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We’re a quarter of the way into 2023! So it’s time to take a look at how your company is doing with one of the biggest challenges employers face today: employee engagement.

In the era of “quiet quitting,” actively working to improve employee engagement is essential to protecting one of your most important business assets: your people. According to the Gallup article, “U.S. Employee Engagement Needs a Rebound in 2023” it’s an ongoing problem: only 32% of full- and part-time employees are actively engaged at work, and nearly one in five (18%) is actively disengaged.

In a nutshell, that means that over two-thirds of the workforce isn’t engaged in their work.

We don’t have to tell you that’s a big problem.

Suggestions for Improving Employee Engagement

The Gallup article wasn’t all doom and gloom - it included a number of areas where companies can improve to increase employee engagement at work. These include:

  • Clarity of expectations

  • Connection to the mission or purpose of the company

  • Opportunities to learn and grow

  • Opportunities to do what employees do best

  • Feeling cared about at work

Of the recommendations, clarifying expectations in particular is a relatively easy problem to solve. Clarifying expectations in a way that employees understand and resonate with just takes understanding how different people process and communicate information.

And here’s the good news: clarifying expectations is a skill that can easily be practiced and improved by playing games!

Clarifying Expectations Through Games

Imagine you’re in a group of people learning a new game together, and no one knows how to play it. Some people will read the instructions, some people will want to watch a video of other people playing, and others will want to dig in and start playing and consult the rules as they go. Everyone has a different way of learning and processing information.

Expectations at work, both generally and for specific projects, are very similar to game instructions. If you want your employee engagement to improve, you need to understand how your people process those expectations.

  • Do they need the expectations written out?

  • Do they need to hear them verbally?

  • Do they need to have a conversation about those expectations so they can process them out loud?

The Gallup article lists clarifying expectations as one of the most important ways to improve engagement. And it starts with understanding how different team members comprehend instructions, understand rules, and process information. If you approach learning a game with the expectation that you’ll see how your team members learn, you’ll get valuable takeaways on how best to communicate with them.

Want to learn more about how to use games to improve employee engagement? Check out our website at, and schedule your demo today!

Are you worried about keeping your top talent?

Today’s talent landscape is competitive…but you already knew that. In fact, if you’re like most managers, HR professionals, or company leaders, keeping your best performers in today’s marketplace is something that keeps you up at night.

But what if I told you that if your worries about retaining your top talent began once you heard rumblings that they’re dissatisfied, you’re already too late?

If you’re worried about how to keep your best people, that means you’re not secure in their happiness and relationships at work. Strong team and interpersonal relationships are one of the most powerful indicators of whether a high performer will stay in their position, and those relationships and dynamics can’t be suddenly forced into being when that employee has one foot out the door.

Strong team relationships are best built deliberately, over time. How do you do that?

Simple - you start during onboarding.

Onboarding is a missed opportunity

Most workplaces view onboarding as a simple process of getting someone up to speed on the policies and practices of their new position. They might throw in some background on the company or organization, but usually the “welcome” in onboarding consists of “here’s your keycard, there’s the bathroom.”

This approach, however, is a massive waste of opportunity.

Onboarding isn’t just a chance to bring the new hire up to speed on passwords and best practices. It’s a chance to develop strong relationships within the team and make the new hire feel valued and secure in their position. A chance to make them see and feel how they can contribute to the company culture.

To build a workplace where you don’t stay up worrying about retention, you want to foster relationships centered around trust, a shared team identity, and curiosity about each other. Part of successful onboarding is creating the opportunity for these relationships to develop. Again, you can’t force trust-based, positive team relationships into being…but you can create an onboarding process where fun, teamwork, and mutual curiosity is built into the process.

Games as part of a successful onboarding process

One of the ways you can foster engagement and relationships from the get-go is through games. Games are great onboarding activities because they can encourage people to share stories, create collective memories that build a shared team identity, and make it easier for new hires to interact with existing colleagues.

It’s much easier for a new employee to ask a teammate for help with something if they were laughing together about a shared challenge the day before. And when it comes to keeping your top talent, beginning their tenure with positive, relationship-building experiences is much more effective than trying to backfill a sense of camaraderie when they have one foot out the door.

Bad culture is like vulgarity: “you know it when you see it.”

Unfortunately in today’s workplace, it’s much more common for the saying to go, “you know it when you experience it.”

Bad culture - a workplace of mistrust, lack of communication, feeling undervalued, micro-managing, and hyper-intense pressure - is sadly common is today’s work world, for one simple reason:

Bad culture develops in a vacuum. It’s the default.

Developing an actively good culture, on the other hand, takes effort.

What Makes Good Culture

When people talk about great culture, they usually envision an environment based on trust, accountability, inclusivity, etc.

But an environment like this doesn't just happen. It takes time and, even more importantly, practice to develop an outstanding culture where people feel valued, heard, and trusted.

In our last article, we talked about the importance of practice to solidify on-the-job education and learning. Practice is the key to retaining information and encoding into your personal operating system (just think about how you learned the ABCs).

The importance of practice, however, goes beyond how an individual learns. It also includes how organizations develop the attributes and culture that they want to embody. Deliberate practice - practice where you put thought and effort into what you’re doing instead of going through the motions - is the key to building a positive culture into the DNA of your organization.

How To Develop A Healthy Team Culture

An organization’s culture is built from the culture of its individual teams, which are the building blocks that contribute to the whole. And there are two essential ingredients for a healthy team culture: trust and accountability.

However, as crucial as these characteristics are, they don’t just magically appear when a new team is created. Trust and accountability start with small demonstrations on day-to-day tasks, such as:

  • meeting (or beating) deadlines;

  • staying engaged and asking the right questions during meetings; and

  • producing high quality work.

These demonstrations of trustworthiness and accountability, combined with team members getting to know each other better, accrue over time and gradually grow into trust. And thus, a healthy team culture is born.

The faster a new team can build that trust, accountability, and healthy culture, the sooner it contributes to the thriving of the overall organization. And while accountability and trust will never form instantaneously, there is one way to speed up the process: practice.

Particularly, practice that allows teams to experiment with how to communicate and collaborate in real time.

There are many excellent tools that teams can use to practice new ways of working together and building accountability and trust. Games especially are a great way to practice different modes of communication and collaboration in a non-threatening environment, giving team members the opportunity to fast-track their rapport and trust in each other.

The act of practicing, of learning and growing together on a granular, team-based level is what eventually builds a great organizational culture. Working together, it can create a whole that is worth way more than the sum of its parts.

Keep on practicing!

Want to learn how games can contribute to a thriving culture at your workplace? Come and play with us!

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