The COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the most significant economic disruptors in recent history, significantly altering traditional workflows and causing the world to adapt to newer working standards.
With remote working and work-from-home on the rise, employees are struggling to cope up with the increased pressure and manage time effectively. On the other hand, management suffers from a lack of oversight and supervision.
The lack of overall team engagement, coupled with the decrease in intra-team communication, can easily lead to a growing feeling of disconnect between the employees. Industry research reveals 55% of employees’ state inability to communicate in person as one of their top-most challenges.
Low employee engagement costs organizations up to $500 billion a year.
With the pandemic far from over, it is crucial that your workforce feels connected to allow you a chance at sustainability. However, expecting your workforce to make a seamless transition into a remote working culture during a crisis is a naïve move. People have had to make room for constant childcare, financial issues and unemployed family members – not to mention the apprehension over an unclear future.
Employee engagement – and as a result, productivity – suffers from a disconnected workforce. This is where employers and senior management must step up and play their part in ensuring a healthy work culture.
Here are 4 HR strategies that you can implement to boost employee engagement across your organization:
Acknowledge The Reality
82% of managers are concerned over the productivity of their remote teams as they struggle with reduced control.
However, it remains important to empathize with your workforce and comprehend the situation from their lenses. Many companies do not address the work-life crisis faced by employees, not acknowledging the challenges that their workforce may face.
The widespread economic recession and the ever-present fear of unemployment have affected morale, with workers feeling more disconnected and less motivated to work.
In a time of crisis, understanding and empathetic communication from the senior management can go a long way in helping employees feel reassured and less stressed. To quote Paul Argenti, who studied executives’ actions in a time of crisis:
“Before any other constructive action can take place—whether it’s serving customers or reassuring investors—the morale of employees must be rebuilt.” – Paul Agenti.
Executives and managers need to address employee issues and allow them to express their insecurities. It may look unusual, but acknowledging the crisis and communicating with your workforce regularly can fill in the void that is created by the lack of an office environment.
Integrate New Age Technological Solutions
With years of work practices upended, the pandemic has changed the way organizations conduct business. Remote working requires enterprises to integrate a whole suite of online solutions to their workflow to achieve smoother operations.
However, conventional businesses have had a laid back attitude when it comes to equipping their workforce with upgraded technological solutions.
In fact, 37% of IT leaders felt they were not equipped with the right tools to work remotely at the start of the pandemic.
Successful organizations have already realized how crucial it is to evolve during this challenging period. A McKinsey executive survey reveals that high-performing organizations have already fast-tracked their digitization journeys by as much as three to four years.
Technological solutions, such as work productivity application suites and a host of high-value integrations can enable you to make a near-seamless transition to the digital world. What’s more – they allow supervision, performance tracking and management more effectively.
Hubstaff is a great example of one such product. As a leading time-tracking software, it allows you to manage your remote workforce with a greater degree of efficiency. From advanced employee tracking to key productivity measurement metrics, Hubstaff will enable you to be more productive remotely.
With 52% of employees feeling that their employer needs to improve their workplace technology, it is clear that the key to employee engagement and organizational productivity relies on how they adapt to the technological shift.
Recognize Your Employers
While businesses have taken time to readjust to the new normal, employee productivity has not been hit as feared initially.
Instead, people working from home are working approximately 28 hours of monthly overtime since the lockdown.
Employers should recognize hard workers and make a conscious effort to create a culture of celebrating team victories to instil a sense of belonging. However, industry research reveals that the majority (55%) of employees don’t think that their organization cares about their well-being.
Even sharing seemingly insignificant good news – for instance, an increase in web traffic or reduced time per task – can drive employee engagement and alleviate their concerns.
You can take it up a notch by rewarding your top performers with small prizes, such as a company-paid dinner. Appreciation not only garners loyalty and makes them feel part of the team, but it also acts as a motivation factor to perform consistently.
Create A Flexible Work Environment
With lockdowns and travel restrictions enforced across the globe, chances are your workforce is working from home. Employees are dealing with added family responsibilities and tough schedules, alongside work.
54% of parents find it difficult to balance their family demands while working remotely.
Employees should be given realistic deadlines with the aim to discourage working late. Adopting an asynchronous communication style can help you offer flexible schedules, without compromising on productivity. While leaders may feel the urge to monitor employee activity, they can do so with the help of time-tracking software integrations.
Instead of committing to staying available throughout the day, employees can create their work routine around their most productive hours.
When given more control over their work hours, employees were found out to be more productive and happier.
Despite the pandemic making it an absolute necessity, remote working is still a relatively newer concept for many organizations. This sudden alteration of the workplace, as we know it, has caused the majority of employees to feel less connected.
However, by acknowledging the crisis we face and aligning our strategies to make efficient use of our workplace, organizations can plan a sustainability route to success. As technology continues to reshape our lives, it is imperative that business alleviate hurdles to remote working to achieve greater productivity.