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Between the stress and uncertainty of 2020, it’s no surprise that employees may be a little distracted. Not to mention, many managers are cultivating meaningful employee engagement with a smaller budget than normal. Because of this, managers are forced to think outside the box to make their budget stretch, which involves a lot of creative thinking and ingenuity. So, how do you re-engage your team without breaking the bank? Read on to learn how to boost employee engagement by reminding team members of their value, bringing levity to the workday and celebrating successes.
Reiterate the Big Picture
Employee engagement starts with you, the employer. To get the best out of your employees, they need to know exactly where they stand. Remind them why they do what they do. Why does their work matter? Reiterate how your company creates value for customers, how your employees’ roles fit into the mission and product, and how they are supporting what the business needs. When every employee understands their contribution to the big picture, they feel like a valuable member of the team. It’s an important step to making them feel appreciated.
Don’t Skip the One-on-One Meeting
Building employee engagement starts with making sure your team feels heard and seen by their leaders. If you find yourself canceling or rescheduling these sessions often, you could be sending a message that your employee doesn’t matter. Unless it’s unavoidable, stick to the times you’ve scheduled. Put all email, phone, and IM notifications to Do Not Disturb status and give your focus to your employee. These meetings are a time for fluid conversation, so be present and engaged. Ask about their workload and tasks in progress, coach them through any challenges and ensure they are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to successfully perform their job. Leave time to ask about their lives outside of work too! Being holistically interested in them as a person will help build trust and encourage open communication.
You want your team members to build positive relationships, so look for team activities to promote that. The point of these sessions is to bond through games or events − it allows your team to interact in a more personal way to strengthen how they relate to one another. This is an especially great way to create an inclusive environment for new members of your team. You could host monthly team-building exercises or weekly team huddles. Need ideas? Some examples are taking personality tests (which reveal unique qualities across teammates), problem-solving challenges, or telling stories based on prompt cards. The advantage is that many team-building exercises can be remote-work-friendly.
During the activity, make sure you allow everyone a chance to participate equally. Be in tune with team members who may have a quieter personality than others, and intentionally create opportunities for them to be included.
Bring on the Levity
The lack of in-person social interaction during remote work can change a team dynamic, but the key to keeping your team bonded is to get them laughing. Have a meme-making contest (either finding the best one or making your own) or play online dodgeball for friendly competition. You could even have another work group be the opponent! Show and tell − have everyone share the strangest (or coolest) thing in their workspace or home. Do a trivia night, play Family Feud, or turn the whole video chat into virtual bingo! The point is to do things that make your team laugh and join in.
Remember the Positives!
Make time to celebrate the good moments of the week in a “What’s Good” segment. Give your team an outlet to discuss both work and personal news in a positive and safe space. Maybe they feel good about a home project they finished. They could be relieved to complete a challenging project for work. Give them space to celebrate freely and cheer them on as a reminder that you (and the company) care for their well-being.
Focus on Success
Talking about team and individual successes are an easy way to bring more engagement to employees. If your team finished a project a week ahead of schedule, congratulate them and thank each person for their hard work and contribution. If someone finishes a certification they’ve been working toward for months, give them kudos on your team chat, or do it privately if they’d prefer that. You can also take the opportunity to spread some good news from other departments and connect how your team’s work helps support that success. Encourage peer to peer appreciation, too, because we all know having your boss and team appreciate you is a great feeling!
Are you worried your team running out of steam during the busy season? We understand. Here are some ways to avoid employee burnout.