Hi Shari ,
Thanks for your question. My employer is a very small company, and we are fortunate enough to have a fun, laid back and casual culture. As a result, one of our most popular monthly activities is "Monday Funday."
Our "Fun Committee" (original name, huh?) of three people organizes a quick competition for each month, and also uses JibJab to put together a humorous video for people in the office celebrating birthdays or work anniversaries that month.
We try to write a blog every now and then to describe our activities in case other employers are looking for ideas. Here are some links to those posts below. As you'll also see, there is a super tacky, traveling bronze vase that we use as a trophy for each month's winner to display in his/her office. Everyone gets a kick out of it.
Hope this helps!
A company I work with does what they call "Jump Start" every Friday at 4:30. They gather in the break room for drinks (beer/wine included) and snacks before heading into the weekend. It's a great way for them to wind down, recap successes from the week, and socialize more informally. They have a young workforce.
We have experienced that that Peer-to-Peer and Manger to Employee recognition are two of the most effective ways to build employee engagement. These simple communication touch points often times yield dramatic results. Most often, all employees want to hear is that they are appreciated. You have their hands, but what you really want to achieve is their hearts.