Easily build employee engagement and team building during your next virtual meeting with our help. One of the difficulties with remote teams is the lack of water fountains. A place where people can casually chat about non-work topics while having coffee or a snack. To fill the void left when we left the office and entered a virtual space, we started experimenting with our interactions in Slack and our daily team meetings. Here are our team’s favorite ways to help build engagement, get a smile, stay connected, and dig deeper than work.
Our solutions combine Slack, Zapier, Zoom, and more to get a smile.
Idea 1 – Virtual dance party
Our team uses Slack as our primary communication method. Once our team member Eunice introduced us all to Giphy on Slack, things got even more colorful. Our CEO at FireFly Team Events created a channel called Virtual Dance Party. Anyone at Firefly can request a dance party. Once it’s called, everyone will post their best animated gif via Giphy based on what’s being celebrated. There is a mandatory dance on Wednesdays. The rest of the time, team members can dance in celebration of a variety of reasons, from success to admitting failure. Everything takes place at a virtual dance party.
Idea 2 – Lightning Circle Question Generator for Meetings
Well, we are cheating. This is not specific to Slack. However, if you huddle on Slack, you can use it while you huddle. During the morning gathering, we started asking random questions. Some mornings we choose one person to answer 3 questions (nose go!). Or we might each answer a question. These questions are easy to answer, fast, and don’t slow down work. They also provide us with a fun way to learn more about our team members. To make it easier, the team created the Rapid Fire Question Generator. Every time you click the button, it draws a random question (about 300+) from our question bank. You can use it at parties, mid-meeting breaks, or even sneak in questions on client calls. Please steal this and do something awesome. Click here to use the quick question machine
Idea 3 – Awesome Robot
This one is a bit nerdy to get up and running and needs to use Zapier Connect to Slack. Awesome Bot is a chatbot that randomly picks a team member each day to challenge or compliment. If you are selected for the challenge, it is entirely voluntary. Here are some examples of challenges that Awesome Bot might present you.
- Ask @everyone what you should have for dinner in #General.
- Post the following in General Chat: The last person to type “fluffy” in this channel is goober
- Please tell someone on the team that they smell good today.
- Share a personal history with the next team member to post
we rely on Zapier’s formatter Powers the selection of random things needed to do the job. If you want to build your own Zap and would like to pick our brains, please contact us and we will be happy to help.
Idea 4 – Stoke uses Workflow Builder
Workflow Builder Included with your Slack subscription, we love it. The simple explanation is that it allows you to automate messaging and other processes without any code. One of the ways we take advantage of it is with The Stoke. Every day at 9am, our General Slack channel posts a form asking “What’s your excitement right now?” Only one team member can answer the question each day. Seeing who can answer the question first has turned into a fun little contest. Answers are posted on the Stoke channel for the team to review and absorb the positive vibe.
We also use the Workflow Builder to post our huddle links daily, reminding us of our core values and more. It’s a great tool for working with static information that you want to automate, like weekly reminders. Once you start adding some Slack apps to the mix, its usefulness gets more complicated.
Idea 5 – Water cooler chat
We realized that outside of our daily get-togethers, there had never been any face-to-face networking at the team level. We chat and have fun on Slack all day, but there’s still huge value in watching someone and using a vocal cord instead of a keyboard. We set up random water cooler chats. This is a 10-minute video call hangout. The rules are:
1. Attendance is optional
2. No work interviews are allowed until the official end time.
3. Who arranges who is responsible for choosing the next host before the call ends. The host randomly selects a 10-minute slot and invites everyone.
We like to choose non-standard start times for chats, like 2:37. Music is a huge plus (easier to achieve when zooming). At a recent conference, Paul shared a Google Jamboard (shared whiteboard) for everyone to doodle. The end result is a collage of David Hasselhoff…not sure how we got there…but it’s epic.
Idea 6 – Non-standard Slack Channels
We mentioned virtual dance parties, but we do have a few other non-standard channels to improve ethics and engagement. Here are some of our suggestions to give you ideas for expanding your channel on Slack.
- Random – exactly what it sounds like. Random memes, photos, etc. are posted here, usually unrelated to work.
- Weekend Warriors – Post your photos or interesting things that happen in your life when you’re not working.
- Scream – The rule is that you can go into this channel and scream, but you can’t growl or give context. It’s just catharsis.
Idea 7 – Slack Bots
Did you know you can have Slack listen for a keyword in all chats and post a pre-typed message to the same channel it hears the word? At FireFly, this was never used in an efficient manner, just for fun. But you have to be careful. For example, if your CEO “allegedly” made the keyword your sales manager’s name…you’re saying it far more often than you realize. A Slackbot message pops up every time Michael is mentioned, which can be annoying and disrupt key conversations.
The coolest thing about this feature is that you can enter a list of random messages for Slackbot to post. You can choose the phrase “homework done” and have slackbot randomly select a congratulatory message from the list you provide when you type that phrase. To add your own slackbot messages, go to Workplace Settings and find Customize Your Workspace, then select the Slackbot tab. have fun! this is a tutorial
These are some of the ways Firefly Team Events keeps your minds relaxed, employees engaged, and morale boosted as you plan exciting virtual and in-person team building events. One of our core values is “everyone is playing” and each of these ideas/tools help us achieve that value. If you have creative ways to use slack or other tools to stay engaged, please share with us, we’d love to hear from you. You can email James at firstname.lastname@example.org and you’re done.