Employee engagement has been the top priority in gaining an edge over the competition. Although there have been improvements in the engagement strategies, the numbers remain disappointingly low.
The coronavirus pandemic has created new hurdles in the field that is already facing slow growth and less innovation. Mental, physical, and emotional health have been compromised due to the pandemic. Physical workspaces were not accessible, and employees had to adjust to new ways of work. Now that the economy is reopening, employers face the challenge of engaging their employees, bound by the limitations of the new normal.
Deep Listening is the Key
Employees who are returning to the workplace will have different experiences and needs. For some employees, the remote working experience may be positive, while for others, the conditions of working from home are not optimal. While the lockdown is ending, schools are not reopening, which might create complications in terms of child-care. Do not take a blanket approach to your employees. Engage them in one-on-one conversations and tailor the management to individual needs. Listen, learn, and adjust according to the needs of your employees.
Mental Health is a Priority
As you listen to the needs of your employees, also try to find out about their mental health and how they are dealing with anxiety. Business leaders have, in general, done a satisfactory job, when it comes to dealing with the emotional needs of their employees during the pandemic. It is important to recognize and acknowledge the emotions and anxiety of the employees. Organizational health, productivity, and employee retention can be restructured during the pandemic. This is the perfect opportunity to remove the stigma surrounding mental and emotional health in the workplace.
Be a Trustworthy Resource
Employees look up to the leaders as a source of information, especially during the pandemic. In the months to come, employers should deepen and build on that trust. This can be achieved by opening up about any economic struggles that the company is facing or the COVID-19 protocols that would be followed when the workplaces open. Communicating clearly and transparently with the employees would help to combat the anxieties that the employees are facing. Employees should see the leaders as a coach and resource, instead of just as a boss. Managers have to coach the employees working remotely.
The new normal is going to be completely different from anything the world has seen. For the most part, leaders will have to adapt and invent new methods of working. The economy is going to be unstable for a while, and no one can predict when the next pandemic might come. Companies that foster higher degrees of trust and psychological security will be able to stay afloat. Look at the pandemic as an opportunity to build your team and foster trust. The cohesion that is built now will pay off in the years to come and help distinguish good companies from great ones.
A Purposeful Future
The situation is dire enough as it is, your employees should not receive any more negativity from your end. They should be motivated through a positive vision of the future. Sustaining shared values of excellence and innovation has been a high priority for many years now, the pandemic has only increased the value of these concepts. It has also brought into focus the need for human connection and equality in the workplace. By revisiting your mission and vision statements, you can create discourse in the workplace that allows you to reorganize the structures of your company and make them more inclusive.
The Bottom Line
The coming months, perhaps even years, are going to be riddled with uncertainty. However, you can look at them as opportunities for growth. Now more than ever, the future presents greater opportunities. Employee engagement should be treated as a priority to increase the faith of the employees in the company. Communication should be clear and transparent. Connecting with your employees would ensure that the future is filled with possibilities and promises. The pandemic should not become the reason why your company suffers a setback. Instead, it should be time for introspection and growth.<< back to Blog