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How do you keep employees engaged in a virtual world?

By Nicola Winn
February 22, 2021

Wellbeing programmes, slicker online hubs, more online meetings?

Navigating workplace engagement currently is a massive challenge. And whilst the pandemic has had many awful consequences, the impact on employee engagement is actually an opportunity for us all.

Gallup reported that as a result of Covid we saw a ‘historical drop’ in employee engagement after an initial rise when the pandemic hit.

But when you couple this with their stat that 85 percent of employees worldwide are still not engaged, or actively disengaged, it becomes clear that staff engagement is something that goes way beyond the current virtual challenges. The pandemic simply flung the problem into the spotlight. We have both an opportunity and a responsibility to do more. And by seeing the problem more clearly, we can make a start. Whilst the tools we use to make a difference, they are really just the surface conversation. So, let’s go deeper.

A question I keep coming back to, and believe is an imperative measure of whether tools and strategies are doing what they need to this year, is this:

How would we communicate differently if we sought to cultivate connection above everything else?

I think if we got curious about this our communications plans for 2021 would start to look very different from previous years.

Connection is two-way. Connection has people at the heart. And it fosters a sense of belonging and meaning. We all crave it. And we all need it. AND when we get it right, it actually means communications happen more naturally, meaningfully and authentically.

Between managers and staff. Between staff and customers. Between leaders and stakeholders.

What if every team meeting was an experience that left people feeling differently – clearly connected to their part in the bigger purpose?

What if every communication made people really feel heard and seen, connected to their colleagues?

When you choose connection over communication, you start with understanding before seeking to solve. Listening before speaking. Giving attention before expecting it in return. A connection approach is about people-focused leadership – you are there not because of your employees, but for them. It is about communicating not because you have something you need to tell people, but because they need to hear it from you.

It is agile – co-creating change that makes an immediate difference to employee’s everyday lives and experiences. And when you start there, the engagement results you want, follow.

What’s your next step to better employee engagement?