According to Tom Schin, founder of Build Better Culture, an organizational consulting firm and workplace culture expert, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to keeping employees engaged. It really depends on the organization, its culture, and its employees. But, he says, there are some options employers should consider for helping to keep employees engaged both on- and off-site.
Having Standard, Scheduled Together Time
That might mean Monday morning staff meetings, Wednesday lunch gatherings, or happy hours outside of work. These engagements could be led by managers or employees, Schin says. “Create structure and format to them but allow your team to participate in the creation and execution of both work and non-mandatory, non-work functions,” he suggests. “Part of being remote includes have a lack of control over the full team environment. Allowing your team to take point—rotating from one to the next—brings a portion of each personality to the table for all to see.”
Setting Clear Expectations
Employees need to know what’s expected of them and what tools and resources are available to them to help them meet their goals. “Clear expectations include time bound results, specific measurable outcomes, and identifying who needs to be involved,” Schin says. “Setting these in place at the onset of every project will keep people focused.” Remote interactivity, he suggests, can be fueled by using chat channels like Slack, Teams, or Google Meet.
Creating a Safety-Minded, Collaborative Environment
Safety is clearly top of mind for employees today. Engaging employees in discussions and finding solutions to safety and health concerns are good ways to build engagement. “Brainstorming sessions are great for this,” Schin says. “You can gain additional buy-in by having people have random pair-ups to work together on potential sign-outs or action items from those idea sessions. The pairing of employees who don’t regularly get to work on things together, creates additional conversation and communication opportunities.”
Because employees are different and their personal lives will have a wide range of variation, it’s important for employers to remain flexible and have a variety of options and processes available for managers to best connect with employees to keep them engaged—whether they’re still working from home or are in the workplace.