Team Recognition Ideas to Encourage Fun at Work

November 26, 2014

Creating shared experiences with these team recognition ideas will boost both morale and the bottom line. Research shows that happy employees have a positive impact on an organization's revenues and customer satisfaction by creating an atmosphere of open communication, recognition, trust, respect, and fun.

These team recognition ideas are from our 52 Ways to Have Fun at Work eBook.

1. Get a Standing Ovation for Your Orientation
Make new employee orientation a memorable event where the employees are the stars. The Training Coordinator at the Cleveland MetroParks Zoo created the game show Who Wants to be a Zoo Guru with questions about the zoo, its policies, and attractions. Complete with lights, music, and drama, the attitudes of the trainer and the participants set the tone for a lively, entertaining program that held their attention and increased their retention.

2. New Hire Head Hunt
Don't wait until people leave to give them a party. Host a welcome party when people join and send them on a scavenger hunt to meet co-workers, learn trivia about them, gather supplies, and learn their way around the office. End the hunt at the local eatery where many of their colleagues are already waiting to welcome them to the team. Give them a new office nameplate or other type of welcome gift to make them feel honored and welcomed.

3. Boost Front Lines & Bottom Lines
Bring in a workplace helmet or any other fun hat. When someone comes up with a good idea, makes someone laugh, or works through a problem, send the clever cap their way. This is a fun team recognition ideas your entire team will have fun passing-along.

4. Fun Feedback and Kudos
Send small tokens of appreciation generously and often. Baudville has many resources for recognizing the good things people do on a continual basis, such as notecards, save-and-redeem tokens, or encouraging edible treats.

5. Food = FUN

  • Host a regular potluck breakfast or BBQ luncheon to learn more about the people and the foods they bring. Go with a theme day or with food from their origin.
  • Have employees share their favorite recipes and compile a company cookbook.
  • Surprise your staff with a catered breakfast or lunch.
  • Host a bake sale to raise money for a charity or workplace improvement.
6. Location, Location, Location
Meet someplace besides the conference room, such as the swings at a nearby park, to gain a new perspective. The stimuli that are in variable surroundings generate more ideas than the usual office space. Being at a playground or in an amusement arcade gives us permission to think creatively in our problem-solving modes. Also, giving coworkers time and tokens to spend on some amusement machines, go-kart, or laser tag adds to the fun factor.

7. Personalized Position Titles
Allow each person to create a different twist to their official title and put that title on their business cards or office nameplate to bring a hint of humor and sense of ownership to their position. Invite a brainstorming session to create titles that state value to the customer. Sample titles include:

  • The Queen/King of First Impressions (Receptionist)
  • Chief Idea Officer (Marketing Manager)
  • Chief Talent Scout (HR Director)
  • Director of Numerical Organization (Accounting Officer)
8. Playful Professionalism
Start meetings on a positive note with good news or something upbeat or funny. Have the group create funny consequences as a playful method of addressing those who arrive late, such as doing push-ups, singing a nursery rhyme, or tap dancing. Each idea can be pulled out of a jar or put into a balloon which must be popped in order to find out the consequence for being late.

9. Mascot Madness
Create a mascot for your department, adopt it as your representative, bring it to meetings, or dress it up for holidays. Kidnap the other department's mascot and hold it for ransom, complete with a ransom note and photos of it tied to the train tracks.

A Maryland state agency dressed their cow statues outside the building according to the season for all to see as they drove into the parking lot. Not to be outdone, the county agency across the street started dressing up their statue according to festive holidays. Commuters enjoyed the battle of statue fashion.

10. Volunteer for Fun
  • Allow for paid time off for those who want to do community service or host an event to raise funds or awareness.
  • Invite employees to wear something pink one day and have the company donate $1 for each person in pink to raise money for breast cancer.
  • An Army base in Virginia hosted a Haunted Forest for the community with an entrance fee of a canned good for the local food bank.
  • A financial lender gives time off for workers to help with adult literacy awareness, Habitat for Humanity, Race for the Cure, and hundreds of other causes.
11. Turn the Tables
This is one of our favorite team recognition ideas! Change things up by having supervisors cater to their employees for a day or for a special project. Supervisors at a South Carolina Parks and Recreation Department cook a pancake breakfast for the whole staff at their annual off-site gathering. Other ideas include:
  • Boss car wash for employee of the month
  • Shadow the boss around for an hour to learn what they do
  • Managers helping out on the frontline for a shift
  • Lunch with a manager
12. Engage and Entertain
Actively involve workers in the policies that will affect them. Instead of writing copious memos addressing the dress code violations, one hospital hosted a fashion police show. They recruited models from different departments to walk the runway in appropriate and not-so-appropriate attire while the fashion police in the audience voted on what was allowable or not. Exaggerate the “don’ts” to make your point.

13. Perks to Perk Up Your Workday
On-site extras offer ways to make the workday more enjoyable:
  • Sponsor a mid-week treat at 2:30 each Wednesday.
  • Provide wellness tips and brown bag luncheon talks.
  • Host Technology Tuesday each week with info on the newest trend or gadget.
  • Provide on-site dry cleaner drop-off.
  • Arrange for pick up and shipment of personal packages.
  • Supply an on-site workout room.

These team recognition ideas are from our 52 Ways to Have Fun at Work eBook.

Download 52 Ways to Have Fun at Work eBook

As a team member since 2005, Falon has worn just about every hat the 'ville has to offer. She's seen both sides of working life — as an employee and as a manager — so if it sounds like she knows what she's talking about, we're pretty sure that's why. When she's not juggling between the IDville and Baudville brands, she's been known to whip up a mean diorama - just like that!

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