In this current crisis, employees across the globe are under unbelievable pressure. They see the news about unemployment levels rising, layoffs, and social benefits decreasing. On top of this, many issues arise from remote work, such as-employee communication gaps and increased distractions that are inevitable when working from home.
Identifying Employee Stressors
Employers need to think about tackling remote working challenges in different ways. One of these ways is clearly identifying actionable ways to reduce employee stress and keep performance high.Positive employee experiences and well-being are being directly affected by many pandemic-driven issues. Below are just a few examples:
- Decreased communication due to a lack of opportunity to interact face-to-face;
- A lack of flexible work arrangements that have employees juggling work and family;
- Canceled employee well-being, development, and leadership programs;
- A lack of any employee engagement initiatives that lead to reduced motivation and
While these challenges can seem daunting, there are several ways you can address them productively and efficiently.
3 Ways to Improve Employee Engagement During the Pandemic
Here’s what you need to do to build morale and maximize employee engagement at this uncertain time.
1. Utilize Technology to Recognize Your Employees’ Contributions
Recognizing your employees is a proven way to improve morale and engagement. In turn, employee recognition impacts workplace culture – even a remote one – in a number of ways.
According to the data from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the majority of HR experts agree it positively affects employee experience, relationships, engagement, and more.
Source: The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
Implementing an employee recognition program with a multitude of features and reward options can make a difference.
Here are SHRM’s recommendations for the most effective program:
- Have consistent nominations for employee recognition;
- Write a clear description of the program and communicate it to your employees;
- Base any rewards on employee performance to encourage engagement;
- Tie the program goals to organizational values;
- Track metrics to ensure impact across the organization
Important! Tracking metrics is the hardest to accomplish. It’s often the reason why companies fail to maximize program performance and benefits. This is where a strategic partner can help get you running efficiently.
2. Have leaders check in with employees consistently
In many cases, employee engagement heavily depends on the support and feedback offered by employers.
That’s why it’s so important right now to take some time to communicate with employees. Your leaders should have regular meetings with them, both one-on-one and in groups, which helps to:
- Identify issues and challenges they might be going through;
- Determine what kind of support they require;
- Provide constructive and meaningful feedback on their performance (bad feedback can disengage 90 percent of your employees)
- Ensure they have enough resources to handle their tasks effectively.
2. Create more group projects
According to the MIT Sloan Management Review, belonging takes a high place in the “Hierarchy of Remote Needs,” so employers need to focus on that.
Communication through chat and texting is a new way of envisioning this classic psychological principle.
Source: MIT Sloan Management Review
One way to create a strong sense of belonging is to find opportunities to have employees work on projects in groups. This can be good for increasing a sense of well-being and engagement.
Thanks to video conferencing software, you can also use this strategy to engage remote employees. People are getting used to video meetings, so it’ll be more comfortable for them to exchange ideas, collaborate, and succeed as a team.
Here are some tips to make it work:
- Ask employees what kind of projects they’d like to tackle in groups;
- Have team members communicate at least a few times via video weekly;
- Regularly check-in with teams on their progress and performance;
- Provide access to reliable video call software.
And, of course, do not forget to recognize and reward employees working in groups. This might help to motivate them to participate in more group projects in the future.
Don’t Stop There
Your role as an employer in improving employee engagement is critical. The tips you’ve just read are good ways to invest in your employees and make it easier for them to navigate the pandemic.
Last thing: continuously communicate with your employees directly. They might not show any signs of extreme stress and disengagement initially, but the situation might deteriorate over time.
Remember to listen to your employees’ needs during this time. Do your job as an employer in fostering engagement, and your employees will respond by delivering remarkable performance!
About the Author
Donald Fomby is a Digital Marketing Specialist with a Master’s degree in Advertisement. At a relatively young age, he has already amassed impressive experience as a freelance writer. He partakes in different projects that allow them to grow his list of experiences and expand his interests. His body of work consists of articles, essays, and news reports on trending topics that aim to help readers with practical advice.