Employee Engagement in 2021: How to Get Teams Together in the New Normal
The previous year has taught us that it can be extremely difficult to keep teams engaged and eager to stay productive when there’s an ongoing crisis, when their jobs are at risk, and many have had to adapt to remote work without any preparation. People’s minds are on the latest news, the health of their loved ones, and few have the energy to keep going at the same rate as before the pandemic. In 2021, the challenge of engagement prevails as one of the core issues companies will be facing, hence the need to tackle it head-on as the year slowly unfolds.
While we have yet to see what this “new normal” will actually involve, whether we’ll have to keep working remotely, turn to hybrid models, or go back to office collaboration, we still need to focus on ensuring productivity and employee satisfaction the best we can. That said, the following ideas are exceptionally promising no matter what the new normal will be. Let’s see what you can do to enable greater employee engagement, productivity, and overall business success in 2021.
Ensure health and safety
In order for your employees to focus on work and have peace of mind, they need to feel safe and secure working within your organization. To do that, you need to tackle the most essential health and safety precautions and encourage the healthiest preventative measures to create a safe and stress-free work environment.
By getting this core need out of the way, you’ll help your employees feel secure and at ease, so that they can actually focus on developing your business, being productive, and collaborating effectively with their teammates.
Leverage virtual meetings
Even when you can’t organize a face-to-face meeting of all your staff at the office, you can leverage effective conferencing software solutions to keep up with your regular weekly meetings. Use video conferencing for more than just to cover your agenda.
You can organize game nights, trivia nights, happy hour, or any other fun activity as a team-building session that can be done remotely, in the new normal. It will help keep your workforce connected and engaged, during their work hours and beyond.
Automate tasks across the board
Low-value, menial tasks tend to be mind-numbingly boring and tedious, and thus can make your employees feel useless and undervalued. They might feel as if their knowledge and expertise isn’t put to the best of use. Some might be overworked, instead. One of those common tasks you can automate and simplify is creating rosters with the best time and attendance software that allows you to keep track of how your teams work.
They’ll be able to see when everyone is at the office or working remotely, who they can talk to if they come across an issue, or when they can get an extra shift. This data also helps you as their leader to recognize bottlenecks and create more productive workflows automating time tracking, so that everyone can work at the right pace, cover proper assignments, and ensure company-wide transparency in work allocation.
Foster transparent communication
Now that you have empowered overall workload transparency with time tracking and other software solutions, you also need to keep your employees open about their work needs, struggles, and expectations, much like your own. Some of the best employee engagement solutions allow you to easily connect with your workers across locations and quickly detect and resolve any emerging issues. These solutions can help you improve both team communication and one-on-one interaction, keep track of employee engagement, and easily collect employee feedback.
Considering the new normal will entail a fair amount of uncertainty, perhaps many of your team members will need help with workload distribution, support for their health as they take care of their aging family members, or they might need training to master the new remote work tools. The only way to discover those setbacks and prevent issues is to ask questions and remind your teams regularly to share their concerns, ideas, and suggestions, both one on one, and in team meetings.
Practice employee recognition
Glossing over what your employees mean for your organization and how they make a difference cannot make them feel like they belong, that’s for sure. Instead, in order to be engaged and happy, they need to know that you recognize their role in your business and that you value their work.
Take a moment to recognize each individual’s contribution, be it in an email or during your conference call. Thank them for their hard work regularly. Give out bonuses, but also extra vacation days, and customize your recognition to the person in question: different people will want different kinds of perks.
Encourage wellbeing and self-care
In addition to everything you do at the office (remote or otherwise), the satisfaction among your ranks depends on so much more than that, including how your employees are managing their lives outside of work. If they tend to work too many extra hours and overwork themselves, stress over projects, fail to invest in their health, they are bound to be unhappy and less engaged.
As their leader, you need to set an example and give the right tools for your teams to be healthy and resilient in 2021 and beyond. That means providing health benefits, access to diverse fitness programs, and counseling if they need it to improve their mental wellbeing. In doing so, you’ll let them know that their health comes first, and that you care for their wellbeing, not just their performance at work.
Empower mentorship and collaboration
Engagement depends on another vital factor that you can develop in your corporate culture: the spirit of teamwork. To keep your employees focused, productive, and eager to advance, you need to create a positive environment in your business that empowers mentorship and collaboration among your teams.
Let your senior marketers guide and help your new marketing staff. Create dedicated and tailored learning programs within your business to help each individual advance and improve their skills. Instead of competition, promote healthy collaboration, and your employees will root for one another and feel purposeful during their hours at work.
It takes time to develop a strong strategy for employee engagement, but with the right resources and persistence, you can rest assured that your team will be able to tackle this year’s upcoming challenges that the new normal will bring. Leverage these and other ideas to keep your organization well-structured and to provide your teams with everything they need to move forward and evolve.