6 ideas to help your employees bounce back
What would you say if I told you that employee engagement is not the end game? I know, I know, we’re "the employee engagement people," but stay with me. One thing we know for certain is that every employee – even the highly engaged ambassador – has their bad days. Highs and lows are normal for any team, and it's the job of managers to find ways to sustain momentum and help their people manage and maintain their motivation. The goal for any organization is to make sure that even when employees are feeling distracted or (gasp!) disengaged while they weather a storm, they have what it takes to bounce back.
Sustained, smart employee engagement is about finding a balance and ensuring there are systems in place for our people to refuel and recharge while they’re on the journey.
This is increasingly important if our team is working remotely or adopts a hybrid working model. If we aren’t intentional about how we motivate our hybrid teams, the increase in flexibility and fluidity can easily lead to inconsistency and invisibility.
Make the invisible visible
Working remotely or in distributed offices means employees are unlikely to see what their teammates are achieving unless it’s brought to their attention. As people with a different view or perspective of the organization’s inner workings and operations, managers have the opportunity to build bridges and create connections their team members may not yet realize they need. How?
- Ask meaningful, leading questions. Take the time to ask your people: What are you most proud of this week? What is getting in your way and how can I help? The answers may surprise you and will either unearth achievements that deserve their time in the spotlight, or roadblocks that you can help to move. Without these conversations, too much gets left in the dark.
- Take the time to celebrate! When your employees share their wins (and do continue to encourage them to share those wins!), give them the spotlight. Whether the work is achieved at someone’s kitchen table or in meeting rooms across multiple cities, it should be amplified so that both the individual and the business are reminded of the impact of every contribution towards your greater mission and can receive recognition for their actions.
- Blur the lines of formality in your communications. Intentionally create channels where people can connect and catch-up on both personal and professional news. The "water cooler conversations" might happen less frequently when your people are working remotely, but you can continue to spread the word in other ways. Build a rhythm of company communication with an employee communications editorial calendar that features company announcements, people movements, birthdays, pregnancy and wedding news, sporting achievements, team get-togethers, client case studies, project milestones and anything in between. These stories are the heartbeat of your company culture and deserve a space to be shared.
Invite employees to contribute to your company’s conversations
One of the biggest concerns that leaders are raising when it comes to managing a hybrid workforce is avoiding inequity. How do managers ensure employees are seen and have access to both resources and opportunities?
- Give your people power to contribute to your company’s success story. Literally. If you have a company blog, give them blogging rights (it’s OK, with our communications platform you can build review and approval steps in!) Bonus: This takes the pressure off of the HR and People teams! Giving other employees ownership and the tools to tell stories and keep the business updated means you aren’t solely responsible for "feeding the content beast." It also means you have a more diverse range of voices speaking up in your organization.
- Enable – and encourage – responses. Think of how you use social media – you are the storyteller. By weaving in blogging and social functionality your employees have a voice that’s familiar within the context of work. People are able to comment in a format that’s native to them and brings important conversations into the open. People can ask questions more organically, encouraging employee/leadership interactions in a more informal context, in real time.
- Shout about that success! Bring back the focus on reward and recognition, because managers can leverage strategic reward and recognition to encourage the right behaviors and boost motivation in their team members every single day. So, taking the time today to show appreciation is the fuel your people need for tomorrow and beyond. And when it’s recorded on a social recognition feed, it amplifies the conversation beyond the individual and across teams and organizational layers. It’s a win-win for your entire business.
These six strategies are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to motivating a hybrid workforce. The most successful leaders will continue adopting new practices and adapting how they connect with their people as the "how" and the "where" of work continues to evolve. I’d love to know what you’re doing differently now that we are creating a brand new "business as usual."
Ready to share your story about how you're motivating your hybrid workforce? Get in touch with me on LinkedIn!