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How to Maintain Engagement in the Workplace

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It's no surprise that 2020 has been a unique year for all of us, no matter what industry we are in. It has not only impacted the business and the market, but also our people and our teams. Keeping engagement alive during a pandemic has not been easy. Zoom happy hours have dwindled in participation and virtual activities show a decline. Though some offices are partially open, it’s the stale feeling of not being able to shake your co-worker's hand or share a beer at happy hour that puts people in a mood. So, how do we do it? How do we keep a culture alive and engaged when things are just not the same? And how do we plan for the future not knowing what will happen?

Here at PowerChord, we have been asking those same questions. Our People and Culture team has been working hard to understand what we need for our employees and how to best support them to keep them engaged in the workplace. We wanted to share a little piece of that with you, and maybe it can help!

1. Adapt to the Unexpected. 

We have worked diligently planning for the next year, understanding what our months will look like, what our activities will look like both virtually and in person, so we can take on the year prepared and ready. Though we don’t expect to be fully back in the office in 2021, there is potential to have more teams with face to face interaction depending on how our government Covid plans pan out. We want to make sure we are ready for both scenarios. Some examples of activities we have or plan to do:

a.     Painting with a Twist virtually

b.     Virtual cocktail making class

c.     Lunch and Learns using GrubHubs meal ordering delivery (it will go to each person individually!)

d.     Virtual health fair

e.     Virtual Yoga or Workout sessions

2.     Relook at your Benefits.

a. PTO: I am not sure why, but the mindset of using PTO during a pandemic has seemed to throw people off. You don’t have to go anywhere, but if you have a vacation we are encouraging people to use it. Mental breaks are so good for the mind, and to get away from work to just relax and focus on other things is a necessity for most. With that, we have also extended our PTO carryover for those who choose not to use it, because they have not been able to take those trips they had planned or had to reschedule something for later in the year.

b. EAP: Offer an Employee Assistant Program. This is great to help drive employees to call and ask for help when they feel they need it. Some employees feel great talking to family, friends, and colleagues; but what about those who don’t? This resource has helped numerous employees and continues to do so every day.

c. Flex Scheduling: We understand that our teams have lives outside of work, so we want to help them to live those lives the best way possible. Yes, we have work to do and we encourage hard work everyday… but not in the traditional sense. Work-life balance is so important, so managing that is a priority for us and our teams. You need to leave early today and stay late tomorrow? That is okay. Understanding that we have a lot of people who need the extra 30 minutes in the morning to set up virtual learning for their kindergartner, or who don’t want to come in for an in-person meeting because they have their 90-year-old father to take care of means something to us. Being flexible is so important and having flex schedules is a great benefit to our teams.

3. Over Communicate. 

We generally do a monthly all-hands meeting, but lately, we have added an extra meeting into the mix to bring some good news, happenings, and other info about the company briefly to the team. It lets them know we care. It is the only time during the month where the whole team is together, so it helps to keep that collaboration and spirit up.

4. Survey Your Team. 

Really, how IS your team doing? Gauging employee thoughts and feelings towards the events of today is very important. It helps you to keep a pulse on what is going with them and their teams. We have a variety of team members who handle scenarios differently. Keeping that in mind, we try to do our best to focus on the things the team wants to hear and see so the focus can be for them. It is easy to get lost in the world around us, so keeping a safe space as your work environment is KEY to stay focused.

5. Train Your Leaders. 

Now is the perfect time to focus on training and retraining your leaders. How they handle scenarios moving forward will impact your teams tremendously. Re-teach them about engagement, coaching, adaptability, and remind them it is okay to be flexible. Check out our next post about The Power of Training Your leaders to see more on how this can positively influence your team!

written by

Evan Waechter

Evan Waechter is Director of People and Culture and a contributing columnist to the PowerChord blog. Evan loves to problem solve. She even does puzzles for fun.

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