Employee engagement is one of the most important elements in human resource management. It refers to an employee’s emotional commitment to their work and the organization in which they belong. When employees are dedicated and feel connected to their work, they become productive and are less likely to feel burnout.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, employee engagement levels fluctuated a lot. Early May 2020 saw a 38% employee engagement rate, but it dropped to 31% by the end of May. The same study found that 13% of employees are disengaged. While this is a small percentage, it can still affect the overall performance of an organization.
The most common ways to engage employees during the pre-pandemic era included physical activities like team building activities or excursions. But due to the challenges brought by the pandemic, these strategies are no longer applicable. Even a simple gathering in the office may seem impossible due to government restrictions and telecommuting.
Thus, managers need to be more creative with employee engagement strategies. They can use video conference platforms to carry out these strategies. Here are some recommendations:
You need to check in with your team members regularly. This one-on-one session will help you establish a connection with your team members and make them feel comfortable enough to share things with you. For example, if they’re not performing well lately, you can ask them politely about their situation. And you can formulate a solution together. If they are performing well, recognize and thank them for their effort.
But it’s also important to ensure that regular check-ins don’t happen too often. It can make employees feel like they’re being micromanaged. This will only make them more disengaged. Instead, you can do a one-on-one session with each team member once a week or once every two weeks.
Casual Virtual Team Meetups
Aside from one-on-one sessions, you can also create a virtual team meetup. And this doesn’t have to be formal. It can be a safe space for you and your team members to share things, whether personal or professional. For instance, you can talk about small wins in the past few months, songs you’re listening to lately, and so on.
In this case, you’ll have to be a little vulnerable. Other members might feel burdened or shy about sharing. So you can take the lead and share something first. This will encourage your team members to also speak up.
Physical team-building activities are not allowed during the pandemic. So you can do team activities online instead.
For example, you can try organizing virtual challenges, such as trivia nights and online games. Check what your team members are interested in and create a trivia quiz under those topics. Or ask them what games they’re currently into. See if it’s feasible for everyone on the team to play it together. For instance, Among Us is a popular online game where 10 people can play.
Recreational activities like these can help employees relieve stress. For better results, you can also give rewards. For example, trivia quiz winners will receive commemorative coins and electronic gift cards. When something’s at stake, employees can become more competitive and make things more exciting and fun.
You can also organize online learning and development opportunities. For example, you can conduct training on certain processes or seminars about communication and professional development.
By providing learning opportunities for team members, you’ll engage them more effectively. It’s also important to note that training and development result in job satisfaction and improved overall engagement. Employees will feel that the company is invested in their professional improvement. And they’ll repay this with better job performance and productivity.
Encourage Work-Life Balance
The majority of people in the workforce are Millennials. And they value work-life balance. One survey found that 80% of Millennials consider work-life balance when looking for a position or job.
Work-life balance minimizes stress and prevents burnout. Thus, you must encourage it in your team. For example, if you see team members still online after working hours, you can message them privately and remind them that they can already log off. Managers should also avoid sending emails during rest days, except when extremely urgent. Instead, they can schedule their email to send at the beginning of an employee’s next shift.
The uncertainty brought by the pandemic, political tension, and other factors can make employees disengaged. This disengagement affects their productivity and may cause other problems as well. Thus, managers need to do their best in engaging employees virtually through one-on-one and group activities.