The most common theme of many of my conversations with clients and business owners is “How do we keep employee engagement at a high level in this remote environment?”. At least for the foreseeable future, gone are the days of in person team wide meetings or massive company outings that often help with bonding and creating your culture and community.
However, employee engagement and morale does not need to be driven solely by meetings, gatherings and parties. Despite the obvious challenges, many of our clients are seeing improved engagement and Employee Net Promoter Scores, doing both basic and unique approaches with their team members. Here are three simple ideas to consider.
Go “Old School” with recognition and communication
Remember the “Thank you note”? Not the text. Or the email. The simple 3×5 “Thank you” card with a handwritten, personalized note. To this day, I am still amazed at the impact these notes can have. As I write this, I am looking at a handwritten note from a CEO from a prior company I had from 2016; it is still on my wall! Or, how about a gold old fashioned phone call just to say, “Thank you”. Yes, an unscheduled phone call to say Thank you or Congratulations or just Keep up the Great Work. Not Zoom, or Google Meet or Teams. These take just a few minutes, but team members will really appreciate the personal touch from the CEO or senior team.
I think it’s safe to say “Zoom fatigue” is a real thing. Not only are we on Zoom at work (or another platform of video chat), but we now have to have our non-profit board meetings via Zoom and we’re helping our kids who are at school virtually with their online meetings as well. Last week, I calculated that I spent 26 hours on zoom in a 3-day period. It’s draining, and while we constantly talk about it, what are we doing for our team members? One organization we work with has decided to allow for 2 paid “Mental Health Days” over the next three months. Another organization is switching its daily huddle call from video to phone only and encouraging its team to go outside to take it. Understanding and listening to your team members’ concerns is one thing but taking action is what’s required.
Offer Unique Benefits
We mentioned school starting and the challenge many parents are having with balancing helping their child and working. In addition to considering alternative work schedules, brainstorm with your team, how you can make life easier for your team members. It could be helping them to find a resource like a nanny or tutor to help with childcare or school. It could be partnering with a local business to secure a discount around “daily chores” like housekeeping or dry cleaning (Note – double win on these ideas as you also help local businesses in your community).
All of these “little things” add up and when employers understand this and provide easy solutions for its team members. You can really endear your team to your organization because you show you truly care for them as people. Not only will these actions help your team be more productive, but you’ll create a great bond. No one – or company – is perfect and team members will not forget your empathy and action when, inevitably, the organization makes a mistake. Most importantly, you’ll foster a culture that will attract and keep the best talent!