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Rules of Engagement in the New World

Dec 23, 2020

Without a doubt, there’s a major shift in the way we connect with our employees in this digital era. It’s interesting to see how the rules of engagement have evolved and the new ones are introduced to seamlessly integrate into your work culture.

At the end of 2020, it would be safe to say that the world as we knew it has changed forever. This is particularly so in the corporate world, where remote working has become the new normal, among organisations across the country. While working from home has found favour among the larger section of the corporate talent pool, particularly among people who work in cubes, for most women, individual contributors, those living with young children, and those living alone, there is a very real downside to this, which we cannot afford to ignore.

In a recent survey on mental health conducted by LinkedIn, an alarming 60% of Indian professionals admitted to feeling lonely while working remotely. Amidst this revelation, the business leaders, need to act with a sense of urgency, to ensure our employees’ well-being is given its due importance. It’s a well-known fact, that if your employees are engaged, and happy, they will be motivated to work harder, and in turn deliver great results. 

Employee engagement, as the practice is better known, stems from simple principles and practices. In order to build an empowering culture for your employees, a good place to start would be at the grass-root levels. Albeit seemingly simple, in our experience, we have often found this to be easier said than done; but definitely not impossible. The goal is to inspire our people to bring out commitment to the organisation, and build a workforce that believes in your values, and works towards the same goal as a family. 

Without a doubt, there’s a major shift in the way we connect with our employees in this digital era. It’s interesting to see how the rules of engagement have evolved and the new ones are introduced to seamlessly integrate into your work culture. These rules of engagement are the best fit for this New World we’re all a part of. These rules are based on research conducted by BI WORLDWIDE.

  1. Make it personal

A personalised work experience really paves the way for interest and engagement to materialise. As a manager, getting to know your employees on a personal level is a great way to show them that you care, and are invested in understanding them. If you engage with them over a phone call or a text, go beyond talking about work and inquire about their health and wellbeing. Conduct a virtual event with your employees where everyone gets together and interacts with each other, feeling a sense of belonging and connection. By showing your employees that you care, they will be motivated to work along with you to achieve larger goals.

  1. Make money a non-issue

If you, as an organisation are able to pay your employees fair wages, money takes a backseat in the engagement process and becomes a non-issue. We do understand that today, there is a very real struggle to find the balance between being financially stable and ensuring fair pay. In fact, in BI WORLDWIDE’s 12 New Rules of Employee Engagement research study, we found that 47% of employees felt a financially stable organisation is more important now than ever before. When your employees are in a financially comfortable position, their stress levels naturally drop, and their productivity is clearly evident. 

  1. Help them thrive

Employee wellness has always been an important part of ensuring their productivity is at a high. However, amidst the uncertainty brought about by the pandemic, we see this becoming more of an issue today. Per our research, emotional health in itself, can predict over 25% of changes in commitment and 20% of changes in inspiration. As managers and leaders, the onus is on us to make our employees feel safe within the organisation, and ensure they have the right tools and resources that can help them overcome any difficulties.

  1. Realise their potential

Employees feel motivated when they are encouraged to learn and develop new skills in the workplace. Give your employees these opportunities, and allow them to grow, both at a personal and a professional level, to inspire them to give in their best. Even in the current situation, if they aren’t physically present at work, make digital learning accessible to employees across various platforms. In fact, just about 53% of employees feel that their employer provides both the chance to develop skills that are relevant to their jobs and relevant to them as employees.  Understand what each employee aspires for in the near future and what would aid their professional growth, the best. Accordingly, pick programs that would benefit them and let them learn, both individually and as teams, as they would in a physical set-up.

  1. Foster belonging

In its very essence, fostering belonging among employees implies making them feel like they are a part of the organisation. Exceptional work happens when employees feel they belong with their organisation, their team, and their work. To foster a strong bond and sense of belonging, meet your employees halfway by offering them what they want and need. Starbucks’ Bean Stock program, wherein employees can earn shares of the company is a great example of how their organisational structure is designed to promote inclusivity and make them feel like a part of the family.

  1. Be boldly transparent

Employees who feel their leaders are transparent are more likely to be committed and loyal to the organisation. Authenticity in communication can make all the difference, and we highly encourage this as a best practice in operations. In our experience at BI WORLDWIDE, we have seen that when you communicate openly, no matter how good or bad the news, employees respect you, and feel inspired to work alongside you to overcome the hurdles and lead the organisation to new heights. A positive development in this space though, is that 63% of employees admitted that they had been given the opportunity to be heard out by their leaders, a trend which must continue in the long run.

  1. Give meaning to their work

While there are several factors that can impact your employees’ efforts, giving meaning to their work is of prime importance. By showing them the larger picture, and making them understand how their work fits into the mission of the organisation, they will be more inspired to work hard.

  1. Envision their future

Your employees must be able to see a future for themselves within the organisation. We found that in the case of employees who know what their promotion plans are, 57% of them are more committed to their jobs. Hence we need to create opportunities within the company for all-round growth.

  1. Magnify their success

Periodic pats on the back (virtually, of course), and appreciation can go a long way in keeping your employees inspired to work better, and put in more efforts. Employees who receive a written recognition are 2x more likely to feel inspired, and in cases where they bag an exciting incentive, it raises their motivation levels by 8x.

  1. Unite them

Collaboration is more than just a buzzword. Among our surveyed employees, 50% felt that they would more likely feel isolated at work when a strong sense of teamwork is lacking. Particularly today, while working remotely, we need to go the extra mile to promote seamless communication through technology. We should also encourage sharing among employees, in order to facilitate a collaborative culture.

  1. Let them lead

Leading doesn’t necessarily have to be from the top. Leadership also means empowering your junior-most resources to take the lead and wholly own their ideas. During a survey con we found that when organisations encourage their employees to take risks and pursue new ideas, it resulted in 13.7x higher levels of inspiration, among teams.

  1. Challenge them

When employees feel challenged, they feel a sense of pride, and that’s the culture we should be promoting. For example, when you set goals for employees, ensure that there are smaller ones leading up to a larger goal, so they feel challenged and are inspired to do more at every step to achieve the ultimate goal. This, of course, needs to go hand in hand with rewards and recognition where other employees and team members appreciate their success and engage with them, while you as a leader reward them for their excellence. Over the years, we have seen that 57% of employees are more committed to their jobs when they feel they are challenged, hence we strongly recommend making every moment count, and keeping your employees challenged, and inspired to meet these challenges.

As seen, employee engagement amidst remote working is the need of the hour, if we are to maintain a high level of productivity, for business continuity. In the long run, implementing such practices has the potential to reap rich dividends, and holds the key to emerging victorious amidst the challenges faced by organisations across the board.

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