When we think of the term ‘employee engagement’, it refers to building a certain connection amongst employees and between them and the organization; be it through values, processes or people. Such is the connection that not only do the employees put their best foot forward, but also strive to work harder when faced with challenges or an uncertain situation. As businesses transition through 2021, a key challenge that most organizations face is a distributed or a hybrid workforce. With remote working set to grow further as per a 2020 Capgemini report, companies must reimagine the whole employee engagement experience and develop strategies that can help it to engage its employees in the current scenario. Here are 3 tips that organizations can incorporate in their functioning to engage their hybrid workforce.
1) Virtual Game Sessions
As the proverb says, ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’, likewise, using video conferencing applications such as Zoom or Google Meet just to catch up on work updates can be boring. Instead, companies can organize virtual game sessions periodically, wherein employees across teams can participate and play certain games such as Housie, Pictionary and Tambola amongst a few. Furthermore, companies could organize game sessions with team members and their families on an occasional basis
The primary purpose of such sessions is to facilitate conversation, activity and generate employee engagement amongst team members. These sessions can help foster the spirit of teamwork, agility and friendly competition which can be utilized while working on projects and other related requirements. Secondly, it acts as a breather and allows employees to relax and not just be thinking about work constantly.
While the work from home model offers productivity benefits, it also makes employees constantly available, which oftentimes has an impact on their moods and affects productivity at the end of the day. Organizing such activities reassures the workforce that the management does care about its employees and their well-being.
2) Learning And Development
The financial impact of COVID-19 has resulted in organizations reducing their L&D initiatives to stay afloat. However with the economy reviving in 2021, it’s prudent for businesses to provide opportunities for professional growth and development. As per a 2020 LinkedIn Workplace learning report, about 57% employees are likely to spend more time online, learning new skills or concepts that may be relevant to their field. As the pandemic has reduced operational roles and changed the way we work, organizations must enable employees to upskill themselves by offering online learning opportunities that help them grow both their soft skills and hard skills.
Some of the most sought after soft skills in 2021 are communication, time management, empathy and leadership, while hard skills are project management, marketing and writing. To foster learning and development these skills could be taught to different groups within an organization as not every individual possesses these skills. By providing learning opportunities of various kinds to different groups, it creates a sense of employee engagement while working remotely. This fuels both mental and professional growth.
3) Informal Conversations
As per a 2020, mental health survey, 7 out of 10 employees think that the pandemic has been one of the most stressful times in their career. This puts across a credible point that employers must prioritize its workforce’s mental well-being, apart from work. Organizations should proactively reach out to employees, just to hear them and understand the challenges they may be facing both at work and those at home that impact their productivity.
Additionally, leaders should be more interactive with the team, breaking past hierarchy. Empathetic leadership, a management requirement that puts employee well-being first, is key in running a business through rough waters. This means going the extra mile and paying attention to an employee’s holistic well-being.
To summarize, the above mentioned methods, demonstrate a significant shift in employee engagement in comparison to the previous times. The COVID 19 pandemic has been tough for business and employees alike, with each facing an unprecedented challenge in terms of working or adapting to the new methodology. As businesses move ahead in 2021, they must acknowledge the evolving engagement experience and adapt to it for future growth and development.