Employee engagement. Two little words that can make or break a business! This year Gallup revealed that disengaged employees racked up a jaw-dropping
$7.8 trillionin lost revenue in 2021. While keeping employees motivated at work has long been a priority, recent years have added extra challenges for HR professionals and community teams.Since the pandemic,
63% of high-growth businesses have switched to a remote or hybrid working model. But what has this sudden shift done for employee engagement? When the pandemic sent employees to work from home, engagement dropped to a staggering low, with just
20% of workers feeling connected to their companies. We all know what followed. The great resignation left businesses reeling as it became clear that if not handled correctly, shifting work environments away from the traditional office setup can lead to a crash in employee satisfaction.
With companies facing more competition to attract and keep talented hybrid candidates, it has perhaps never been more prudent to invest in experiences to keep employees engaged and excited in their work. So, what techniques can companies use to connect with their staff while working remotely?
With hybrid work, It is even easier for wires to get crossed and for colleagues to misinterpret their role in getting a project over the line. If possible, meet in person to establish clear expectations at the start of a new project and ensure this is outlined clearly in a document accessible to everyone. Apps like Asana can help you build online Gant charts that your team can follow and modify as they progress.
If meeting IRL isn't feasible, set aside ample time to go through the process online. Combat Zoom fatigue and keep employees engaged by factoring in five-minute breaks every hour to stretch and rest their eyes. Infuse the occasion with team spirit by sending employees snacks or a bottle of wine to toast a successful session at the end!
Whether you are meeting virtually or face-to-face, the key is to create a plan that all participants agree to and can check back in with regularly. When working out your schedule and setting performance metrics, ensure an environment where employees feel free to voice concerns.
As offices slowly reopened, many businesses struggled to safely distribute workers as employees jostled to nab a hot desk on the same day as team leaders. While the hybrid working model offers companies the opportunity to attract top talent from further afield, these observations prove that enterprising employees still need one-on-one time with management to maintain high levels of engagement.
Studies have shown
that employees promoted within the business in their first three years are
less likely to look elsewhere. So how can companies offer in-house career development to their remote employees? Providing monthly virtual catch-ups with managers is a fantastic starting point, but driven team members will still miss the networking opportunities that arise from being in the office.
One tactic that could help you stand out from competitors is for community teams to pair up employees with managers from across the business. Encourage short coffee meetings where colleagues can get to know each other briefly in person or online.
Alternatively, ask department heads to host a webinar about their team's role in the business and any opportunities for career-developing collaboration. Human resources can also create initiatives for coworkers to learn new skills or establish an annual mentoring scheme where employees can apply to pick the brains of co-founders or key decision-makers once a month.
On top of the more formal project management meetings, managers can create space for more casual communication. Set up a coffee morning where coworkers can catch up before the day begins. Alternatively, have a monthly lunch over Zoom where colleagues can socialize over a sandwich and get to know each other in a more laid-back setting.
Slack can also be a fantastic tool for dispersed teams. Whether it's sharing Halloween memes or asking for Netflix recommendations, having a channel for informal communication can prevent clogging up project-focused spaces while providing room for fun.
Variety is the spice of life, so on top of bonding within departments, community teams can encourage wider interaction with company-wide online events. Whether it's a quirky quiz or a virtual happy hour, there are many ways you can gather employees online for something social.
The power of employee recognition cannot be understated. In surveys,
of workers stated they would not search for alternative employment if their achievements were noted. Around the office, there are plentiful opportunities to acknowledge individuals' hard work on a project. But with remote work, team members can easily be overlooked, especially if they are more introverted and less forthcoming in sharing their accomplishments.
Set up a monthly coffee break on Zoom to check in and celebrate small wins and ongoing teamwork.
Peer recognition is equally important, so as well as asking for opinions on their own progress, ask the group to nominate a team hero who has pushed the project forward in the previous weeks.
Gen Z and Millenial candidates are attracted to companies that care, but empty platitudes will not suffice. If you plan on building your company culture on a set of values, you better be prepared to walk the walk! Setting up a day for team members to volunteer at an aligned NGO can show you practice what you preach and reconnect employees to a shared sense of purpose.
Through sharing updates, these meetings also allow colleagues to see how other departments fit into wider company goals and unite everyone together in shared aims. This approach can combat the silo effect that can easily creep in, especially when working remotely, and improve engagement as everyone sees how they fit into the bigger picture.
While our TravelPerk all hands are now a well-oiled machine, hosted in-person and online, they weren't always this way. We started small and built gradually, taking employee feedback on what was working and what wasn't. Over time they have become an
invaluable resource, serving as a weekly reminder of our goals and appreciation for one another.
Put simply, nothing can replace the creative energy generated when we meet in person! Colleagues can spark ideas off each other without the hassle of poor internet connections, and these in-person brainstorming sessions can double as vital opportunities for team building.
But if the pandemic taught us anything, it's that sometimes you need a change of scene! In a
TravelPerk survey, 34% of employees stated they had their most innovative ideas on work trips, a figure that jumped to 53% for participants between 16-24 years old.
Over the last few years, more companies have harnessed the power of offsites, taking their creative teams away when they need to find innovative solutions. With Airbnb and other sites offering accommodation with corporate groups in mind, it has never been easier to find a venue that will
supercharge your teams' inspiration!
There are a whole
host of reasons why these retreats are gaining popularity. Businesses realize that these events can serve several purposes, from a chance to deliver key updates to an attention-grabbing opportunity to attract new talent. But in a hybrid working context, they are an important tool for employee motivation and retention.
Imagine this scenario. Anna lives far from her company HQ and comes in monthly to work from the office for a few days. Annually the business hosts an AGM and a thank-you dinner at a local spot. Over time Anna finds the lack of interaction has left her with little emotional connection to her colleagues and feeling disengaged with company goals.
Before long, Anna is scrolling through social media and sees pictures of an old school friend on a work retreat. It looks exciting, and inspiring, and like their company goes the extra mile to ensure employees' job satisfaction. After seeing these images, it gets harder and harder to feel motivated, and Anna finds herself looking for a new job.
With organizations facing fiercer competition for top candidates, investing in an annual or bi-annual retreat can help reconnect employees to shared goals while providing much-needed time for team bonding and celebration!
Pick an awe-inspiring destinationand avoid the temptation to stuff the schedule with meetings. Plan some
laid-back activitiesand gift employees free time to explore, and they will come back refreshed and ready to tackle the challenges ahead!