The lockdowns and shutdowns caused by COVID-19 are pushing businesses to make their employees work from home as a safety protocol. Many enterprises look for new-age tools and solutions to boost employee productivity and creativity in the post-pandemic world. But many enterprises find it challenging to keep the regular workflow without employees being physically present in the office due to the COVID-19 situation. Several surveys suggest that employees will prefer working from home to work at the office in the near future. The virtual working conditions have triggered the need to scout for innovative employee engagement ideas that work in the new normal.
According to a global survey conducted by Slack,
“More than one-third of global knowledge workers are working from home. The vast majority (83%) of those currently working from home do not expect to go back to the office in the next three months. What’s more, we see little evidence that migration back to the office is even desirable, with only 12% saying they would like to always work at the office and over half of all knowledge workers (72%) expressing a preference for a hybrid remote-office model.”
That is why; it becomes essential for organizations to make employees connect mentally and emotionally to their place of work. The enterprises have to focus on boosting employee experience consistently during the return phase of the COVID crisis. Also, they have to implement employee engagement ideas to make employees feel passionate about their job regardless of the nature of the workplace. The managers can always consider implementing some of the ideas to improve employee experience and engagement in the post-pandemic world.
9 Employee Engagement Ideas for the Businesses in the Post-Pandemic World
Build Trust in Leadership
In the post-pandemic workplace, managers or leaders have to take many tough decisions to maintain operational efficiency and boost employee productivity. Even though some of the decisions will impact employee engagement directly, the organizations must keep the decision-making process transparent enough to build trust in leadership. They need to make employees know what is happening in the organization by facilitating transparent and comfortable conversations. The transparent conversation will keep the employee engaged by involving them in the decision-making process.
Meet Health and Safety Needs
The employees will work at the office effectively only when the employer focuses on reducing health risks and improving workplace safety. The focus will make employees concentrate on their professional responsibilities without worrying about mitigating health risks.
According to McKinsey.com,
“Organizations have an opportunity to improve employee experience during the return phase of the COVID-19 crisis by shifting from a focus on meeting health and safety needs to a more nuanced approach that recognizes differences among the workforce.”
Provide Choices and Options
As mentioned before, the global survey conducted by Slack suggests that many employees will prefer to work from home (WFH) in the post-pandemic world. This means that the managers cannot keep employees who opt for WFH options engaged and motivated by compelling them to work at the office. The organizations must allow employees to choose from multiple options – work from home and work at the office – during the initial return phase. The options will enable employees to remain productive and motivated by working at their own convenience. However, the managers must clearly mention the goals and priorities while allowing the employee to choose.
Plan and Launch Training Programs
According to CambridgeConsultants.com, the enterprises will need new-generation tools to maintain both productivity and sanity in the post-COVID workplace. But no organization can leverage the customized and innovative tools without upskilling and reskilling the employees. The managers can use learning management systems (LMS) to design training programs to make employees use new-generation tools without putting in extra time and effort. They can further make the training programs more effective by integrating the LMS with a digital library for employees.
Recognize Employee Contribution
The managers cannot engage and motivate employees without appreciating and recognizing their contribution. The contribution and achievements of an employee must be recognized by the manager in different ways during the post-COVID work environment, to keep the employees motivated. They have to replace the focus on delivering the appreciation or recognitions digitally to the employee. At the same time, they need to ensure that other employees are aware of the great work done by the employee. The organizations even have to revamp the conventional reward and recognition programs to keep employees motivated in the future.
Create Opportunities for Career Progression
According to the 2020 Workforce and Increment Trends Survey conducted by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India,
“A mere 9% of companies have given their teams salary increments of 10% or more this year, the effect of a slowing economy and covid-19. The average hike across sectors has come down to 3.6%, an all-time low.“
The decline in increment will make many employees feel demotivated and switch jobs. Every organization must focus on improving employee engagement and loyalty by creating opportunities for career progression. In addition to providing learning opportunities, they must focus on reskilling and upskilling the employees to keep them engaged.
Switch to Real-Time Performance Assessment
Before the pandemic, most employees were feeling demotivated after the annual performance evaluations. Many enterprises were even considering the option to abandon the annual rating system to keep employees motivated but the disruptions caused by COVID-19 make it essential for organizations to switch to performance assessment based on real-time data. Managers can use new-generation performance management tools to capture and assess employee performance regularly. These tools further help organizations to assess the performance of employees without any biases or favoritism.
Define Goals and Key Results
In the post-COVID work environment, some employees will work from home while others will go back to the office. Hence, it becomes essential for managers to clearly define the objectives and key results. The clearly-defined objectives and priorities will ensure that each employee remains on track. The managers can further define the top priorities and goals to be achieved during the week on Monday by organizing virtual team meetings or team stand-ups. The employees will feel engaged and motivated when they contribute towards achieving the target or goal while working at their own convenience.
Conduct Employee Feedback Survey
A single employee engagement idea may not have the same impact on every employee. The enterprises cannot keep an employee engaged and motivated without meeting their precise needs and solving their basic problems. Managers can understand the employee’s needs and expectations by conducting employee feedback surveys regularly. While planning employee feedback surveys, the managers must ask questions to assess a wide variety of factors affecting employee experience – process, team, health risk, security, stress, decisions, and compensation. At the same time, the survey must encourage employees to share their suggestions and expectations.
In the post-pandemic world, no enterprise can persuade employees to go back to the office without improving employee experience and engagement. The decision-makers must understand and address the concerning needs of every employee through open and bidirectional communication. They need to implement new employee engagement ideas to keep employees motivated in the post-pandemic world.