Are You Using Walk-​and-​Talk With Your Team Members?

BY Kathy Crosett
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Do you wish your employees would give your company culture a ringing endorsement? It can be challenging to keep your culture fresh and appealing. At American Express OPEN, Erika Napoletano outlines how several company leaders are improving their culture. Employing some of their ideas could help you boost employee engagement.


Think of this suggestion as lunch-​and-​learn on steroids. We all know we’re eating too much at lunch and we’re not active enough. That’s why you should take the traditional lunch-​and-​learn session a step further.

Mike Ganino, author of Company Culture for Dummies, suggests that managers encourage employees to set up walk-​and-​talk sessions. On a rotating basis, employees can take charge of a topic. For example, they might explain the specifics of a project to a small group of peers as they take a walk. The employee leader might also  be an expert and share their knowledge on a specific topic. The focus of that kind of session could be question and answer as the employee assists others with a specific software program, for example.

As a manager, you can encourage your peers to mix up team members on walks-​and-​talks so employees from various departments get to know each other.  The other benefit of these sessions is that your employees will gain confidence as they prepare and make informal presentations.

Welcome, Newbie

Can there be anything more awkward than an employee’s first day? The new person is completely overwhelmed by even small details like finding the coffee station and figuring out where to park. You may have assigned a mentor to help the employee through those first few days. While that’s a great approach, it doesn’t always mean that other employees have a chance to get to know the “newbie.”

Another strategy is to make the new hire the focus of an internal competition. At Fond, employees play the game called “Anyone’s Guess.” Everyone in the company can participate in a quiz designed to let people guess the truth about the newbie’s favorite things in life. Does the person enjoy rock climbing or couch surfing? Is fish or fowl the favored food? “The last one standing won a company T‑shirt with the new hire's face on it, which was actually hilarious and became a coveted prize,” says company president Taro Fukuyama, company CEO.

These ideas aren’t hugely expensive. But they do make a difference in engaging employees. If you’re having trouble thinking of new ways to make your employees love their workplace, poll them and ask for suggestions.