A Few Ways to Keep Employees Engaged and Have Fun in the Workplace

By Fran Peters| August 14, 2012

There is currently a huge demand for IT workers to fill hundreds of available tech jobs and IT positions, especially in Chicago. Some may even argue that Chicago is becoming the new tech hub. At BDO Digital, we too are currently hiring for many open IT positions. This is a direct result of our growth and the success we have seen as a company. More importantly, it is a reflection of our corporate culture and the great employees we have here who provide excellent service to our customers.

We are honored to have been externally recognized by many organizations this year for being one of the best places to work in Chicago. Beyond being a great place to work and having a great corporate culture, as an HR professional I am constantly thinking of new ways to keep our employees engaged and add value to our organization. One way we do this at BDO Digital is through various informational, mentoring and social activities, which we feel are designed to create a sense of shared responsibility for the company’s success, bridge the gap between departments, and facilitate cross-functional collaboration. Here are a couple of ways we have fun at BDO Digital and keep our employees engaged:

Mentoring Activities

  • Some teams assigned IT Career Managers to each new hire to serve as an IT mentor and point of contact when it comes to different assignments and exposure to new technologies.
  • Employees are also informally mentored by senior IT consultants, with whom they work side by side in implementing customer projects, enabling on-the-job learning.
  • All employees receive a formal annual review to set future goals and assist with career advancement within the organization

Informational Activities

  • We host regular ‘Lunch and Learn’ sessions sponsored by different departments enabling employees to learn about specific technology topics (Business Intelligence, IT Managed Services, SharePoint, Unified Communications, etc.).
  • Employees are also invited to attend our Thursday informational lunches and IT events held at local restaurants for customers and prospects.
  • Company financials, achievements and new initiatives are shared at the annual company meeting every year, along with management’s vision for the company’s future.

Social Activities Inside the Office

  • Breakfast and Lunch – We bring in breakfast several times a month and lunch at least two times a week in conjunction with company meetings. We also always have healthy snacks and beverages available for our staff.
  • Friday Happy Hour – This takes place at 4 pm in the BDO Digital kitchen every Friday.
  • Monthly Birthday Spread – Each month we celebrate all employee birthdays by bringing in a dessert assortment.
  • Parties – We have random parties throughout the year. The last one was a huge Friday the 13th celebration related to receiving 13th Best Place to Work status from Crain’s Chicago Business. We gave away 13 big prizes (Xbox, Corn hole set, personal training sessions, iPad, iPod, vacation day, etc.) and had it fully catered.

Social Activities Outside the Office

  • Annual Golf Outing – Golf and dinner.
  • Annual Meeting /Team-Building – All annual meetings are held off-site at a fun setting followed by a team-building exercise. Recent sites/activities have included a TopGolf and a corn hole tournament, a race track outing, arcade games at Dave and Busters, and beach volleyball.
  • Cubs Game Outing – This year we are renting the Budweiser Pavilion.
  • Holiday Party – BDO Digital sponsors an annual holiday party including BDO Digital -paid hotel rooms for all employees.
  • Summer Outing – These have included a private yacht cruise party on Lake Michigan.

Corporate Wellness Initiatives
Our employee wellness program is also unusually comprehensive. Highlights include:

  • On-site fitness center
  • Corporate-sponsored fitness activities, including participating in and training for the 3.5 mile Chase Corporate Challenge during ‘Test Your Time Tuesdays,’ and the SkyRise Chicago Race up the Willis Tower, intramural team sports and bike club.
  • Fruit and veggie delivery service every Tuesday
  • Healthy snack delivery (Greek yogurt, etc.) once a month
  • Complimentary annual health screenings and gift cards for all employees who improve their health scores on that annual assessment, plus a drawing for a $1,000 gift card to reward health improvements
  • Quarterly chair massages open to everyone
  • Complimentary counseling service through our Unum Work-Life Balance Program

Please connect with me on LinkedIn, if you have any other great ideas on employee engagement to share.