Top Ten Tips...Boosting Employee Engagement During Covid-19
Keeping your workforce engaged during the Coronavirus pandemic has been no mean feat for any employer. Back in March 2020, no one could have anticipated that we would still be facing lockdown restrictions, home working, wearing masks, a world-wide vaccination programme and not being able to see our loved ones. We’ve all been working in different ways or for some, sadly not at all.
With the lifting of lockdown restrictions almost in sight, continuing to engage with your employees will make all the difference to your colleagues feeling valued, appreciated, cared for and motivated.
Here are our Top Ten Tips for boosting employee engagement during Covid-19:
1. Increase visibility
In times of crisis it’s reassuring to your employees to see their managers are visible and approachable. But given the unique scenario we have found ourselves in during the pandemic, as a leader you will need to continue to rethink how you adapt. Where you might have previously hosted meetings or informal catch-ups in person, you might now want to think about engaging and networking online utilising technology such as Zoom or Teams meetings to keep in touch with your colleagues or to host socially distanced one-to-ones.
2. Keep up the communication
Effective communication becomes even more important during times of crisis. With employees working apart and with the many stresses and strains on our work and personal lives during the pandemic, good communication can gel your team together. How you communicate will depend on the size of your workforce and what kind of work you do. Regular virtual catch-ups or informal group emails can make all the difference to your employees’ perceptions of your company and how you care and value them. Remember to focus on your employees’ needs rather than just your own!
3. Build a support network
It’s important to be there for your employees now more than ever before. We all feel stronger when we are part of a group and with support bubbles getting smaller and our loved ones sadly at arm’s length right now, support from our colleagues is still appreciated. Don’t forget to check in on each other, to ask if your colleagues are okay, to lift their spirits with small acts of kindness. If you’re the employee small things such as a phone call or sending a card if they are off sick will show you care.
4. Boost your team spirit
It has been an incredibly tough year for everyone and with staff still working mostly from home, or maybe not at all during furlough, boosting morale and positivity is likely high on your agenda. Alternatively, you may have a workforce who have shined during lockdown by working together in the face of adversity. Either way, now is a good time to either help your colleagues to get back on track or to harness the entrepreneurial spirit they have shown during previous lockdowns. Think about ways to bring your colleagues together remotely, even if they cannot be with each other in person.
5. Strengthen your working relationships
With less face-to-face meetings and colleagues predominantly working from home, you may have found it difficult to maintain relationships with colleagues and partners in the past year. Having strong connections is more important now than ever before – we will all need to reconnect at some point. A simple phone call to your colleagues to ask how they are or to check in on the partners you regularly work with will no doubt be appreciated.
6. Reinforce engagement with your organisation
Working through the Coronavirus pandemic has been a stressful, uncertain and unprecedented time for many companies. Whatever line of work you’re in, we’ve all had an incredible year of highs and lows. Now is a great time to remind your employees how important their work for your organisation is. Whether you have been providing healthcare on the front line, feeding the nation by working for a supermarket or simply keeping the economy going – we should all feel proud of our achievements and what we have accomplished.
7. Strengthen employee engagement with their own roles
Lockdown has been tough and your colleagues may feel fatigue and a lack of motivation. Home working or a stressful working environment may be taking its toll. As we are (hopefully) nearing the end of lockdown restrictions, it is a good time to reinforce how valuable your employees are to you and your business. Recognising their individual contribution and what they personally bring to your firm is a vital way to keep people motivated and engaged.
8. Promote engagement with each other
We have spent the last year at home away from our busy working environments and the usual kitchen chats, water cooler conversations, work lunches and office celebrations. Those social interactions (can you remember those?) are a significant part of our working day. To help your colleagues stay engaged with each other, it is important to provide opportunities for them to catch up with each other, not just about work, but informally too. This could be a socially distanced walk in the park, a group WhatsApp or something fun like a monthly team quiz via Zoom.
9. Continue to support mental health and wellbeing
We will all have had a different experience of lockdown. It may have been stressful for some as they worked to keep the business afloat, demanding for parents working and home-schooling and for others it may have felt isolating and lonely. Offering access to counselling or other health and wellbeing initiatives has never been more important to help colleagues who might be struggling with their mental health. Engaging with your colleagues about their wellbeing will show you care and will help boost morale too,
10. Find time to celebrate
Celebrating may not be top of your agenda after such a tumultuous year but with the end of lockdown in sight you owe it to your colleagues to celebrate what you have achieved during lockdown. While there’s no doubt 2020/21 has been an upsetting, stressful and uncertain time there will no doubt be some amazing examples of creativity, resilience and team spirit. Did you have to change the way you worked or provide your services this year? Did particular teams or individual stand out by shining in the face of adversity? Now is the time to show you noticed, cared and appreciated about their contribution.
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