Well, here we are; Q4 2020. When staff first started to work from home in Q1 (depending on where you are in the world), it’s unlikely many of us imagined we’d still be managing an almost entirely remote staff today.
As it turns out, even in the face of many unknowns, most companies were able to successfully pivot their in-office staff to remote workers while actively addressing health and job security concerns during exceptionally tumultuous times. But here we are….nearly eight months later. Employee needs are evolving as they become accustomed to working remotely, which means employers need a more sophisticated approach to keeping employees engaged and productive.
While a second wave of COVID ramps up (or a continuation of the first wave for those of us in the US), leaders need to double down on building social capital. Ensure managers are building trust and empathy with their team, while also ensuring a plan is in place to reinforce relationships between employees. Why? Camaraderie between team members is easy to build and sustain in a face to face environment but becomes much more challenging in a virtual environment where tone and mood is more difficult to ascertain.
In addition to social capital, ensuring that social purpose doesn’t lag is of equal importance. Purpose, as a driving force, has proven to be a key driver of employee satisfaction and engagement. A report issued by McKinsey in June 2020 found that employees who “indicate they are ‘living their purpose’ at work are much more likely than those not doing so to sustain or improve their levels of work effectiveness, and they had four times higher engagement and five times higher well-being.”
Employee needs are evolving as they become accustomed to working remotely, which means employers need a more sophisticated approach to keeping employees engaged and productive.
It’s also worth remembering that not all employees are experiencing “work from home disruption” the same. In particular, women (and especially women with children), are experiencing significant downturns in work effectiveness, engagement and wellbeing. In September, The Center for American Progress reported that “there were nearly 10 million mothers of young children in the labor force in 2019” and that “the risk of mothers leaving the labor force and reducing work hours in order to assume caretaking responsibilities amounts to $64.5 billion per year in lost wages and economic activity.” How do we ensure working mothers remain active employees? Employers should focus on greater flexibility and work efficiency (aka effective time management), which is an indicator of work-life balance, is addressed.
Lastly, ensure employee engagement work fosters a two-way dialogue. Much like our advice around sales and marketing personalization, employees need to know they have a voice, and that management is listening. We are in uncharted territory, so active listening and ongoing dialogue is key.
Interested in talking more about how you can drive employee engagement that is deep on empathy and personalization? Reach out to us.