only increase worker morale but improve productivity, motivation and work quality as well. Beyond that, Globoforce reported that when they have a friend in the office, employees are 69% more likely to describe themselves as “highly engaged” at work.
The strategy, while a bit awkward at first, simply calls for your Employee Relations team to arrange for different employees – who likely would never interact in their normal workday – to meet and greet each other.
Toronto-based FreshBooks, has completed several rounds of blind dates among employees, and reported that of the employees who chose to opt-in, “100 percent of people who joined said they liked it.” These meetings are all about building rapport and giving staff a break from the daily mundane work tasks. Employees can treat the time as a brainstorming session since bouncing ideas off someone with a new perspective is often helpful.
Staff from different departments can also get together for parts of assignments where their work connects. They can work with each other to clear confusion and gain more knowledge — each employee will have something unique to bring forward.
Their blind date is a time when all regular work should get thrown out the window. Let them sit down for coffee and find ways to help each other grow. Your employees will not only engage with each other, they also get an emotional break from their normal work life.
This personalized communication truly matters. The one thing that makes an employee feel worthless, or on the brink of getting fired, is a lack of personalization. You should want your entire team to be comfortable with each other, regardless of which position they hold or what department they serve.
The key is to plan these blind dates strategically. Don’t just pick names out of a hat. If Bob from the IT department can help Janet from accounting overcome software confusion, why not let them interact?
They might already communicate through certain protocols or systems. But by building rapport, less negativity and fear surrounds their communications. In the end, Janet will walk away more confident that she can reach out to Bob for little issues. Meanwhile, Bob will have a better feel for Janet’s weak points and will no longer feel like he’s offending her when he offers unsolicited help.
The idea might sound a little “out there,” and it is, but the results may astonish you when its done right. Focus on cross-department dates; create interactions that wouldn’t happen otherwise. Set aside an hour each month for “corporate dating,” and have department managers coordinate the two employees, based on what benefits their current workload the most.