How to Engage Your Virtual Workforce
Engaged employees tend to perform better, remain with their employers longer and enable organizations to innovate and maintain competitiveness. Most existing engagement programs rely on face-to-face interactions and perks in the office to get people fired up, so how does engaging employees look in the post-COVID-19 era?
One of the key questions for leaders is how they can effectively communicate with employees to激发员工体验。The way leaders communicate with their workforce can giveemployee engagementa much-needed boost, particularly when part or all of the workforce is working remotely.
First Step: Understand the Workforce
领导者需要深入了解他们的员工——他们是谁，他们的动力是什么，他们面临什么挑战，他们看重什么。有效employee listeningstrategies are a critical first step.
这种流行病也加速了同理心作为领导战略的重要性。由于COVID-19迫使人们在家工作，雇主不得不更全面地看待人们，承认他们的雇员也是他们所爱的人的父母、伴侣和照顾者。Zoom calls让经理们窥探了全世界员工的真实情况。各组织已经开始寻找方法，通过提供灵活性和满足护理人员的需求来支持员工生活的重要方面。改革势在必行：目前，大多数领导人都不知道改革的方向number of caregivers在他们的组织里。
Leaders are also starting to pay more attention topurposeful employment。你nger members of the workforce are voicing their growing concern over economic, sociopolitical, and environmental injustices: The newer generations expect that employers share these concerns and play an active role in addressing them. For example, a recent paper onESG趋势shows how contributing toward social good can make a company more attractive to talent. In response, leading companies are looking to improve outcomes formultiple stakeholders, not just shareholders.
Openness Goes a Long Way
Openness is an important strategy for buildingorganizational trust— employees want to be able to trust their leaders and, in turn, feel trusted. This sense of mutual trust has become even more necessary in a remote work setting.
More importantly, obscure and conflicting messages from leadership carry severe reputational risks. Employees expect transparent and truthful communication from the company leadership, especially during difficult times, such as during times of political or economic crises or organizational restructuring. Failure to meet this expectation risks exposures and backlashes — particularly with the advent of social media — which can leave crippling effects that may take companies years to recover from, if at all. One executive in our study noted: “Employees are making judgments about their employers based on what companies did or didn’t do during the crisis. Brands will be especially impacted. Some will come through this witha worse reputation。”
Employers need to foster an organizational culture of care: There is no business without a healthy workforce. Unfortunately,two out of three甚至在COVID-19之前，员工就已经感觉到了精疲力尽的危险，而这种流行病只会使情况恶化。
The message of care must be consistently at the center of employee communication — and even more so during times of crisis.
Leading organizations are taking steps to support the mental and physical health and well-being of their workforce. For example, many companies are accelerating the use of Employee Assistance Programs, developing employee health-monitoring apps, upgrading employee benefits, offering child care allowance or vaccination programs.
The message of care must be consistently at the center of employee communication — and even more so during times of crisis. The absence of care and empathy for employees from leadership will likely lead to productivity declines, behavior lapses and lower retention rates.
Be Mindful of Cultural Difference
例如,一位高管描述的困难in applying the employee engagement strategy developed in their Asian headquarters to major offices in Europe. In another instance, even when both the parent and the acquired company were based in Europe, significant differences in cultural practices and mindsets between the two led to unintended friction.
Therefore, leaders need to strike a balance between aligning communication and engagement initiatives across different office locations while taking care to respect local values.
Leverage Technology the Right Way to Enhance Communication
Digital tools and applications can speed up双向参与流程培养员工理解力，鼓励组织沟通。例如，许多公司正在举办由高级领导主持的虚拟“问我任何事”会议、虚拟市政厅和虚拟焦点小组讨论，允许员工在选择时匿名提问。
However, companies should watch out for over-emphasizing “tech” and not enough “touch.” Information collected via digital communication channels needs to be analyzed with a human mindset to shed light on employee voices and needs: A superficial scan of single data points or top-line results can lead to erroneous conclusions. Second, in rolling out digital communication strategies, companies should address the risks of data security and anonymity. Failing to abide by appropriate protocols may result in irreversible damage to organizational trust.
The pandemic brings an opportunity for companies to expedite their flexible work models, experiment with digital tools and realize engagement prospects that they didn’t think possible before. Organizations that take advantage of the headwind to renew and refresh how they engage with employees will reap dividends from a recharged and committed workforce.