Employee engagement: Getting it right for the (hybrid) times ahead
The global pandemic caused unprecedented changes throughout the world, especially in the way we work. With travel restrictions imposed due to social distancing measures, organisations around the world were forced to transform their work models. Now, as businesses look for new ways to combine remote work and work-from-office, hybrid working makes for an ideal solution for the future of work. However, with the nature of work currently being redesigned, businesses are now faced with another unique challenge – managing employee engagement.
What is employee engagement and why does it matter?
Employee engagement is a measure of employees’ dedication to a company. In simpler words, an emotionally and mentally engaged employee is more invested towards the company’s success. It’s no secret that companies with engaged employees outperform their competitors due to the sense of belonging the employees experience.
Employee engagement benefits organisations in many key areas:
Higher retention rates
Increase in overall productivity
Boosts workplace happiness
Better collaboration between employees
The pandemic has highlighted the need for employee engagement,more than ever before. According to a poll conducted by Gallup, employee engagement skyrocketed after the emergence of Covid-19. As emotional wellbeing and mental health take precedence in these testing times, employees rely on their organisations to create an inclusive environment where they feel connected.
Here are some effective ways to boost employee engagement during hybrid working:
Send out care packages: Working from home, while juggling personal and professional responsibilities, is bound to take a toll on employee wellbeing. Without the ability to meet their colleagues regularly or hold in-person meetings, employees are likely to feel a lack of connection. A great way of bridging this gap could be sending out thoughtful care packages. A simple gesture like this assures the employees that their company values them, which not only builds an emotional connection but also maximises productivity.
Give importance to onboarding: Onboarding and employee engagement are linked more closely than we can imagine. When an employee gets off to a great start, it lays the foundation for a long-lasting and meaningful partnership. Connecting well with them as they get accustomed to the new company culture is a great place to start. Alternatively, putting yourself in their shoes would help to think of new ideas to create a happy workplace for a new employee.
Acknowledge their efforts: It goes without saying that employees like to be appreciated for their work. With remote & hybrid working impacting employees in more ways than one, the onus lies on organisations to make sure that good work doesn't go unnoticed. Expressing gratitude with a simple thank you note or paying a compliment for a job well done, goes a long way in strengthening employee morale.
Gather feedback regularly: The pandemic has also altered the way businesses gather feedback from their employees. Short, real-time surveys are increasingly becoming popular. HR teams can roll out personalised surveys to understand how employees feel about their work. Alternatively, managers can conduct one-on-one virtual meetings with employees to take stock of their wellbeing and identify areas of improvement. These surveys provide actionable insights that not only help businesses improve employee engagement but also pivot in the right direction with strategic planning.
Focus on upskilling & reskilling: Successful hybrid working would rely heavily on creating a continuous learning environment. As the world of work evolves, it’s important that businesses invest in employee development programs to bridge knowledge or skill gaps. Upskilling employees with short-term and long-term goals in mind prepares a hybrid workplace for the ever-changing business landscape. The right set of skills give employees the freedom to take ownership of their career growth, thereby promoting better productivity.
As we step into a post-covid world, understanding that employee engagement and employee happiness go hand in hand is crucial. Employee engagement is no longer meant to be yet another organisation process, but a necessity today. Businesses that invest time and resources into creating an engaged workforce are more likely to thrive than others.