2020 will be a year that no one will forget for a long time. From remote work and layoffs, to terminations, restructures, and business closures, most staff have had their share of change and fear to last a lifetime. During all of the confusion and business changes, some leaders have lost touch with other business priorities – mainly staff engagement.
Most work arrangements are new as many companies have returned to the workplace with a mixed approach including both in-office and from home opportunities. Those that are back in the workplace are feeling anxious, scared, and guilty, especially if their previous co-workers did not survive the roller coaster ride. It is a good time to circle back to Culture as new habits and practices are being formed. If a leader takes the time to ensure that staff feel comfortable, have a forum to voice concerns, and ensure safety is still a top priority to the organization, they are on the right path. There is much more leaders need to do, and it is so important at this time to make sure they are taking care of their biggest assets – People.
Here are some tips for all leaders on how to get back to creating an engaged work environment:
- Feedback, feedback, feedback!
- Take the time to tell your staff how they are doing – both as an organization and in teams
- Listen to how they feel the return to work is going and take their concerns and ideas into consideration
- Do not make big decisions and changes that will affect staff without proper communication strategies in place
- Have one-on-ones with staff and their immediate supervisor
- Ensure follow-up to address concerns that have been brought up to ensure that staff see that their thoughts and opinions are valued
- Challenge your team!
- Encourage staff to participate in learning and development activities such as webinars, internal and external courses, etc.
- Are supervisors and managers reviewing those performance reviews completed months ago? Many times, a formal review is done once per year with no interim “check-ins”. The initiatives surrounding employee development are often ignored due to the goals not being reviewed during the year
- If funds are restricted due to decreased business revenue, look for short-term alternatives such as job mentoring, sharing, etc. There are often many free or low-cost webinars available as well, be creative!
- Inspire as a leader!
- That might sound exceedingly difficult, but it doesn’t have to be a daunting exercise
- Some traits that are the most valued by staff include:
- Effective communicator (conveying information and receiving feedback)
- If leaders keep working on these traits, staff will be more appreciative of their efforts
- Make the workplace fun again…with some modifications!
- Employees want to reconnect with their peers, but with Covid-19 still lingering and the fear of a second wave hitting us, we need to be more creative on how we can bring back social & engagement activities
- Look for ideas from staff on what they think can work or are interested in
- Try to find activities that can be done while maintaining a safe distance
- Provide PPE (personal protective equipment) to staff that can allow them to feel safe & secure
- Do not try to over complicate activities, instead try to plan small regular initiatives that will get staff “back in the groove”
- Remembering to celebrate achievements such as closing a big business deal, milestone anniversaries, etc. are also great reminders to staff that they are appreciated
- Allow a small budget to allow staff to personalize their workspaces such as plants, decorations, etc.
Lastly, to sum it all up, with small steps, employers can get back to creating an engaged workforce. Don’t forget the most important step, through all changes, and all initiatives………………..
COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE!
Originally posted in July 2020!