Businesses seem to have figured it out: happy employees make productive employees.
The lemon cupcakes shown above were baked for the birthday of our mortgage rep, Cherie. They were delicious. I did a really good job!
Being the crafty party planner I like to believe myself to be, my former manager put me in charge of “Team Member Engagement,” a task I happily took on! Here we are a couple years later, I’m still in charge of TME activities, my current manager refers to me as the Team Member Engagement Captain. I’ll take it.
Here is a taste of a few of the simple things I’ve done to try to brighten the days of my coworkers just a little. It doesn’t have to be grand… something that makes things more fun, acknowledges accomplishments, and breaks up the monotony of the day are great ways to make people happy without having to go too wild with time and cost.
For the month of October, I’ve been asking Halloween related questions on the white board in the break room and then list everyone’s names so they can write their answer next to them. The first week I did this, it was a hit so I’m going to keep it going. I even took it a step further and decorated the board with some decorations that I cut out of construction paper. I understand this is not the most environmentally responsible thing but sometimes, I break my own rules for the sake of happiness in the work place.
The cool thing about this is that it’s easy, requires minimal effort and time, costs nothing but gets people thinking about something fun, something other than work. We also get to know each other a little better and have some great conversation starters! This didn’t occur to me until mid-month so I only had three Halloween related questions; favorite scary movie, favorite costume & favorite thing about Halloween. It took us until the third week to finally make the color scheme stick but we got there!
Oh, and I cut out all those bats, pumpkins and each blade of grass!
In our branch, we celebrate all birthdays and work anniversaries. I try to add some holidays in there but sometimes that works better than other times.
One of our October birthdays is for a coworker I’m very fond of, named Ashley. Ashley transfered to our location last September and she & I hit it off pretty quickly. Ashley loves everything about fall. She loves the cool weather, the colors, the foods, etc. For her birthday, I made pumpkin crumb cake muffins but I totally dropped the ball and didn’t get any pictures. Dang it. We also did Ashley Trivia. Since Ashley has only been in our branch a year and came from Tacoma before that, and Jacksonville before that, I was curious to see how well people had gotten to know her! The key is to make the answers attainable. People lose interest if they think it’s impossible to reach the goal. I kept the questions fairly simple, knowing that every topic was something I’d heard her talk about in her day to day conversations.
My coworker, Aubrey, won. This made sense because the two of them have actually worked together before and have known each other longer than the rest of us have know either of them. The winning prize was a coffee of her choice. Coffee is a great prize option because it doesn’t break the bank for the person shelling out the cash for it but every coffee drinker loves a free cup of coffee! Ashley got a coffee, anyway, just for being born.
Another coworker, Stephen, definitely didn’t win but his witty answers were hilarious and had us all cracking up! It made the activity that much more fun.
Ashley’s birthday fell on a Sunday but that didn’t stop me! One of the things Ashley and I have in common is our love of cats so I decorated this picture of Emilia and Jameson like a birthday card and sent it to her in a group text. It’s the little things! Below is a picture of Ashley’s baby, Louis.
August is an eventful month around here! We have three work anniversaries and we also wanted to acknowledge our branch managers one year mark in our branch. We decided to have one big celebration for all of them by having a luau themed potluck. Everyone loves potlucks and we are a group of people who love to eat. I made this sign with assistance from my fellow team members, Aubrey & Kayla. The three of us colored all those hibiscus flowers…. maybe not your typical workday for adults in their 20’s and 30’s but it was actually great team building! This potluck actually had a really good turn out as far as food went. I made coconut cheesecake and I did take some pictures of it but it was really bad lighting so they didn’t come out well.
In July, I baked s’mores cookies for Aubrey’s birthday. It was the middle of summer, aka camping season, so I wanted to run with that a little bit! I’ve made these for the branch a couple times now and they are always a hit.
It was the week of the Seahawks-Rams game on Thursday Night Football. We had a tailgate party at work! Everyone brought appetizer style food, I put together a scavenger hunt for football cards, we answered a “Which Seahawk Are You?” quiz. We also had Seahawks Trivia in the morning huddle. I wasn’t present for the huddle but apparently my coworker, Steve, knew almost all the answers! He was also one of two winners for the scavenger hunt, along with Jodie. Ashley and I hid 50 football cards around the branch and we did a great job because people just couldn’t find them! People are still finding cards!
I’ve made Seahawks cookies a couple times too. The majority of my coworkers are Seahawks fans so it only fits. You’ll find a lot of my TME ideas revolve around food. It’s just a great option because it makes people happy, people need to eat so it’s providing a service and it’s fairly environmentally friendly in comparison to other options. I used to go all out and do elaborate decorations around each person’s desk or work station but it created so much waste, & I was spending so much money at times, so I’ve really toned it down with that. I still do some… but much less.
These are one of my favorites! I’m pretty proud of these! My coworker, Ana, is a runner and a healthy eater. She enjoys lighter fare and her snacks usually consist of things such as almonds and berries, but she does love dark chocolate, both for the flavor and the health benefits. I really wanted to make something she would genuinely enjoy for her work anniversary, and I knew she wouldn’t eat cupcakes or anything along those lines. So, I made little edible bowls out of dark chocolate, using a silicone mold and baking paint brush. It’s a little time consuming but overall, really easy, then I filled them with fruit and tiny dabs of whipped cream. The whipped cream was mainly just to brighten the whole thing up and add something extra for appeal. Everyone loved them and Ana was so pleased, and she said it was the perfect dessert for her. Success!
We have three birthdays in a three day stretch during the month of September so rather than try to celebrate each one individually, we had a potluck. You’ll notice potlucks are a recurring theme! It was a nacho bar. I didn’t really stick with the theme but ended up baking six different kinds of cookes; peanut butter, chocolate with white chocolate chips, rolo blossoms, Hershey’s kisses peanut butter blossoms, rolo in chocolate blossoms, and Hershey’s Kisses in chocolate with sprinkles.
Dessert is often what I choose to bring because I live 25 minutes from my job and desserts tend to travel well. Its just easier than trying to keep things at a certain temperature.
Well, I think this post is probably long enough.
There will be more Team Member Engagement blogs to come!