Top Trends in Fostering Employee Engagement in a Hybrid Work Environment

Top Trends in Fostering Employee Engagement in a Hybrid Work Environment

The forced exodus of many employees to their homes to work during the pandemic has changed the work experience forever. After months of working from their homes, many employees are reluctant to return to their physical workspaces. While some employers are taking a hard-line approach and requiring all employees to come back, or else, others are being more practical. In the face of what is being called the “Great Resignation” or the “turnover tsunami,” how organizations successfully address this challenge will be critical to their sustainability.

Still, while employers certainly need to consider employee needs and preferences, they must also ensure that they are adequately addressing business needs. How can you strike the right balance for your organization and your employees? Here, we look at some strategies for enticing employees back into the workplace, as needed, for business-critical tasks.

Person riding scooter to work

Craft a back-to-work strategy

Things have changed during the pandemic. That means that the way you worked before the pandemic isn’t likely to be the way you work after. As you begin bringing employees back to the workplace, it’s important to think strategically about exactly who needs to be on-site, who can work remotely, and how to ensure these decisions are consistent and equitable.

Some jobs simply can’t be done off-site — at least for now; manufacturing jobs, for instance. Some people don’t have the competencies to work productively in a remote environment. Your policies and processes for determining who can and who can’t work remotely need to consider both the work that needs to be done, and the competencies required for completing those tasks.

Once you’ve created that strategy, it’s important to communicate it transparently and broadly to all employees. Make the process of transitioning back as clear and straightforward as possible to help employees prepare, and to ensure they understand the business rationale behind your decisions.

Person on virtual call

Offer a place of community

In a hybrid work environment —where some employees are on-site, and some are working virtually — it’s important to find ways to create and build connections so everyone feels connected and engaged. Without the proverbial water cooler, providing a centralized place to gather will build community by allowing employees to interact with, engage, collaborate, and recognize each other. Employee engagement platforms, like Intellective’s Employee Experience Pack, bring people together to share, collaborate, and give feedback wherever they may be physically located.

happy employee

Motivating using rewards and recognition

Recognition is one of the most powerful drivers of engagement, and it’s the secret to sustainable success. Employees want to be recognized and rewarded for their efforts, and companies are wise to do so. Using rewards and recognition send signals not only to the employees being recognized, but to others as well — it’s a clear way of conveying what the company values and highlighting best practices and top performers. Encouraging the right behaviors at your organization — like diversity and inclusion, leadership, safety, health and well-being, and innovation — encourages them to be repeated, and will elevate performance and increase productivity.

Automating that process can help. Using a technology-enabled platform provides a user-friendly, central repository where all employees, their supervisors, and managers, as well as HR leaders, can interact, collaborate, celebrate accomplishments, and share and receive recognition. While feedback from supervisors and managers is valuable, peer-to-peer feedback is said to be even more powerful! The easiest and most effective tool to support the processes mentioned above is Intellective’s Employee Experience Pack.

Intellective’s employee engagement tool provides team members a unified employee experience where they can find everything they need to do their jobs in one location without having to hunt all over creation to find it.

worker communication

Communicate consistently, and with transparency

Communication has always been a critical factor in ensuring employee engagement. In a hybrid work world though, it has become even more apparent just how important communication is to ensure both engagement and productivity.

The uncertain business and social environment have also heightened the need for communication and transparency to ensure employees are up-to-date and informed about company goals and objectives, health and safety practices, opportunities for employee development, work-life balance and more.

diverse workers

Focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) to represent all employees

DEI has become top-of-mind at most organizations these days. Every employee is unique — every employee reflects some element of diversity. Recognizing and celebrating that diversity and ensuring that all employees can be heard, is critical for ensuring engagement and longevity.

Organizations are doing a variety of things to build DEI. For instance:

• Building a strong pipeline of diverse employees, starting with recruitment.
• Casting a wide net, using recruitment channels that focus on specific types of candidates, building diverse interview panels, etc., are all effective ways to ensure that diverse candidates are joining the organization.
• Using employee resource groups (ERG) to provide forums for employees with similar characteristics and interests to come together. These can range from groups for employees with various ethnic backgrounds (e.g., Asian American, American Indian, etc.), to groups reflecting shared experiences (e.g., employees with children, veterans, etc.).
• Clearly conveying your philosophy around DEI, and expectations
• Of all employees, by modeling desired behaviors from the top of the organization, rewarding and recognizing these efforts among employees, and communicating openly, transparently, and frequently about the importance of DEI.

DEI efforts are for everyone. Recognizing and celebrating the value of differences can help organizations build a strong culture that supports all employees.

management meeting

Incorporate change management strategies

Business leaders lamented the rapid pace of change before the pandemic. They had no idea! In today’s volatile business environment, change is a constant that must be effectively managed.

That requires planning with the understanding that plans must change as the environment — internal and external — changes. Leaders must demonstrate strong leadership by communicating broadly and transparently, and engaging employees in the change management process.

Focusing on engagement by building a strong community that offers all employees a place to come together to learn, share and collaborate, and recognize each other can help your organization navigate changes of all kinds — together, and with shared purpose.