As India shuts down to contain the spread of corona virus, businesses and companies are having a hard time keeping their employees engaged. Here are few of the points and strategies that can assist the proprietors with the aforesaid.
Employee engagement is a concept which measures the involvement with, commitment to, and satisfaction with the work and the organisation one identifies with. An engaged employee is a valuable asset with the ability to produce fruitful results. Over and above this, engaged employees communicate better with their colleagues, ask questions more often, show up for meetings on time, and have an attitude towards improvement.
India has been in the state of complete lockdown since 24th March 2020, with only essentials being made available. This lockdown has been initiated due to the outbreak of the pandemic disease COVID-19. As per the need of the hour, individual businesses have shifted some or most of their processes online and initiated a Work-From-Home (WFH) regime.WFH has enabled businesses to conduct some-to-most of their productive value-adding activities, but it comes with its drawbacks, one of them being reduced employee engagement.
Strategies to increase employee engagement
- Weekly Alignment Session – Session where the team/department gets together virtually to discuss the alignment of the work-from-home (WFH) regime.
- Team Meet-ups – Sessions where the team/department convene and asked to give specific nuances of working from home.
- Lunch Routines – The entire team gathers over video-conference for lunch, and the environment of the office is modulated.
- Online Games – Quick huddle breaks can be appended with a short online game session such Pictionary, charades or Houseparty-app hosted games.
- Virtual Challenges and Competitions – Virtual challenges can be created with a small incentive to increase the informal interactions amongst the employees. It doesn’t require much leadership time or investment, but provides a great avenue to engage the isolated-employees. Photo contest, Bingo, Trivia Quiz or a physical exercise challenge can be potential challenges.
- 5M Catch-up – The first 5 minutes of any conference call are dedicated to a “Catch-up” pertaining to informal talk – such as how the worker has been coping with the remote work environment or what they did over the weekend.
- Shared Content – Shared Content – such as TED talks, books, online courses – could be used to encourage deeper conversations and communication amongst the employees.
- Brainstorming Focus – This exercise provides a rich pool of ideas which we collated in a structured manner, could lead to profitable business propositions.
- Aha, Apology and Appreciation – A tactic used to improve the attention of the employees in the meetings. At the end of the meeting all employees have to give an aha – a lightbulb moment, an apology and an appreciation.
- Communication Exercise – To improve the communication of complex ideas, a 3-employee cell is assigned one idea. The first person narrates the concept to the second over the telephone, the second person describes the idea to the third in an email, while the third person draws a picture of the concept.
- Ditch a task – Provide the employees an opportunity to ditch any one of their most dreaded tasks. This task can be reallocated to another employee who might be interested.
- Map of Alignment – Giving remote employees continual access to mission and vision statements, project updates, company performance records, etc. helps the remote worker understand how their role contributes to the company’s overall success, resulting in a more engaged employee.
- Emphasise Results over Timelines – Put more emphasis on the work produced rather than the deadlines.
As certain businesses dive into the remote-working environment, a sense of hostility to the same creeps in amongst the employees. While at the same time, the leadership has to make major policy and process changes to enable the WFH regime.
This creates the perfect opportunity to involve the employees, whose work is to be affected, in the decision-making process. Where some job-responsibilities decrease, some other job responsibilities increase, certain activities become essential – such as prioritising activities which need to be done, how to do them, and platforms to be used to enable the collaboration. All of which are points-of-engagement for the employees, which should be used to work out the firm’s strategy as well.
Mukul Goyal: Head Consultant | Dolly Trivedi: HR Consultant | Ria Nandwani, Vinisha Changulani: Jr. Consultant | Taher Lokhandwala: Intern – IIM Kozhikode