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“There are decades where nothing happens, and there are weeks where decades happen.” These words by Vladimir Lenin might be in a different context, but completely relevant to the current situation. The current pandemic has been of a kind that no one has experienced in over a decade before. It has put the world in a state of delirium. The world has come to a standstill as this pandemic has gripped the entire human race. Social distancing and remote work have become the new normal. As a result, organizations are compelled to reorganize and retain their workforce. COVID 19 has changed the whole system of work. So, the importance of employee engagement strategy couldn’t’ come at a more critical time.

What is Employee Engagement?

Typically defining, employee engagement is the emotional connectivity an employee has to their work. It revolves around how much investment an employee makes to their team’s goals and the organization’s mission. An ideal engaged employee should have a purpose and will to make a difference with their work. Also, they should be aware of how their work helps them and impact others as well.

Employee engagement can be the fundamental difference between an employee who does just enough and the one who goes the extra mile for his work. A well-engaged set of employees can increase productivity and make a company 21% profitable. Also, a Gallup study shows that highly engaged workplaces saw a 41% lower rate of absentees. Many recruiters tend to confuse employee happiness as the only necessity for engaging them. But happiness is simply not enough. An employee needs to be satisfied to ensure their happiness.

Employers and managers are facing a number of challenges during this pandemic. Most companies are forced to set up remote work measures to ensure safety of their employees. So, during this excruciating time, employee engagement strategies must have dropped down in the list of priorities. However, in the remote work environment, employee engagement is the most important initiative to keep at the forefront to ensure successfully getting out of these tough times. Thus, companies need to do all they can to ensure that the employees stay engaged while sailing through this crisis.

The most important question now is, How can you boost your employee engagement in these challenging times? Here are a few things to keep in mind while facilitating your employee engagement strategy.

Encourage All Forms Of Communication

Working from home can instill a feeling of disconnection between you and your employees as well as among your employees. That’s why prioritizing communication is one of the most important measures you need to focus on. Make sure that the team managers have regular conversations with their team. By doing this, you can keep the employees engaged effectively. Also, this makes picking up on any mental health issue easy. Set a daily time for video or audio calls. Along with formal mentor-mentee communication, make sure you encourage your employees to connect to their peers as well. Remember, all your employees are humans, and are social animals. So you need to keep in mind the employee’s social needs too.

Empathize With Your Employees

During this time of crisis, it is very important to show your employees that you care. With remote work, situations are not the same as they used to be. Understand the fact that most of your employees are struggling to maintain a work-life balance. That’s why, doing what you can to reduce your employees’ stress, will boost their engagement levels. The first step you need to take is to find out what your employees are struggling with on a daily basis and try to solve their issues. Be there and listen to their needs. Make sure they are able to access all the info and resources they need. Take initiatives focusing on the wellbeing and nurturing the mental health of your employees. Making your employees feel support can go a long way in boosting their productivity.

Set Clear But Flexible Goals

With the new remote work environment, employees are living a new routine. There is a lot of uncertainty involving new working arrangements, new interruptions while working, and whatnot. But, whether in office work or remote work, the human yearning for a purpose always remains constant. It is desired by employees universally. So, you need to give your employees a precise directive on what’s expected from them. Set clear goals for your employees, but make sure they’re flexible and easily achievable. Be honest and open with your employees so there aren’t any surprises.

Equip Your Employees With Correct Tools

Working from home may seem easier but it has its own drawbacks. Employees can have their children playing, or pets seeking attention, noisy neighbors, or anything. In short, remote work can be quite disruptive with different disturbing elements. Also, a distributive workforce can have a huge impact on the levels at which employees are engaged. You need to make your remote employees well engaged and a part of your company. To work from home efficiently, you need to give your employees the proper tools they need to work. To enable them to work collaboratively, you need to make combinations of the proper tools. For example, Slack as a chat platform, Zoom for video conferencing, Google cloud-based applications for data sharing. Once you’ve decided on tools, onboard your employees on how to use them.

Recognize and Reward Your Employees

Remember, your employees are doing their best to succeed, even in these times of uncertainty. A little appreciation can go a long way in motivating an employee. Always celebrate the small victories and achievements of your employees. Appreciate their efforts and work. This can highly boost employee engagement. Also, share the company’s victories and achievements with your employees and give them the credit for it. Make announcements of new deals made or new targets crossed. Consider rewarding your top performers too. It’s not necessary that the reward has to be materialistic. It can be a day off, a team lunch paid by the company. Also, encourage your employees to support and uplift each other too.

Make Room For Feedback And Suggestions

Feedback can be very constructive for an employee working remotely. Make a note of analyzing your employees’ work critically and have a structure in place to provide feedback. You can provide this feedback through regular virtual meetings, or even on chat platforms. Make sure that the feedback comes off positive and not as a criticism. If you feel your employees are not comfortable giving feedback, then creating a channel where employees can give feedback anonymously is a great idea. Feedback should always be a two-way street. So, keep an open channel and encourage your employees to give feedback as well. Be open to their suggestions and make them feel valued. 

During these challenging times, providing access to professional support, such as psychologist counseling, can profoundly benefit employees. This proactive approach not only supports their well-being but also contributes significantly to enhanced employee engagement.

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