Team building: Employee engagement survey case studies

Employee engagement_team building  Employee engagement case study #1

Industry: Manufacturing | Size: Large

Following the merger of two companies which had previously been rivals, this business set out to improve employee engagement. They had just been through a ruthless round of business process re-engineering. Staff were worried about the stability of their jobs as there had been three rounds of redundancies. Employees lacked future direction as the merger had been kept secret and details had not been published for staff. A lot of people were in shock.


Newly grouped teams were taken on an overseas conference, here:

  • the new executive team became "real" and not just names on a staff list
  • a united vision was shared with all
  • workshops were instigated to familiarise staff with the core portfolio of products while fostering a new sense of team effectiveness among previously unknown work groups
  • staff felt relaxed and secure in the knowledge that the corporate restructuring was now completed and that their jobs were safe
  • post-survey feedback praised the initiative highly and indicated that functional and energised teams were ready to face a new and aggressive market confident in their product understanding and that support systems and processes were in place

Employee engagement_team building  Employee engagement case study #2

Industry: Property and Business Services | Size: Medium

Team rivalry and working in silos exposed the need for some employee engagement activities. Stressful times of economic uncertainty meant that relationships between sales and delivery teams were under threat. The sales team felt that they had to deliver on the forecasts but in a tough and aggressive market they often had to sell services for less than they were worth. The delivery team had to ensure that projects were within scope and budget while maintaining exceptional service to the client. Delivery were focused on building relationships for future business. The delivery team sometimes felt the sales team had undersold, putting them under pressure to deliver within the required guidelines. The sales team felt that delivery were slightly protected from the hard realities of closing a sale in a tough marketplace. 


The engagement of this cross functional team was maintained through some planned events to help the staff spend time together and to build professional respect for one another rather than working in silos. Clear leadership, regular updates on long term direction, great investment in systems and people plus Friday night drinks enabled this organisation to:

  • exemplify their core values
  • trade as an organisation in tough economic times
  • develop their products and people

Employee engagement_team building  Employee engagement case study #3

Industry: Property and Business Services | Size: Medium

Teams weren't communicating with each other very well. The organisation needed to breakdown departmental silos. They needed to enhance employee engagement and collaboration by improving relationships between staff. This organisation arranged a social event with dinner and drinks outside the office.


Communicating outside the office environment helped breakdown the invisible barriers and staff got along really well with each other. This communication continued in the office which improved working relationships. By collaborating more often it made their work lives much easier and increased employee engagement.

These social activities were such a hit that they became regular events.

Employee engagement_team building  Employee engagement case study #4

Industry: Property and Business Services | Size:  Medium

Employee engagement research indicated low organisational effectiveness caused by a lack of teamwork. A series of engagement focussed work shops were run where staff indicated poor perceptions of team work.


The executive team prioritised the lack of team work and built internal communication strategies into the executive plan. Communications became an ongoing priority with internal newsletters, presentations, team building activities and initiatives being held across sales and delivery for the first time. The commitment to getting people together to build and maintain internal relationships continues to be a priority for this forward thinking organisation.

Employee engagement_team building  Employee engagement case study #5

Industry: Property and Business Services | Size: Medium

Employee engagement research indicated that the tough, post GFC economic environment had lowered employee engagement as individuals had lost sight of their organisation's goals and how their actions contributed to these. Work groups were no longer pulling together to improve productivity. The organisation went back to basics and initiated some team bonding via a series of off-site events to re-establish relationships across departments, functions and personality types.


Activities are ongoing and staff have reported "a better feeling in the office".

Employee engagement_team building  Employee engagement case study #6

Industry: Wholesale Trade | Size: Small

In this family run business, it was experiencing low employee engagement and high staff turnover issues. This was mainly due to complex family dynamics and a combination of family members and non-family in the executive team.

Staff felt like outsiders, not really connected to the company, and productivity and motivation were lacking and absenteeism was rife. The family members decided to formalise relationships in the workplace, to avoid some people being called "Auntie" and others by first name. Some of the family members lived together and acted as though they were still at home while in front of other staff members.

The CEO, who was part of the family, called a meeting with all the non-family members and said "What's wrong? You're safe to speak here". He had been running the business for a sustained period and had the trust of staff. Nevertheless, staff didn't speak. So the CEO said "I think you guys have a problem with the family". The staff then began to be more open saying "I've worked here 10 years and I still feel like an outsider". The meeting went for half a day.

In that meeting they also uncovered another issue. Non-family staff felt that family members didn't give them enough personal space. Things were being packed and unpacked but people's psychological safety was compromised by family members and the design of the physical space. 


The CEO put out a memo saying that from here on no family members would call each other Mum, Uncle, etc. Further, that everyone must be treated as colleagues, not family members and shows of disrespect that might be tolerated at home would not be tolerated in the workplace. They had a team lunch with everyone to seal the deal. Those that were big offenders publicly admitted that they had been wrong and had to change.

Some family members were capable of change and their groups built strong relationships and achieved better team performance. Those who slid back into old habits ultimately earned the displeasure of the CEO and were asked to exit the business.

Employee engagement_team building  Employee engagement case study #7

Industry: Manufacturing | Size: Large

The verbatim comments in an employee survey indicated that staff engagement was low. This was largely due to a lack of cohesion between divisions in the organisation. The HR department worked hard to ensure barriers were broken down by introducing cross-functional working teams.


Six-months later a review of staff engagement showed that levels had improved. One of the many activities included the introduction of an all staff party.

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