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Going Virtual - Employee Engagement and Connection

For years we have all worked so hard to build a culture that is engaging and aligned to our values and business objectives. Culture is infectious whether it is good or bad, this is grown and developed by all team members and helps a business and its employees to thrive & feel connected and inspired. So what happens when your business is turned upside down, when you no longer can lean on the office environment and physical connection with your team to keep the culture alive? How can we share our feelings and thoughts and understand how our team are holding up behind a computer screen through emotionless emails with so many potential meanings?

Employees are being challenged in so many ways, from home schooling to new online meetings, to simply adjusting to being isolated from their usual world. However, our work place and output is important and we need to find a happy medium to support staff with their challenges but also ensure the stability and longevity of our business.

Gartner research shows 76% of HR leaders reported the top employee complaint during the corona-virus outbreak as "concerns from managers about the productivity or engagement of their teams when remote" so how do you manage output without staff feeling micro managed?

How do you show 10's or 100's of staff that you are there for them, when you can't physically be near them?

And how can you keep the band together so to speak? Keep the team culture alive? With some workers now realising that the presence of others, and the structure of the office kept them focused, whilst others are turning to the opinion that the office structure slowed them down and distracted them, there really is no one size fits all solution. We need to work out which bracket your employees sit in and change your approach to suit each individual. Communication is the key, and lots of it.

Some of the processes being used by business are:

  • Twice daily virtual team catch-ups
  • Flexible working times, to support WFH parents
  • Software platforms managing output, including those that rank daily productivity
  • Friday afternoon social online catchups
  • Buddy systems, to keep people connected
  • Individualised programs and work time options
  • Finding opportunities to inject some fun, increase learning and encourage team involvement.

In last week's webinar, I spoke with Kingsley Seale, Director of operations at BE Challenged to talk through some of their engaging solutions to keep teams connected. Watch the full webinar here.

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