During this global pandemic, organizations are faced with how to keep employees engaged through virtual communication, provide flexibility on how employees do their work and support work-life balance as employees juggle between working and taking care of a family. The world at work will forever be changed as organizations battle to keep their employees motivated and supported.
Employers have always searched for various approaches to encourage employee engagement, and those efforts are now more important than ever.
When we look at the current state of employee engagement and what organizations are doing in this space, most organizations try to offer great benefits, competitive compensation, positive cultures, recognition programs and teleworking options. Organizations need to adapt to the current context. They should also begin thinking about how this global crisis may change the future expectations of their employees.
How will employees state of mind be affected as they work through this crisis? What will shift for employees in terms of values, work-life balance, stability (financial or career)? How can organizations support their employees during this time and into the future?
What You Can Do Now
How organizations design their relationships with employees has always been important, but I believe this global crisis could radically shift what employees value. Organizations need to start the groundwork for what may likely be a significant shift in what employees look for from their organizations. Some of the key areas to consider when formulating a plan to:
- Building sustained relationships: Whether formal or informal, create relationships that are collaborative, cooperative, active and engaged and that yield actions steps and learning. For example, meetings are taking place virtually where engagement communication is critical how do we continue to support this
- Consciously designed employer-employee alliance: Create an environment that where employees will continue to feel committed to the mission and vision of the organization and drive each other to be better versions of themselves on behalf of the organization’s mission.
- Designing co-active conversations: Developing a culture of listening, shared commitment and empowered learning throughout the organization is critical.
- Explore how your current organizational values may align with your employee’s personal values: A culture of listening not only to the immediate issue, with urgency to fix the problem or come up with a solution. Listening for the appearance of the employee’s vision, values and purpose.
- Supporting emotions as information: Emotions are part of the normal functioning of a human being. They will show up in periods of positive news or challenging times. Increase emotional intelligence support for employee’s development.
In conclusion, it will be important for organizations to prepare for the shifts that are on the horizon as part of their engagement strategy or offerings. Begin preparing for what all this will mean when it feels like there is a great deal at stake professionally and personally for employees. Organizations can be thoughtful and inspired through creative possibility and innovation-thinking outside the box, a resource that is also useful to organizations and life. We have seen the out of the box approach emerge and make a difference in the current global crisis.
Joyce Weru is an HR thought leader in the international development space and the Founder of Rise Above Coaching. She is also the HR Ambassador for Humentum. Her website is https://riseabovecoaching.com/.