Use These Fun Holidays to Build Employee Engagement in 2018

Nothing builds engagement better than a fun work environment built on a culture of celebration. So, as you plan your calendar for 2018, think about including one—or a few—of these wacky holidays in 2018 as an opportunity to boost morale and build employee camaraderie to create a more engaged and cohesive team.

Play Your Ukulele Day – Feb. 2
Let your employees showcase their musical side on this day celebrating the ukulele. From Hawaiian-themed karaoke to writing original tunes, there are many ways everyone in the office can have fun with this holiday.

There’s something to be said for the power of music in the workplace. Research shows that listening to music releases dopamine in our brains—the same neurochemical responsible when we experience pleasure or reward. So, in high-performing, stressful work environments, the ability to get a quick morale boost from listening to a favorite album or singing a happy tune may be just the soothing relief busy employees need to stay focused.

Scrabble Day – April 13
On this day, take a break from the daily grind and host a friendly Scrabble competition between co-workers. Making time for light-hearted fun is a great way to build engagement and encourage healthier workplace relationships.

And, competition, in general, is a major driver of success. In a Refresh Leadership poll about competition among co-workers, more than half of respondents said “competition is a big motivator” for them. So, workforce strategies that include creating friendly competition is a great way of not only increasing productivity, but also building a competitive culture.

Take Your Dog to Work Day – June 23
Few people can resist the loving charm of man’s best friend. Often, just the sight of a dog is enough to cheer up even the grumpiest of souls. So, spread a little puppy love and allow your employees to bring in their furry friends for a day of celebrating the joy dogs bring to our lives.

In fact, research has shown workplaces that allow their employees to bring their dogs to work often experience a boost in productivity. And, pets, in general, can be a major stress reliever for their owners. Encourage your employees to think about adding a new member to their families and try opening the office to their new four-legged friends. You might be surprised by the results!

Bow Tie Day – Aug. 28
There’s a bow tie for every personality. From wacky prints to odd shapes, turn bow tie day into an opportunity to build morale with a fun contest among co-workers to see who can out do everyone with the most unique bow tie. You could even provide a small prize or start a traveling trophy for the winner.

Although saying “dress for the job you want” most often implies a suit and tie, current trends indicate that the times are changing. In many businesses, especially in Silicon Valley, millennial employees may be responsible for the shift to a more dressed down workplace. In fact, historically “buttoned up” JPMorgan Chase made headlines on Wall Street in 2016 for embracing a more casual dress code.

International Coffee Day – Oct. 1
Of course one of the most popular beverages in the world has its own day! To celebrate, bring in coffee—and maybe donuts— for the whole team from the local shop and take some time before getting down to business to enjoy each other’s company while sipping on a fresh cup of joe.

Per research from Statistic Brain Research Institute, 68% of people consume coffee within an hour of waking up and 60% say they can’t start the day without that first cup. So, in many ways, coffee fuels the workplace. But it is also one of the best networking tools and provides an easy way to bring a group together for conversation and motivation.

Letter Writing Day – Dec. 7
There’s no better time than the holiday season to send a few lines of handwritten recognition to the people working on the frontlines of your business. On Dec. 7, block some time on your schedule to personally scribe some encouraging words that give your employees that final motivational boost to finish the year strong.

The handwritten note is quickly becoming a lost art as texts and emails are now the go-to channels for all types of communication. So, when you really want to make an impact, dusting off the quill and ink may be your best bet. In fact, former GE CEO Jack Welch, is well known for his use of handwritten notes to give his employees at all levels of the business heartfelt, personal recognition for their hard work.

Learn more about these wacky holidays and many more at, and consider incorporating a few into your employee engagement plans for the new year.

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