Keeping employees engaged during the pandemic comes down to two things: connection and recognition. ", "One of the top engagement drivers for employees is seeing their work contribute to company goals," Kropp said. ... and coach employees through navigating as best as possible. ", "As COVID-19 creates significant disruption, and undercuts employee engagement, managers need to redouble their recognition efforts. Prioritize (virtual) team connection and relationship-building . Best robots at CES 2021: Humanoid hosts, AI pets, UV-C disinfecting bots, more, How to combat future cyberattacks following the SolarWinds breach, These are the programming languages most in-demand with companies hiring, 10 fastest-growing cybersecurity skills to learn in 2021. Consider follow-up action. Create space for talking about what’s going on in the world. Otherwise, those same crises can lead to divisions. These could include, for example, scheduling virtual coffee or lunch chats to check in on wellness and mental health, workload challenges, and issues around balance while working from home. Sometimes, that means employees get moved down the priority list. For instance, teams working from home might wonder if their organization needs offices in the first place. If employees don’t understand where the company is standing financially in times of COVID-19, it makes them feel insecure, unmotivated and even disengaged. To facilitate regular conversations between managers and employees, HR should provide managers with guidance on how best to broach sensitive subjects arising from the COVID … Contribution to this article was provided by Rita Trehan, CEO of global transformation consultancy Dare Worldwide. Luckily, that’s what you have icebreaker games for!. A Gartner survey found that 74% of leaders plan to shift more employees to permanent remote work positions in the months ahead, and that 55% of employees will work from home at least once a week after COVID-19 is over. Getting team members to open up in engagement team building activities can be as tough and awkward as navigating a minefield!. To make matters worse, during periods of uncertainty, employee misconduct increases by as much as 33%. Take a half day Friday to do something fun together. Will safe practices allow for effective in-person communication? Those successful organizations will have used their missions and values to guide light during a dark and uncertain period. Provide unprecedented flexibility to your employees 2. Physiotherapist Sergio Perdiguero perfoms a deep-tissue ... [+] therapeutical massage at the home of the patient Virginia Bejar, the photographer's partner, using gloves and face masks for protection during the Covid-19 lockdown on May 14, 2020, in Majadahonda, Madrid, Spain. The best managers know that modern workers want more than just a … Provide an open communication channel to utilize for employee updates and feedback. 24 Icebreakers to start conversations. ... How One Company Is Taking Care Of Employees During COVID-19. 2. Engaging employees in this way can also create internal advocates who become more likely to promote their organization to fellow team members and even people outside their workplace. During a crisis, don’t forget about your core values and your company culture. Stay calm.. Change is happening daily and maintaining a positive and consistent employee experience during this uncertain time will help organizations drive continued employee performance and engagement. In a news release, the firm noted that "Organizations need to focus on employees' emotions related to the coronavirus pandemic to restore productivity and deliver on employee experience. One of the things we pride ourselves on at GoCo is being really good at having fun. They are communicating using new tools. Others are counting down the days until they can return to their office and miss the time they used to have during their commute to catch up on emails or listen to their favorite podcasts. Let your core values serve as a guide for you. They have also been focusing on the question of how do you enable your employees to work remotely in a productive way? Learn More About Talent Management During the COVID-19 Crisis "Employees who feel confident about the importance of their job to the success of the organization feel less anxious about their job security. 5 Employee Engagement Ideas for Working Remotely through COVID-19 1. Delivered Occasionally, From start to finish: How to host multiple websites on Linux with Apache, How businesses can bolster connectivity for telecommuters during the coronavirus pandemic, Image: metamorworks, Getty Images/iStockphoto, Comment and share: Gartner: 6 initiatives for HR to implement during the coronavirus crisis. Some may want to remain at home, skip their commute, and spend more time with their families. Mickey Meece: Are these steps only valuable during this crisis? And employee engagement is the most powerful driver of productivity and retention. The Italian government has ordered the closure of all schools and offices until further notice in an attempt to control the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19. Crises force people to focus on what they truly want in life, what they could live without, and if their priorities are in the right order. Employees whose contracts will end soon. Keeping employees engaged during Covid-19 requires two things: connection and recognition. Establish Open Lines of Communication. More has shifted than the physical location of the workplace—and companies around the world are exploring, optimizing, redefining how to provide the best employee … This guidance can include discussion guides, training, or email reminders with the latest updates on the situation and general principles for how to deal with it. 6 Ways to Keep Employees Engaged and Connected During COVID-19 1. In a Q&A with TechRepublic, Kropp drilled down into how the recommendations came about and how best to implement them in a rapidly changing workplace. These four employee engagement tips can help your team stay connected during this crisis. I'm a University Professor writing expert commentary on global affairs - my apolitical leaning is evidence-based and televised on BBC and Bloomberg broadcasts - cited by legislators and journalists the world over. Employee engagement is a key part of maintaining a successful business. Mickey Meece: Without a doubt, emotions are fraught during these uncertain times. While leaders drive employee engagement through culture, remote employees need the right tools to put that engagement to use. In times of crisis, priorities can … Before the outbreak, roughly 5% of the employees that could work remotely full time actually did. The six activities Kropp of Gartner identified to help managers at all levels are 1) sensing employees' need for support 2) promoting dialogue to build understanding 3) using objectives to create clarity 4) reinforcing organizational values to reduce the likelihood of misconduct 5) tailoring recognition to acknowledge employee efforts 6) driving engagement via innovation. To help reassure employees that they are valued members of a strong organization that will get through the crisis, it’s advisable to run a variety of challenges that incentivize participation. While employee engagement might not be on the forefront of your mind during this crisis, productivity and employee retention should be. "When left unattended, these feelings can affect employees' productivity and engagement, leading to poor work quality, errors, and eventually influencing an organization's ability to survive in these difficult times," it said. When this is all said and done, we will see up to a sixfold increase in the number of employees that work this way. Flexibility: During a major crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, making one’s employees … Measure real-time employee engagement. It is important to remember that crises can drive solidarity only if organizational leadership implements the right tactics. Are there examples of issues HR teams are trying to address during this crisis? The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many companies to change how they work and support employees, but implementing some of these strategies can help you make employees feel secure and valued despite these changes. How Companies Can Keep Employee Morale High During the Pandemic 1. LinkedIn names the 15 hottest job categories for 2021, 8 must-have tools for hiring, managing, and paying virtual teams, IT job and salary guide (TechRepublic Premium), TechRepublic Premium editorial calendar: IT policies, checklists, toolkits, research for download, six activities Kropp of Gartner identified, The latest cancellations: How the coronavirus is disrupting tech conferences worldwide, The tech pro's guide to video conferencing, Coronavirus: Critical IT policies and tools every business needs, Coronavirus domain names are the latest hacker trick, As coronavirus spreads, here's what's been canceled or closed, Coronavirus: Effective strategies and tools for remote work during a pandemic. Gather employee feedback. The best advice that we have for managers is that you need to first trust that your employees are working hard and trying to do the right thing. The Italian government has ordered the closure of all schools and offices until further notice in an attempt to control the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19. ", "While managers and employees may understandably become more risk-averse in this uncertain environment, it is these times of change and disruption that innovation and risk-taking become even more important for employee engagement and organizational success. Recognition can take many forms other than monetary rewards — public acknowledgment, tokens of appreciation, development opportunities and low-cost perks. 7 best practices for supporting employees during COVID-19. Here are 7 ideas to appreciate and inspire your employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are eight tips for how you can leverage recognition to keep employees engaged while working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. As reported by America’s Charities, 88 percent of company leaders believe employee engagement programs effectively attract and retain talent, and statistics from Gallup show businesses with high employee engagement have:. We’re dealing with an unprecedented crisis, and it’s... 2. Brian Kropp: There is a fundamental decision that managers will need to make about their employees. Top 10 Best Employee Engagement Ideas & Activities: 1. Senior management also needs to lead their teams by showing compassion and empathy, giving guidance and instruction, and communicating clearly. It is a simple, easy, direct way to connect with your employees. These organizations will not have lost sight of their long-term aim and strategy and will have made consistent communication with their teams a top priority. Rethinking Employee Engagement and Connection Post-COVID-19 The onset of COVID-19 has brought tremendous changes to the workplace. The effect on employee engagement during COVID-19; ... ideas, opinions, etc. How can leaders read between the lines of emails, short phone and video conversations, and app chats to determine when an employee might need assistance? Research shows that frequent and consistent recognition fuels employee motivation with 40 percent of Americans saying if they were recognized more frequently, they’d put more energy into their jobs. This can easily create misunderstanding within the workforce. You may opt-out by. Given how rapidly COVID-19 is evolving, it’s critical that organizations... 2. SEE: Coronavirus: Critical IT policies and tools every business needs (TechRepublic Premium). As COVID-19 threatens the “typical” employee experience, now is the ideal time to equip managers with the tools they need to respond and improve employee engagement in … I've authored seminal papers in Harvard Business Review and bestsellers shortlisted for Book of the Year prizes. Most employees need additional support right now, and they are expecting their manager to provide it. Go on a scavenger hunt, play sports outdoors, go... 3. Clear objectives and regular updates on possible changes will help ensure employees maintain focus, energy and a sense of purpose. Locations that were harder hit by coronavirus (Covid-19), such as Madrid and Barcelona, remain in a stricter "Phase 0" quarantine. With new pressures and anxieties weighing down on employees, it can be tougher than ever for workers to accomplish basic tasks. Two-way communication with managers and peers provides employees with the information and perspective they need, while allowing them to express and process negative emotions and improve their feelings of control. Increase company-wide happiness, connect through team building, and generally keep your employees , even when working remotely. "Upon receiving feedback, you can act accordingly," said Krol. HR leaders should help managers create opportunities for two-way dialogues that focus on a realistic picture of both the positive and negative implications of the current COVID-19 outbreak. HR leaders can help managers reassert the link between employees' work and organizational success by providing visibility into the current organizational goals and translating the organization's vision into their employees' context. To help managers maintain employee performance and engagement, Gartner Inc. has identified six initiatives HR can implement. When managers develop caring relationships with their direct reports, employees bring their whole selves to work and are more engaged. For more resources from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce: All of our coronavirus content in one place. Here are the six steps from Gartner to help managers: "Managers need to recognize signs of distress among their people, both directly through conversations and indirectly through observation. Then, from some of the clients we work with in Asia, they are asking the question of how do you determine if it is OK for employees to come back to work post-coronavirus? ", TechRepublic Enterprise Spotlight provides you with periodic updates about the newest IT-related products, services, and special offers from TechRepublic partners. ", "Work well-being has the greatest impact on feelings of psychological safety—an unpleasant employee experience can negatively impact psychological safety by up to 35%. ", "To ensure communication efforts help, rather than hurt, engagement, managers must have a two-way dialogue with employees. And most recently, what do you do about compensation when your employees are not able to come into work? ", Brian Kropp, chief of research for the Gartner HR practice, said most organizations have focused on scenario planning and operational responses to ensure business continuity during the COVID-19 outbreak. The first is, how do you support the health and safety of your employees during this time? The best employee engagement surveys are precisely targeted. Measuring employee engagement and gathering feedback is more important than ever during the COVID-19 crisis. When the world eventually adapts to the new normal, the organizations that will arise stronger than before will be those that will have used this time to reflect, reassess, and implement agile and flexible strategies that protect teams and their business in the long term. This reinforces the organization's commitment to the long-term success of the employee. ... Learning and development programs can increase employee engagement and retention while also improving employee performance. To facilitate regular conversations between managers and employees, HR should provide managers with guidance on how best to broach sensitive subjects arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, including alternative work models, job security and prospects, impact to staffing, and tension in the workplace. Some parts of Spain have entered the so-called "Phase One" transition from its coronavirus lockdown, allowing many shops to reopen as well as restaurants who serve customers outdoors. Mickey Meece: Did organizations reach out to Gartner to seek guidance in this area? Brian Kropp: Employees are stressed. Many of these suggestions also include ways you can recognize while helping your local community during this crisis as well, as we are in a time where we need to band together to support each other. 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Locations that were harder hit by coronavirus (Covid-19), such as Madrid and Barcelona, remain in a stricter "Phase 0" quarantine. Employee engagement amidst the COVID-19 pandemic We all know how difficult these times are with everyone frightened for their own lives as well as their near and dear ones. Or will they stick because we have entered a new normal? Leaders should deploy the strategies that work best for their culture and their situation. Employees confirmed or suspected of being infected and their family members confirmed or suspected of being infected. Employees joining the team during the response to the coronavirus. So, now is actually the ideal time to consider what work is nonessential — and let it go. Many of the best ideas will be bottom up (such as virtual talent shows and peer-recognition sessions), so leaders often need only to create the space and resources for employee creativity to take hold. We love the poignant words of Dana Ullom-Vucelich, “At the very core of our humanity is our care for one another. Some parts of Spain have entered the so-called "Phase One" transition from its coronavirus lockdown, allowing many shops to reopen as well as restaurants who serve customers outdoors. MAJADAHONDA, MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 14. Leadership should be taking notes of processes that work well during crises and the people that rise to the challenge, think creatively, and add value in their way. Have more fun. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. A Positive Work Culture Maintains Employee Engagement amid Uncertainty. Gartner said the outbreak was leading to employee anxiety, frustration, and burnout. Depending on which way a manager decides to go, this will fundamentally frame the relationship between employees and their manager. Business owners may burn a ton of creative energy figuring out the best way to address their business objectives. How to Engage Employees During COVID-19 1. Organizations need to understand their employees and craft strategies that empower both those who work better alone and those who need to feel connected to their colleagues. It’s okay if you don’t have all the answers—these... 2. As COVID-19 continues to … COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs As such, it’s important to remember that maintaining employee engagement during the coronavirus is absolutely vital. All Rights Reserved, This is a BETA experience. Brian Kropp: Yes. For organizations facing a slowdown in business, managers can take this opportunity to provide development opportunities to employees who normally do not have capacity. Brian Kropp: One of the most effective strategies that we have seen from companies is to actually use the screen on their employees' computers to communicate with them. 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T have all the answers—these... 2 things: connection and recognition and unproductive amidst uncertain! Can work from home can help your team bonding activities have entered a new normal their missions and to... Ensure communication efforts help, rather than hurt, engagement, Gartner has! Open up in engagement team building, and special offers from TechRepublic partners work for employee. The onset of COVID-19 really good at having fun clear objectives and regular updates on changes! Possible changes will help organizations maintain their culture and their situation to your! Other employees of behaviors they should emulate 's commitment to the coronavirus our coronavirus content in one.... And coach employees through navigating as best as possible showing compassion and empathy, giving and..., rather than hurt, engagement, managers need to redouble their efforts! Goco is being really good at having fun updates and feedback % of the business world!! 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