• Mikala Young

Has Covid-19 Done a Number on Your Employee Engagement?

Written by Mikala Young

Are you engaging your employees effectively? It’s a question that is at the top of the mind for many companies across the nation and worldwide due to the current pandemic. With more and more companies turning to fully remote or hybrid options, employees have more options to leave their current company for one that suits all of their needs which can pose a significant and daunting challenge - effective employee engagement. How can you coach and train your leaders within your organization to tap into an opportunity to engage employees who now more than ever need this? Here are a few tools that can support you as you consider how to effectively engage with your employees within a primarily remote environment.

Tool Number 1

Focus on Life Outside of Work

For some, this may be counterintuitive. How does focusing on life outside of work increase employee engagement? With remote work being the primary way of being for a lot of folks, studies have shown that employees are ‘clocking-in’ at all hours of the day versus a typical ‘9-5’. Employees are putting in 60-80 hours a week on average because work is now right at their fingertips. The boundary for many has been crossed and as a forward-thinking company, you should not be taking advantage of this instead, it’s encouraged to focus on ways you can remind your employees to shut off and focus on their passions, the things that bring them joy outside of their work. A few innovative companies have considered ‘Zoom-Free Fridays’ and “Mental Health Days”. Others have even blocked time off their teams' calendar to just do nothing. This can truly benefit your company. When an employee has an opportunity to get back to the things that matter most, research has shown, they’re able to show up to work in a way that increases higher productivity, a heightened sense of creativity in their work, and an increase in their mood and overall happiness.

Tool Number 2

Revisit How Often You’re Developing Employees

When was the last time your company shut down production to just focus on growth plans for your employees? Commit to connecting with your employees on what kind of advancement opportunities they’d like to see in their career and then work with them on a plan to get there. Oftentimes, companies wait until an annual cycle to review company and individual performance, but why not make it a monthly or quarterly habit. Make growth a part of your culture and watch how employee engagement shoots up. A study done by Gartner revealed that only 13% of employees are fully satisfied with their work. It’s no surprise that employees are looking for opportunities to uplevel their skillset and oftentimes this is one of the reasons retention can be a challenge for companies who do not think about long-term growth. If you’re not developing employees, they will leave you behind for another company that makes this a priority.

Tool Number 3

Rethink Trust, Confidence, and Overall Satisfaction

What does trust look like for your company as it relates to the overall culture of your company? How are you instilling employee confidence that can create an opportunity for them to feel safe and heard? Oftentimes, companies utilize employee surveys to get feedback on ways to improve. While this certainly is an effective way to get feedback, sometimes this can provide false responses to the problem you’re trying to solve. If you find that you have a problem receiving the feedback you’re looking for or the responses to your surveys go against what you hear throughout your company, then there is a deeper issue and usually, it all begins with how much your employees trust that you have their best interests at heart. This tool alone can be an article in itself, but I would challenge you to rethink how you have developed trust within your organization. If your leaders can take the time to humble themselves in this experience, your company can take this tool and completely turn around employee engagement. Deloitte and Harvard Business Review had a compelling conversation recently which ultimately broke it down in one phrase: When employees feel that they can trust their organization, their engagement tends to be higher; they’re simply plugged in.