Getting Employees to Interact

Posted by Jan Stark @janstark, Jul 10, 2018

We have a large department spread across sites; different towns, telework, etc. How do you get them to interact and respond? Whether its a challenge or responding to a general Wellness email (as well as other group emails), I get 3-5 responses from a group of over 100! I've offered prizes for those responding and that hasn't worked. I've been asked to remove people from the email DL because they don't have time to read the email, aren't interested in a specific challenge, etc.
I've thought of putting up a bulletin board, but only a small percentage would see it.
What do you do?

Hi @janstark The team I send monthly emails to is all on the same campus and I still do not get much interaction nor participation. With that, we have simply resorted to once a month emails from one of two of us champions, highlighting some of the challenges or posters for the month or an event (i.e. the Heritage Classic 5K finally coming to ARZ!!!!). We have a bulletin board within my immediate unit and for those on my DL that are outside my unit, we ask that they print whatever flyers for the challenges, etc. that they want to display in their own areas. Sadly, we've just gotten used to either low or no participation. I do get a response from select individuals from time to time thanking us for our work, but that's about it. Sorry I do not have better suggestions. We just keep sending and posting and that's all we can do for now! When we started sending the emails, we did offer for individuals to opt out by replying and pretty much no one did, so that's a PLUS! 🙂 Others may have suggestions, but sadly I've just not been able to make any of them work.

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Regarding connecting with virtual teams, different sites, etc.: We have one Champion here in FL, Tony Hanneken who did a really great activity with his team who work from home. They did a recipe challenge where they made a healthy lunch and sent him a picture of their lunch along with their recipe. He then made an electronic recipe book for his colleagues. It turned out to be an awesome team building activity! Tony also does a Reflection Friday email for his colleagues. His emails are positive short messages, quotes or poems. These emails have gotten great feedback from his team and others as they are a positive way to end the week. One of my favorite things he wrote in one Reflection Friday was a poem he wrote for the patients. He let me know I could share it.
To Our Patients

You are the reason that we are here.
We come ready to answer your fear.
The concerns you have with aches and pain
Our hope is for relief you may gain

You come to us with belief and trust
That you will find support is a must
We all come together as a team
To help you get better be our dream

You're not an interruption to our day
Because we serve you, it's just our way
May your experience from start to finish
Be of excellence and not diminish

The life you will live once you leave
Will be for the better we pray and believe
And may our thoughts of each other be fond
That unites us in a wonderful bond
~~ Tony Hanneken

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Hi @janstark, I'm not exactly an expert, but I have some ideas for you. You may have tried them already but I thought I would share my thoughts. First, what have you learned about what your group wants? Getting on a staff meeting agenda to talk about the wellness initiatives they might like, as well as the preferred delivery method, might be useful. It also might be useful to hear more about why your members are not responding to your emails. Are they too busy? Is morale low? Do they not feel like they know each other well enough to share? The answers they give may help you direct your efforts. I know Champions who work in sites such as yours who send out calendar reminders for daily movement, or even Skype coffee chats. They try to include some social component to meetings and other communications so that people are encouraged to get to know each other, even though they may not see each other often. If morale is low, perhaps some basic (and genuine) employee recognition would be a good place to start. Perhaps you could work with your Supervisor on that as well. It doesn't need to be elaborate…..

The bottom line is that your work unit needs to find its own groove when it comes to engagement. Good luck to you! With time, your efforts will pay off!

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Great ideas, thanks!

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