Employee Engagement at the Greater Hartford Arts Council
One of the challenges facing employers today is attracting and retaining a talented workforce while concurrently asking employees to do more with less. Employee satisfaction is increasingly linked to the employers’ commitment to providing opportunities for employees to engage with one another and the broader community.
We all know that the arts encourage creativity and innovation, but they are also an amazing vehicle for team building and collaboration. As a United Arts Fund that conducts employee giving campaigns, the Greater Hartford Arts Council is uniquely positioned to facilitate employee engagement, while raising funds and awareness for our arts community.
The primary purpose of our United Arts Campaign is to raise funds in support of our arts and cultural community, but it is so much more than that. We are a catalyst and a connector. We provide inspiration and time for exploration. I am constantly amazed at the hidden talents and creativity of the workforce in Greater Hartford. Actuaries, lawyers, engineers, machinists, secretaries, you name it; all long for the chance to come together, create and showcase their passion for the arts.
Throughout each campaign we entice employees with a series of “arts breaks” that range from musical performances during lunchtime to hands-on activities like printmaking and painting. While attending a performing arts break is always popular, we have much greater success in both fundraising and awareness with activities that allow employees to more fully immerse themselves in the arts. Many of the best activities are developed by the employees themselves. Below are a few highlights from our 2014 United Arts Campaign that proved to be a gold mine:
Scratch & Scribble
To kick of the campaign at Phoenix, each employee was given a magic color postcard and asked to create a work of scratch art with nothing more than a little imagination and a paperclip. A gallery was setup in the cafeteria for those who wanted to showcase their talents. One lucky employee was awarded a first-place ribbon by the CEO of the company!
Finance Meets Fashion
Phoenix’s Masterpiece Mayhem was perhaps the most entertaining and most successful teambuilding workplace campaign event in 2014. Teams from various departments creatively crafted one-of-a-kind fashion masterpieces from the same core materials (aluminum foil, yarn, streamers, toilet paper and tape). They were given the opportunity to win specialty flare (like feather boas, sparkling tiaras and giant sunglasses) by competing in a series of beat-the-clock games like charades and guess-that-tune. After strutting down the catwalk in the packed cafeteria, two prizes were awarded—one from the panel of senior executives; and the other based upon audience applause.
Everyone Loves to Color
As part of the campaign at UnitedHealth Group, we worked with two local artists to create a large-scale coloring book on the sidewalk outside of the company’s building. Employees mixed, mingled and painted with passersby, catching some rays and brightening downtown. Some folks stayed within the lines, but others decided to make their mark and draw their own.
Painting Like Pollock
We have been creating Pollock-style paintings at workplaces for years. It is probably safe to say that every major corporation in Greater Hartford has an employee-created “Drip & Splat” hanging somewhere in their offices. But until this year, we had not seen a painting competition, let alone one at this scale. United Technologies Building and Industrial Service decided to spice up this old standby with a little friendly competition between departments. Ten teams competed for tickets to a local cultural institution, and the collaboration amongst teammates resulted in ten spectacular works of art!
Lincoln’s Got Talent
For 42 years, Lincoln Financial Group has been putting on an employee talent show that has become the grand finale of spirited annual arts campaign. It takes a lot of courage for someone to get up in front of your co-workers and juggle, sing or deliver a standup routine. We applaud Lincoln for fostering such supportive environment where employees can be themselves and share their inner passions with their colleagues.