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So it’s the new year again. Many of us are relieved that we somehow navigated through the storm of 2020, and we are already busy with strategy planning, goal setting, and our calendars are full with meetings, and asap todos. But did we take the time to reflect on what has silently happened during last year? How do our people feel? Are they still engaged? Are they motivated enough to bring their best to the table? 

During last year many of us were in crisis mode, as we had to implement remote work in a blink of an eye. Even those companies might struggle with the forced home office, where people had the opportunity to stay home once or twice a week before the crisis. However, having home office as a perk and as a must is different. And while it has many advantages (e.g. more flexibility, less commuting time), it definitely has an impact on our people’s motivation and engagement. 

Considering we are not able to predict when the pandemic ends, and whether we will ‘get back to normal’ ever, it will take a fresh approach to employee engagement to keep your company culture alive and your people motivated. 

Staying connected in disconnected times

Isolation can seriously harm our sense of belonging, which is a fundamental human need. Based on a Harvard Business Review study, belonging is good for business: high belonging was linked to a whopping 56% increase in job performance, a 50% drop in turnover risk, and a 75% reduction in sick days. For a 10,000-person company, this would result in annual savings of more than $52M.

But how could we keep our workplace communities healthy and make sure that our colleagues will not be left alone while they are working remotely?

1. Focus on transparent and regular communication 

Immediate and straightforward communication has never been as important as now. Your people have to feel that they are still part of a bigger community, and the latest information should be accessible anytime. Providing a comprehensive overview to your staff on the company’s plans and goals can minimize uncertainty and worry. Sharing your content in a video format can also take your people’s engagement with your content to the next level. 

2. Recognition and praise 

Ensure that recognition is public and optimally company-wide. Public channels, such as your company intranet, or an online platform that includes a social feed where everyone can view and give recognition to each other can be good ways to celebrate successes together.

When sent publicly, recognition is a huge motivator for employees, and it can help even your newly remote employees feel more connected to each other.

3. Giving voice to your employees – surveys and feedback

Many companies are still conducting employee satisfaction surveys only one time a year. However, when we are working with remote teams, asking for feedback and checking the general mood regularly is a must. Some great examples are weekly pulse surveys, with a few brief and simple questions that can help you to intervene quickly if there is a need. 

4. Team forums and social groups

Informal interactions in the office (such as drinking a coffee together or bumping into each other in the corridors) help to create connections and build rapport between colleagues. To create these moments while virtual, you can establish different online channels and groups to boost casual, non-work related conversations. These can be organized around interest, geographical location, job area, or up-to-date topics, such as ’mothers working from home – best practice sharing’. 

5. Encouraging employees to share their contents

We all know that employee stories can bring people together and provide a sense of connection, which makes them particularly important right now. So how about a photo-of-the day competition, a drawing contest for employee’s children, or a weekly cook-off? If you are not sure how such an initiative would be welcomed, you can even ask for your employee’s ideas through a quick survey. If you implement their suggestion, you will even hit two birds with one stone. 

At Blue Colibri, we support our clients and partners to stay at the top of their game when it comes to engagement and community building. If you face challenges on how to keep your remote employees motivated or looking for new channels to reach and actively engage your workforce, our experts can help. Contact us for more information, and let’s shape your company’s future together!