The COVID-19 crisis has forced millions of employees to work from home, with no immediate end in sight. Our world has gone from digitizing the relationship between firm and customer to digitizing the relationship between employer and employee.
During these unprecedented times, medical masks, home office spaces and social distancing procedures have become our new way of normal. Remote work has drastically changed the way employees interact with their team and managers. This shift has left organizations in a search of new ways to keep their workers connected, satisfied and inspired during the pandemic.
Whether you are a marketer or a business owner, employee engagement matters!
Here are 7 effective ways organizations can keep their employees engaged during difficult times:
1. Promote Employee Wellbeing
It is extremely difficult for employees to feel motivated when they’re feeling overwhelmed, physically sick or mentally drained. 2020 has challenged our world with many unforeseen stressors. It is vital for companies to validate their employees’ needs during these tough times through the encouragement of wellness programs.
For example, virtual wellness programs could include access to on-demand workout videos or live-stream yoga or HIT programs instead of gym memberships. Your health program could be as simple as sending resistance bands, water bottles or weights to each employee in order to encourage at home workouts.
In terms of encouraging mental health in the workplace, you can create a safe space for work-life balance which will help reduce stress and prevent employee burnout. Your organization can also offer flexible work hours, which will help provide team members with a greater sense of control, a chance to avoid traffic on the road and an opportunity to attend critical medical appointments.
2. Virtual Team Building Activities
Since March, most companies have shifted from working in a corporate office space to virtually working from home. In order to sustain company culture and interactions between employees, it is important for your organization to get creative with virtual team building activities.
From icebreakers and quiz nights to virtual happy hours and escape rooms, there are numerous options for your employees to connect with team members from home over Zoom. There are also online activities such as Jackbox, cards and selfie games to keep employees with team building.
3. Send out an Employee Survey to get Honest Feedback
Honesty is always the best policy. Conducting online surveys is the best way to ensure your employees are being truthful about how they feel mentally and physically about their work. Responsiveness to feedback will lead to higher retention rates, lower absenteeism, improved productivity, better customer service and higher employee morale.
Surveys can additionally help to ensure that employees’ opinions are valued and taken into consideration. Your company can use simple, free survey websites such as SurveyMonkey or Google Forms to interact with your employees.
4. Create a Space for Informal Interactions
Under normal circumstances, employees would interact in an office environment about non-work related items such as sports, pets and movies. Lunch breaks and office events have disappeared. Most companies are seeing a big shift in their employee dynamics which is why they have created online informal interactions.
Fun virtual spirit days, bingo games, photo competitions and recipe sharing opportunities ensure a sense of unity and connection among team members.
5. Foster Charitable Giving
Working towards a common goal is a great way to increase positivity amongst employees. Creating a workplace giving program will allow your employees to feel like they may have some power during a time where they may feel powerless.
Consider establishing a program called Modern Giving, which is designed to help employers easily launch and scale their workplace giving programs. Modern Giving allows your employees to immediately deduct charitable contributions from their paychecks and donate to the causes they care most about. Approximately 100% of their donation will go towards the charity of their choice too. This will give employees a sense of pride in their work because they know they are giving back to the community.
6. Prioritize Communication
Working from home can make communication between team members very hard. Managers need to effectively communicate with their employees on a daily basis and keep them informed.
Remember that communication is a two-way street! Listen to your employees’ concerns, feedback and feelings. Remote employees may feel isolated during these unpredictable times, so remind them that they are not alone. Many businesses are also sending out weekly COVID-19 newsletters with updates and relevant company wide information to keep staff informed.
Companies that would normally have in person weekly meetings now hold those meetings virtually primarily for employee questions, requirements and leadership updates.
7. Recognize Good Work
Rewarding employees for their hard work is a major factor in boosting employee grit and engagement efforts. The main goal of recognition is to incentivize employee productivity and dedication.
For example, you could send out a team wide or companywide email praising an employee for a job well done. Additionally, if you would rather offer a physical token of appreciation to an employee, you can send them an electronic gift card to purchase an item from Amazon or a meal from a local restaurant.
Overall, recognition does not need to be a grand gesture. A simple thank you message could make an employee feel valued and appreciated.