Though steeped in a precise, logical fear, there is a false notion floating around that plagues modern business — especially in these more difficult times of virtual work. The false notion is that it is normal and “to be expected” to experience serious employee burnout, when actually virtual work is giving companies an unforeseen creative outlet for employee engagement.
Originating as an unforeseen emergency, the new remote work that we’re doing on a global scale is showing itself to be a testament to the human ability to adapt and thrive.
The companies that have chosen to embrace and tame the chaos have been able to come out on top, unscathed. Many of the more successful HR leaders use a medley of employee engagement tactics that allow everyone to remember that they are an important part of a team during these hard times. Here are some of the best employee engagement ideas:
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Virtual Tours of the Working/Living Space of an HR Professional or Manager
These virtual tours dance right on that line between “oversharing” and welcoming, but many employers have found that these tours humanize them to their employees. They also provide unique talking points that employees and managers would likely never have enjoyed before. Virtual tours also open up an opportunity for employees to share their innermost lives with their bosses and coworkers if they so choose.
Do you have a workspace setup that allows you to focus by removing distractions and providing some sort of muse? Show it off!
Providing a Voice to Employees
Employee engagement ideas that allow employees to voice their opinions come in many forms. HR management can issue a survey to gather data on how each team member is handling their work and find out what must be done to better their experience. Now more than ever, focus groups that specialize in employee engagement are making more strides in team member inclusion — and surveys play a huge role.
Team member inclusion, interestingly, has become a focal point in modern business (especially during the current pandemic):
- Starting in the early 2000s employee engagement has increased from around 20 percent to 40 percent (before the pandemic-induced changes in business were even on the horizon).
- Pointed survey questions that are specific make more of an impact than many loosely related questions that may overwhelm your team.
- Daily communication regarding the strain of WFH has proven itself to be a successful tactic in abating workplace fear.
Surveys provide an outlet for employees to voice opinions they may otherwise keep to themselves. Focus groups are also a good way to create a think tank and brainstorm ideas to make remote learning an asset rather than a setback. Team members should devise wellness plans with each other and discuss ways in which they can effectively manage business costs or events. Coworkers can also use this planning time to share ideas on how to improve their productivity when working remotely.
Making the Situation Less of a Strain
Because employees are all staring at screens and are virtually (no pun intended) unable to experience all five of their senses in the workplace setting, making the most of the meeting platforms is key. Rounds of “silent applause” service boost morale, and finger polling is a simple way to gauge the room’s opinion on a subject without disrupting the flow of a meeting. Regular screen-breaks allow employees to rub some fog out of their eyes, stretch a little, or go on a quick walk.
Items that enhance the remote work setting are also a good way of engaging some other senses in a way that provides a ritual — like using candles or incense (also, a good discrete foot soak can go pretty well undetected also).
Gifts and Giveaways
The idea that payment for skilled work must be straightforward and traditional only applies to wages. It is within your power to go above and beyond for your associates. With COVID lockdowns, there are various ways you can reward top-performing employees, such as with free Netflix subscriptions, extra time off, or gift baskets sent directly to their homes for a job well done. Not only are you thanking your team members for pulling together during a tough time, but you are also helping them deal with remote work by catering to them directly.
Using an Employee Engagement Index
To keep your remote employees engaged, re-evaluate your employee engagement policies often. An employee engagement index is a surefire way to track your own success by standards that your company and team members find valuable. It is also important to adjust your remote work policy based on the results of surveys. Also, your official company policies regarding worker safety keep your team members healthy in the long-run. Any changes to company policies should be immediately shared with employees and team leaders who aren’t aware of the changes.
Virtual Team Tours to Exotic Destinations are a method that we personally use to bond with our employees while also giving them a travel experience as best we can with our current limitations. We have found it to be engaging, rewarding, and culturally eye opening, as this experience is a perfect opportunity to employ WFH and screens! It’s the closest thing we could hope to providing employee vacations at this time, and the success we’ve seen with it in lightening a room’s mood is the feedback we want!
Employee Engagement Ideas That Work
Like hikers with missing backpacks, we as a society have used as many resources as possible to make this business experience work despite COVID-related restrictions. We all camp together, foraging for ways to create a comfortable, workable lifestyle until the day that we can return to normal settings — and our collective ingenuity is as punctual as we are! What other employee engagement ideas really worked for your remote team? Let us know.