In my recent discussions with a number of CHROs and Heads of HR, a common topic was employee engagement. Everyone was trying to figure out the best way to measure and address employee engagement during remote work. Many recognized that the “old ways” needed to change and had already started piloting new ways to address this in their organizations.
As I researched employee engagement during remote work, I came across The Principal Well-Being Index published in October 2020. The study found that for companies in the US-
47% of employees are feeling stressed or overwhelmed due to increased or more demanding workloads
44% of the employees are experiencing low morale because of isolation with remote work
These are significant numbers! And clearly show that nearly half the workforce is feeling the strain of remote work in ways that we had not even considered earlier as important contributors to employee engagement!
As leaders and managers it’s time for us to realize, that now we are solving for somewhat different problems when it comes to employee engagement.
3 things to do differently to address employee engagement-
- Instant feedback
Most companies use an annual or a bi-annual employee engagement survey to measure employee engagement. At this time of extended remote work, this just does not work. Leaders and managers want instant, ongoing feedback that will help them identify issues quickly. We want to know what’s working, what needs tweaking and what needs immediate fixing. An annual survey with 30+ questions just does not cut it any more! Moving to survey that is run more frequently with focused questions is the need of the hour for teams.
- Some dimensions of engagement are more important than others
Annual surveys try to cover all aspects of an employee’s lifecycle in the company. This means long surveys with atleast 30+ questions! With teams working remotely, it is becoming clear that some aspects of engagement are significantly more important than others. It is crucial for teams to identify what these are, get feedback on them and act! Agility with respect to identifying key engagement dimensions is paramount.
- Quick Action
Annual surveys have usually required long lead times for analysis and action planning. Oftentimes this has meant that the actions end up being cookie cutter or irrelevant. With instant feedback, comes the opportunity for quick actions. As leaders and managers, we can focus on the dimensions most important for our teams that need to be addressed. Quick, visible actions can get us back on track if/when we de-rail. It helps us show our teams that we care. It gives us the opportunity to role-model the transparency and openness that we espouse!
Studies show that employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work. Isn’t this a great reason for us to ensure that we act on this?