Written by:
Christine Christodoulou

Managers:
Engage & retain your best workers in 2021!

We’re nearly a year into the remote working revolution. Before the pandemic hit, remote working was a work perk you would see highlighted on some edgy start-up’s work for us page. 12 months on, not so edgy, but more like a staple part of everyday life, after it was forced into the forefront of the ‘new normal’, that we’re all still navigating ourselves through.

With some help from tools like MS Teams, Zoom and Slack we’ve got better at this working from home malarky. Managers have seen that their teams can work effectively from home. The question managers now need to ask is – are our teams still happy and engaged with our business while doing so? Or, at the first glimpse of COVID freedom, will they be looking for a new job?

If you’re a manager who wants to retain your remote team in 2021, you need to be making engagement a priority ASAP. But how?

We were recently lucky enough to be joined by Paul Heaton, founder of The Comms Guru and Katie Maycock, founder of Get your sh*t together for our Workplace 2.0 webinar, a session all about employee engagement and burnout for remote teams.

Paul shared with us his extensive knowledge on engagement and things managers need to do to keep it high. Katie spoke about burnout, and how it’s a key driver of disengagement for remote workers.

We’ve broken down their advice in the hope it will help to increase your engagement and retain your best workers this year.

Start by tracking it!

A few smiling faces on your weekly Zoom quiz is not a good indicator of how happy and engaged your team are.

So get strategic.

Tracking does not need to be a gruelling task. There’s a number of great tools that can do the leg work for you. By tracking your engagement, you can recognise patterns and problem areas that could be detrimental to your business.

Paul recommend’s Vevox which is an engagement app that can be used during virtual meetings to track engagement in real-time.

 Find out more in the video below…


Know your audience…

What engages one employee may not be engaging to another. Unfortunately, when it comes to engagement there is not a one size fits all solution.

For instance, if you’re a manager who loves football, engagement levels aren’t going to sore through the roof because you invited your team to a virtual football event. In fact, for many workers it can do the opposite.

Try and tune into who is in your team and what is going to spark their interest.

Check in with your team…

One of the ways you can get in tune with your team, what their interests are and how best they work is by checking in with them.

Communication. transparency and honesty are key.

Plan regular one on one catch ups with the members of your team and make sure you stick to them.

Make an effort to find out more about them, take an interest in the work they’re doing and be sure to engage in conversation!

Katie believes it’s all about bridging the gap between employer and employee, especially for remote workers. Being honest and transparent with your employees will keep communication channels active and make it more likely for employees to approach you with issues they may be facing. 

Find out more here…


Recognise your team…

Recognition is a great step to take in engaging your team.

A key contributor of burnout, that often leads to disengagement and high turnover, is when hard working employees feel like their current organisation doesn’t appreciate the work they do and offers nothing in the way of rewards and recognition.

Do you communicate to your team how they’re going to succeed at your organisation? Does each employee know their role, what is expected of them and how they can move to the next stage?

Paul manages another business which is a peer to peer social recognition tool – Fanclub Recognition. Paul’s tool encourages teams within organisations to shout about the great things that are happening and offers a platform to recognise and appreciate colleagues in a public way. 

Paul talks about how it’s helped his clients in the video below…


Encourage your team to chat!

That serendipitous conversation that your team may have had with one another while making a brew is non-existent right now.

But just because the team aren’t in the office, doesn’t mean they can’t catch up with each other and talk about things unrelated to work.

Make sure you’re encouraging that your team have these conversations.

Do you have weekly team catch up calls? Why not switch them up? Instead of making it about productivity and what has happened, why not make it more of a team building, fun catch up that is less about outputs and inputs.

Use feedback to make a better plan…

Sometimes, managers avoid asking for feedback from their team to avoid the vulnerability that can come with receiving negative feedback.

But managers, you need that feedback! If you don’t get feedback, how will you know for sure you’re doing things right or wrong?

Asking for feedback also shows your team that you value their opinion and that their feelings matter when it comes to driving the business further. A great engagement piece.

Many of the engagement tracking tools available allow the option for anonymous feedback – embrace it and use it to your advantage.

We recommend you check out these anonymous feedback tools – OfficeVibe, Vevox and Lattice.

Here’s some final thoughts from Paul: 

“If you are not sure that your internal comms is new-world-ready, then it probably isn’t. Now is the perfect time to review what worked in 2020 and how you are going to sustainably engage your new flexible working workforce.

The biggest trap employers fall into when they have remote or flexible workers is not maintaining meaningful comms. It’s no surprise that two-thirds of remote workers aren’t feeling engaged if half of them are getting no facetime with their leaders or teams.

Working remotely -autonomously, even- should not mean working alone, unsupervised or unsupported. Regular check-ins, clear targets and objectives, and transparency around company initiatives, decisions and changes are vital. Comms should be all-inclusive and two-way.

And if you want to know how your people are feeling about their new world, ask them! A simple survey with some carefully considered questions is a great place to start! Focus groups from a cross-section of functions can provide even more useful feedback. Going external for a deeper dig with fewer barriers and assured anonymity can often be beneficial here.

Make 2021 the year that you emerge from the unholy hell of a global pandemic with a kick-ass comms plan and set of digital, flexible channels and you will have yourself a happier, more engaged workforce. “ (You can find out more about Paul and The Comms Guru here.)

To get access to the full Workplace 2.0 webinar footage with Katie and Paul, click here.

Managers, what are you doing to keep engagement high? Where are you seeing success? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment below or tweet us @Revoco_Talent

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