3 Exercises to Build Engagement With Your Employees

Engagement, burnout, productivity, quiet quitting, quiet firing, stress, balance, overworked, meeting fatigue.

These are common “trending” words thrown around by our workforce in regards to the current labor environment. Couple this with the highest rates of suicide since World War II, an opioid epidemic, a country coming out of a pandemic, and a mental health crisis regardless of your age, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or economic status……..we need a new normal. We need a new baseline! Let’s all work together to try and find this.

I don’t believe there is an organization today that is not trying to overcome for these current challenges in our society regardless of it’s size. I have no doubt that some companies are building a better culture than others, but building bridges and relationships with each other is more vital than ever. In fact, the business we currently are building now, Cadre, is not immune to this, despite the fact WE are building the solution to help solve for these complex problems for both employees and employers. Takes a village, but we are committed to making a difference.

Today, I am going to give you three opportunities to build culture and most importantly, relationships within your organization. For the record, I have done each of these and they have been game changers that have allowed our teams to come closer together and establish connectivity that otherwise would be lost. Funny to see just how fast the walls come down when vulnerability, authenticity, and radical candor are the core to an activity. With anything in leadership, always the right time and place to perform each of these exercises.

Here are my 3 Favorites.

1. I am X 15 (about 1 hour for 6 people-2 hours for 12)

  • Give everyone a sheet of paper.
  • Have them write “I am X 15” on the top of the sheet
  • Each team member has to start every single sentence with “I am…..”
  • Give an example to the team. “I am creative and love coming up with new ideas” or “I am a runner”
  • They will do this 15 times, hence I am X 15
  • Give the team 15 minutes to really think. The first 5-8 are easy and then it usually takes a little bit. Don’t Rush! This is an opportunity for critical thinking about oneself that really help connect your entire team!
  • Gather around in a circle and have each individual read their I am X 15 list to the others.
  • The replies will blow you away!! Don’t worry about time here, it will be worth every second for the future. Trust the process. Enjoy.
  • An example is in the picture attached with this blog

2. Triple H (1-3 hours)

  • In a small or large group, get the crew excited about the most amazing engaging activity they will ever have.
  • Called Triple H for a Reason. Each team member is responsible to share the following; Hero, Hardship, and Highlight(s) of their life.
  • Depending on the size, you may want to start with one H and then flow through the entire group, and then move to the second H and flow through the entire group rather than having each team member share all three at the same time. A group of 15 individuals that met in Colorado that we did this with one time took hours and hours as it went deep and opened the door to many conversations. It was still one of the most impactful moments of my professional career in my entire life.
  • Take your time and let people talk
  • Make sure people understand this is a “no phone” time during this exercise to really hold attention of all team members. Take breaks for checking phone if you need, but not acceptable during sharing time
  • Bring the Kleenex box because you will most certainly be shedding some tears as a team. Human beings are dynamic and resilient and we tend to forget that at times.

3. Crazy 8’s (1 hour or less)

  • You will assign each team member a partner. If you are the leader and it is odd, you will need to jump in. If it is even, that is good news and you can just facilitate. When picking partners, do your best to try and keep it anonymous, think picking straws, matching numbers, etc.
  • After team members are assigned, they will each have 8 minutes to connect with each other and answer the following question
  • 8 ways our team can come together to _______.
    • In this case we will be using “reduce stress”.
    • Could switch for “reduce burnout” or “promote wellness” or even “increase engagement”.
  • Each team then presents to the entire team their 8 ways that they wrote down together after the 8 minute clock is up
    • want to keep this moving hence the 8 minutes.
  • The facilitator will then write, type, whiteboard, google doc, whatever it is….all answers for all the teams
  • The entire group will then break down the answers that are the same in to the same bucket to one category for redundancy.
    • Think “exercise” versus “going for a run”
  • Each team then gets to select their 2 favorite responses once the list is trimmed
  • The response with the highest total wins. If tied, teams vote on either A or B
  • The winning proclamation then needs to take an actionable step with the team
  • In the exercise we used “reduce stress” and the solution voted on by the entire team was “no email past 6pm (hypothetically)”.
  • Then, it needs to be acknowledged by the entire team as a selected methodology on this particular crazy 8. Holding each other accountable to the crazy 8 is another, but hopefully helps solve and/or provides solutions for topical areas of consideration that temporarily “plague” or pain companies or teams.
  • Enjoy having Crazy 8‘s on various topical areas of concern with your team or business that hopefully build increased engagement, productivity, and overall happiness by your colleagues.
  • Turn a negative into a positive by identifying problems and proposing solutions that are derived together

We all need to be creative to find ways to build community, teams, relationships, and connection. Never forget the importance (either employees or employers) of having a voice and sharing what really matters to promote who you are, what you are, why you are, and these authentic practices will move the needle.

These are some of my favorite exercises to build team, continuity, relationships, and better yet, solutions and friendships. I hope you found this information beneficial and would love to hear if you try one of these team building opportunities what is the feedback. I hope its a success!

Love and kindness goes a LONG way.

Please share any of your stories with these exercises with me [email protected]

Build each other up, that is EVERYONE’S responsibility.

With Love,