A blessing in disguise for employee engagement

Have you cancelled or postponed your annual employee conference? Have your monthly townhalls become a thing of the past?

The answer is possibly yes. Most businesses are purely focused on sales in today’s times. What it also means is that your employee engagement strategy has gone wrong in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cancellations and postponement of activities that make your employees feel cared for in these times of emotional crisis could be detrimental to your organisation’s future.

According to research, Work From Home, coupled with minimal contacts with friends and colleagues, could have a wide-ranging psychological impact on employees. It could take a heavy toll on their mental and physical well-being, lower their morale and productivity, which will inevitably affect your organisational growth in the long run.

Cancelling employee engagement initiatives isn’t the right thing to do in such a scenario. On the contrary, it is an opportunity to boost employee engagement. Wondering how? It is because of the fact that a virtual environment provides you with a lot of flexibility and opens a new world of engagement possibilities. You can do a lot more at much lesser costs. Make smart choices. Pick and choose to create unique experiences without worrying about the massive logistics involved. In a nutshell, you can take employee engagement to new heights in a virtual environment, and also ensure that it’s driving employee engagement goals like never before.

If you got to this part in this article, then your organisation probably has an employee engagement calendar which has been sidetracked (in part at least). We will set out a lean framework and ideas for common engagement plans within organisational calendars. Here’s how you can enhance employee experiences in a virtual environment.

  1. Training Sessions
    It’s a perfect time to bridge the skill gaps and prepare your employees for future challenges. Analyse their skill sets and impart specialised training to them so that they can learn new skills or enhance their existing skill sets. Most HR teams have got training at the centre of their focus during the pandemic. In fact, you are probably spending more hours training than last year. It’s time to focus on content. Good interactive content can improve your training output. It does not hurt to have built-in post-training exercises that not only make for practical sessions but can, in the process, get exciting insights for the organisation. Roping in leading experts regardless of their location to make these sessions more impactful further improves the quality of your sessions.
  2. Fun at work
    Team members who used to work together are now separated by a distance in the Work from Home regime. This makes team bonding more critical than most of us realise. Especially if you have a lower median age in your organisation, making work time fun becomes vital. Fun at work sessions is a long term and consistent effort. Follow a calendar and utilise the virtual platform to up the game. Quizzes, virtual coffee breaks, and music sessions make for great engagements. Using technology and gamification to increase the levels of engagement while being unique are opportunities within easy reach.
  3. Townhall
    Townhalls provide an opportunity for team members to come together and listen to senior leadership about future plans. You can make the engagement levels soaring at Townhalls by bringing motivational speakers from any part of the world to address your workforce. Make them play collaborative AR-enabled games. Similarly, you can organise origami or doodle making sessions wherein employees can participate with their family members.
  4. Annual conference
    You can make your annual conferences big in a virtual environment. Employees based in different cities can participate, and you can have a wide range of activities to keep them engaged. Curated experiences based on the varied interests of employees can be organised with the help of leading experts. This is the opportunity for HR to really build an experience which far surpasses the physical event. There is the opportunity of curating experiences from across the world, which may not have been a possibility in a hotel ballroom pre-function area. From pitting wits against a chess master to engaging with a traditional chopper build off. The social currency and the exclusivity of carefully curated experiences tailored to your organisation’s values have widened the playing field.

The key is to remember that experience still rules. The easiest thing to see through is a short cut, and that could be more damaging then the advantage the organisation is trying to build.

Engaging employees in a virtual environment via exclusive experiences and thoughtfully planned engagements could be a boon for organisations due to lower costs and immense flexibility. In these testing times, organisations need to make the most of virtual engagement possibilities to keep their employees happy and motivated to continue on the path to organisational growth and business success.

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