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How to Keep Employees Engaged During COVID-19

Over the past few decades, employee experiences have been a differentiator for companies. Workforce engagement and satisfaction impact the overall performance in the workplace and improve employee retention rates. According to Gallup, companies with highly engaged workforces outperform rivals by 147% in earnings per share.

However, the Coronavirus pandemic has transformed the employee management we know of. 

So, how do we adapt to the new normal without compromising employee engagement? 

1. Promote Employee Safety

Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, safety in the workplace has become the backbone of positive employee experiences.

Allow Long-Term Remote Work

To promote employee wellbeing, many companies are exploring permanent remote work options. Facebook, Google, Adobe, Amazon, Mastercard, and Coinbase are just some of the numerous companies switching to long-term remote work. 

Moreover, a research study by PwC found that 54% of CFOs are considering extending their work-from-home policies to prioritize employee safety.

Remote work positively impacts employee morale, a McKinsey research study found. Namely, 50% of remote workers claim they have remained engaged during Coronavirus, compared to 40% of their peers working in-house.

To keep remote employees engaged and productive, build your work-from-home policy strategically. That means you should:

  • Allow staff members to take company-provided equipment.
  • Offer tips on how to successfully harmonize their private and professional lives.
  • Encourage employees to take regular breaks to prevent burnout.
  • Equip them with the right cloud tools to boost their performance and communication.

Keep your Offices Safe

In some industries, such as healthcare, manufacturing, and retail, long-term remote work is not possible. If that applies to your business, then you need to reinvent your employee safety policies. Start by performing a detailed business-risk analysis.

For starters, organize your employees in shifts. Large volumes of workers sitting side-by-side may increase the risk of spreading the virus. Consider many factors, such as the number of employees, workflow, and office capacity. Based on them, determine the maximum number of employees working in a shift. That is where using cloud employee scheduling tools can help.

You should also:

  • Specify social distancing practices
  • Strengthen personal hygiene rules
  • Sanitize the workplace 
  • Restrict in-person employee gatherings

2. Invest in Employee Collaboration

In traditional office settings, conversations among team members happen naturally. In remote environments, on the other hand, employees tend to work solo. That can compromise the overall team collaboration and result in a siloed company mindset.

It is up to you as a manager to boost employee morale by reinventing team communication and collaboration.

Start by investing in the right virtual communication tools: 

  • Project management tools let you centralize your workflow. With them, you can automate many annoying aspects of project management and boost team collaboration. Your employees can actively contribute to projects, create timelines, create tasks, and share files. Above all, they can communicate both synchronously and asynchronously. 
  • Video conferencing tools remove geographical boundaries and make virtual meetings more pleasant. Some video chat tools, such a Microsoft Teams, use VR to improve employee experiences. 
  • A cloud-based employee engagement platform like Humanforce help you improve both one-on-one and team-wide interactions. Managers can connect with remote staff via virtual notice boards, while employees can communicate via their preferred communication channels. You can monitor employee engagement in real-time to ensure better performance and engagement.

3. Listen to your Employees

Remote work can impact your workplace communication in many ways. To boost employee motivation, proactively listen to what they have to say. The abovementioned report by McKinsey suggests that having trusting relationships in the workplace can improve employee engagement by 50%.

Always Have Time for Small Talk

Scheduling meetings with your team should not be all about discussing the next month’s targets and KPIs. Be an empathetic leader. 

For starters, always have time for 1-on-1 meetings. That is particularly important for teams that are shifting to remote work. 

Talk to your employees about private problems and worries, too. Ask them about their physical and mental health during Coronavirus. Understand their concerns, fears, emotional states, and obstacles that are preventing them from performing as expected, etc. Show that you care.

Keep in mind that your regular open-door policy does not work anymore. Consider scheduling longer 1-on-1s. For instance, give each employee a full hour so you can listen to them carefully.

Conduct Employee Satisfaction Surveys

Amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, employee satisfaction surveys help you keep your finger on employees’ pulse. 

You can use them to measure employee satisfaction in specific fields of your business, such as virtual communication during the pandemic or time management. 

It is vital to keep all questions relevant and unambiguous. To generate honest feedback, you can keep employee satisfaction surveys anonymous

4. Promote Team Building

Your team can use virtual communication tools for more than project-based communication. Encourage employees to have fun and connect on a more personal level using these advanced technologies. 

The opportunities for team building in remote work settings are multiple.

For example, you can host an optional virtual get-together every Friday afternoon. Your employees can relax and talk about their weekend plans and life updates. 

Help Scout takes this practice to the next level. They choose a conversation theme for their distributed staff and give them enough time to think about the topic. Everyone participates, which makes them feel heard and appreciated.

You can also encourage employees to take coffee breaks together or host virtual pizza parties. You can even make it a family affair. 

Finally, give your staff members a space to talk about non-work stuff. Whether it is a group chat on social networks or a Slack channel, your employees will love it.

Over to You

Since the outbreak of Coronavirus, it has been a rough time for everyone. We are all in this together.

No matter if your employees are working in-house or remotely, the idea of the traditional workplace has changed. The need for empathy and human connection is now more important than ever. 

By reinventing your company culture and keeping it employee-oriented, you will help employees get through it and keep them engaged.


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