In recent years, it has become evident that creating a company culture that encourages employee engagement does more than simply keep your workers content. According to Gallup, a highly engaged business unit is 21% more profitable than your average company, and receives 10% more approval in customer ratings. It follows then that engagement will not only be a major focal point in 2021, but it will assume a deeper meaning; a way for organizations to attract and retain the best talent. Leading companies are stepping up their focus on culture to stay ahead of the curve. This means finding a way to make all members of the workforce feel included, respected, and recognized — from baby boomers to millennials to Gen Z, whether they’re in the office or remote, on salary or freelance.
I recently learned about Buc-ee’s Beaver Nuggets. I was unfamiliar with the treats but quickly became intrigued when a friend brought a bag back for me from a recent trip. And with a first ingredient of brown sugar, how bad could they be? What began as a fun gift turned into a great employee engagement activity.
Employee Engagement Lesson #1
It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, just do it together as a team. A first encounter with Buc-ee’s Beaver Nuggets turned into a spontaneous staff taste testing retreat with eight flavors of nuggets (sweet bites) and nugees (savory bites). While chambers and associations faced the COVID-19 pandemic head on, making innovative strides on behalf of the local business community, the cohesiveness of many teams, has been tested and stretched thin. Now more than ever it is imperative to gather when and where you can, fostering the camaraderie once again.
Employee Engagement Lesson #2
Everyone has a voice. The goal of the taste testing was not to determine a winner, not to see who was right or wrong, but to allow an opportunity for everyone to share their thoughts and opinions. Not everyone rated the same nugget or nugee as their top choice and that was the point. This allowed everyone to be on the same playing field, regardless of their title. And while not scientific, I can say emphatically you can learn a lot about someone’s personality and leadership style during a Buc-ee’s Beaver Nuggets taste testing session.
Employee Engagement Lesson #3
Employee engagement does not have to be stuffy, formal, or serious. It’s ok to do something lighthearted and frivolous. Doing something fun does not mean it’s invaluable to the organization. A Buc-ee’s Beaver Nuggets taste testing was never referenced in any leadership books I read, classes I took in college, or professional training seminars. However, it was exactly what our team needed to laugh, connect, and convene with one another.
Employee Engagement Lesson #4
Employee engagement can be included in “all other duties as assigned.” To make this a standing item for the future, consider designating a different team each month as your organization’s ‘Engagement Coach’ or ‘Fun Director.’ Allow them to develop and lead a staff activity or engagement opportunity which is meaningful to them on behalf of the team.
Employee Engagement Lesson #5
Make a point to dedicate time and energy to employee engagement, whatever that may look like for your organization. It may be as simple as gathering for coffee or lunch, starting a staff book club, leaving an inspirational post-it note on their computer or door, providing a sneak peek tour of a new business to your community, or yes, even hosting a Buc-ee’s Beaver Nugget taste testing session.
 Source: Employee Engagement Trends and Forecasts for 2021. https://www.inspirus.com/employee-engagement-trends-and-forecasts-for-2021