Keeping colleagues motivated and engaged can be challenging in normal circumstances, but throw in a global pandemic, a lockdown, and remote working – it may feel practically impossible. Sadly, there’s no magic pill, and if your organisation has never worked remotely before then it’ll be trial and error until you find what works for you.
One thing to remember, we are all working in uncertain times. No one knows what is going to happen and how long we’re going to have to be staying at home or how long we will have to keep a physical distance from others. So, it’s unrealistic to expect your workforce to perform to the level they were at before the pandemic. Many colleagues will have families to support and loved one to care for. The level of distraction and anxiousness will be high during this time so it’s important to keep some perspective.
However, if an organisation is to survive after this crisis, colleague engagement and motivation is crucial. Here are five practical tips to help you and your leaders succeed:
1) Get feedback. Before you do anything at all, get some feedback from the workforce. You can do this via a pulse check, a poll on one of your channels, or give a few people a call and find out how things are going (check out https://www.mentimeter.com/) . Feedback will help you understand where you need to focus your energy on rather than trying to solve something that doesn’t need addressing. The data you gather will also give you some information to share back with your leaders so you can keep them updated with the general feeling across the business.
2) Be consistent. Don’t fall into the trap of getting rid of all your regular channels. You may need to introduce some more channels or more frequent updates, but if you send a newsletter out on a Thursday at midday, then make sure you continue to do this. When change is constant, people look for consistency in their lives. Keep the stories relevant to what’s going on in the business, but remember to add some balance, so it’s not all doom and gloom.
3) Connect with people. Are your people managers doing regular check-ins with their teams at home? Do they have the capacity to do so, if not, what do they need to make that happen? Having a regular catch-up meeting/keeping in touch sessions will help colleagues feel connected. Working from home, especially if you’re not used to it, can be lonely and can impact mental health. Encourage people managers to video call (if you have that capability) so they can see the person. It’s uncomfortable at first but being able to see people’s faces can make a massive difference.
4) Regular socials. If your colleagues socialise often, then encourage them to continue to do that but virtually. There have been some great examples of pub quizzes via Facebook live, colleagues having lunch together via Zoom, there’s also a new app called House Party which has various games that people can play virtually. If you can get some of your senior leaders involved, even better.
5) Bring some creativity. I know when your to-do list is as long as your arm, the last thing you want to be doing is faffing about with some graphic or new tool. But there’s going to be a constant stream of information looking the same and considering emails would have increased over the past few weeks, there’s a danger that some people may feel a bit overwhelmed. You could do an animated video to share some information (www.powtoon.com is a great tool, here’s one I created within a couple of hours) or a live zoom webinar with your leaders would work well also.
Have you introduced something that has worked well in your organisation and has helped to keep colleagues motivated and engaged? Let me know by tweeting me at @advita_p.
If you want me to work with you on future projects or if you need some support during this pandemic then get in touch.