Discussion Thread

  • 1.  Employee Engagement - Ideas?

    Posted 06-28-2021 08:31 PM
    I would like to start a thread on employee engagement. 

    What do you do at your organizations to foster employee engagement? Has it changed since March 2020? 

    I'll go first. I currently work at a firm with about 1,200 people across the East Coast and this past month, we hosted our first-ever virtual 5k! We had about 80 folks participate from a bunch of different offices, so I thought that this was pretty good for participation. I personally had a wonderful time participating since this was my first 5k ever! 

    Looking forward to hearing what you have done in the past in terms of employee engagement or ideas that you have!

    Danielle Schroeder EIT, A.M.ASCE (She/her)
    Associate Engineer
    Philadelphia PA

  • 2.  RE: Employee Engagement - Ideas?

    Posted 06-29-2021 05:58 PM
    That's cool! How far is 5K? Did you have everyone enter into an Excel??

    Charles Ou-Yang S.M.ASCE
    Yorba Linda CA

  • 3.  RE: Employee Engagement - Ideas?

    Posted 07-05-2021 05:11 PM
    Good questions @Charles Ou-Yang! A 5k is about 3.1 miles and since this was my first 5k I walked it in about an hour's time. For recording all our times across the company for this virtual 5k , we used EliteFeats and had a 10-day window opens for folks to submit their times. On the last Friday of June, we had a closeout virtual event streamed through YouTube where we went over the results and played some fun trivia as well. ​​

    Danielle Schroeder EIT, A.M.ASCE (She/her)
    Associate Engineer
    Philadelphia PA

  • 4.  RE: Employee Engagement - Ideas?

    Posted 06-30-2021 09:29 AM
    Great topic, Danielle!

    I think employee engagement is super important! Specially in these times were some are working remote and it is harder to get that face to face and personal interaction. Some of the activities my company has done to help keep employees engaged are:
    • Virtual happy hours,
    • Increase frequency of town halls/team update calls
    • Virtual "stretch and flex" sessions
    • Wellness or financial webinars
    Never heard of the virtual 5K and I think that's a great idea! To everyone else, what has your company done to keep employees engaged?


    Salvador Bentolila P.E., ENV SP, M.ASCE
    New York NY

  • 5.  RE: Employee Engagement - Ideas?

    Posted 07-01-2021 06:02 PM
    Hi Danielle - I have recently started at a new company, and the engagement has been great! I work for a firm in the Houston area with about 90 employees in one office.

    In the last month, the company has offered:
    *Virtual and in-person happy hours,
    *A ping pong tournament on our in-house table,
    *A bowling tournament,
    *Participation in a local softball league,
    *and lunch and learns at least once, if not twice a week for interested employees.

    Not to mention employees who coordinate poker nights, video games, and going to hike or bike together outside of work hours.

    Eva Schexnider EIT, A.M.ASCE
    Engineering Assistant
    Katy TX

  • 6.  RE: Employee Engagement - Ideas?

    Posted 07-02-2021 04:15 PM
    Great topic @Danielle Schroeder! Employee engagement can really take your work life to a happier level.

    One of the best employee engagements I had was once a month our team of 6 people would get a half day to "team build". The team build activities would never be the same, and they could be anything that someone had a passion about. The idea was to do an activity you like to do outside of work, but with your coworkers.

    Sometimes we would go out to a new restaurant nearby.​ Sometimes we would go to a movie someone was excited about. Sometimes we would go for a walk in a nearby park if the weather was nice. We went to a museum once. We went to a car show another time. 

    It was a really cool way to get to know your coworkers better and to see what their interests and hobbies were. 

    Our manager at the time also would stress that during team builds, we weren't allowed to talk about work. I think this really helped emphasize that this event is about getting to know each other on a more personal level, rather than we are working from a different location.

    I will say apart from it just being a fun break from the normal work week, these team builds did help the communication of our team, and foster the mindset that we are a "team", so we helped each other out a lot more with tasks, even if it wasn't necessarily our responsibility to do so.

    I will note that this team build idea wasn't something the organization I worked for implemented, but something our teams manager implemented on their own. 

    I know every month I always looked forward to whatever team build event we were having, as you got to see your coworkers in their element when they chose the team build event, and sometimes you would see some coworkers in an uncomfortable environment with some humorous effect too.

    Doug Cantrell P.E., M.ASCE
    Professional Engineer
    Durham NC

  • 7.  RE: Employee Engagement - Ideas?

    Posted 07-06-2021 08:18 AM
    Our OneWorld chapter is hosting a bi-weekly cultural coffee break series in which people talk about their countries, cultures, hobbies, volunteering experience, etc. This is a great chance to learn about your colleagues, understand what they value and what are important to them. Everyone in the office is really enjoying it.
    In the past, we organized international lunches so employees could present about their countries and foods which also received positive feedback. After March 2020, we had virtual bingo, trivia, happy hours, cooking classes, dance lessons. I heard that our other office in Europe is organizing Friday afternoon bike rides which is pretty cool.

    Tung Nguyen, PhD
    Water Resources Engineer
    Sacramento, CA

  • 8.  RE: Employee Engagement - Ideas?

    Posted 07-07-2021 09:29 AM
    I'm loving all of the ideas and activities that other people have been taking part in! I've been trying to think of something else to add for the past few days. What I realized was that, at least in my situation, the most bonding I've had with co-workers has come from things we planned on our own, rather than through one of our respective employers.

    I'm fortunate to work with many people within a 10 year age range of each other who all enjoy things like hiking, camping, skiing, surfing, rock climbing, tennis, happy hours, and music. They are also really good about finding one-off things to do around Philadelphia where we work. For example, we once took part in a summer biathlon just because we had a co-worker look one up after being curious about how participants train during the warmer months.

    I've found that it was during these events that I learned much more about my work friends as people and I believe that these experiences together provided a lot of subtle benefits to all of us. I'm not even going to claim that "these events made us work together better in the office" or that "they increased our efficiency". But I do feel that they helped connect us all to each other and want to continue working together. In some cases, they turned into close friendships and it has done a lot to make me grateful to work where I do, and to feel better connected to the fabric of Philadelphia.

    Christopher Seigel P.E., M.ASCE
    Civil Engineer

  • 9.  RE: Employee Engagement - Ideas?

    Posted 07-07-2021 11:25 AM
    Follow up to my last post, I just stumbled across a podcast on employee engagement in a remote environment. 


    If the link does not work, you can look up the podcast The Meb Faber Show - Episode #264 - Sammy Courtright, Ten Spot - How Do We Get People To Feel Like They Work For The Same Company When They're No Longer In The Same Place?

    Christopher Seigel P.E., M.ASCE
    Civil Engineer