Caring for Your Team: 9 Tips to Employee Engagement
As we move into the fall and 6 months into the pandemic, I’m hearing more and more from people that their energy is starting to wane, exhaustion is common and zoom feels so… yesterday. People are tired and worn out, and need to know that you care. Managers, this is the time to be hyper-aware of your team members’ engagement, and to manage expectations.
Your team members are not going to be 100% engaged all the time, and you have to be okay with that. All are dealing with distractions, video conferencing and young kids trying to home school, and their attention will often need to be elsewhere. Work with them to create the best balance possible to support them as well as your business. Here are some tips around engagement to have your team be as productive as they can.
Challenge: Maintain visibility into team and individual workflows.
Create shared online work spaces through tools like Slack, Google docs, shared calendars. If you have gaps with some folks needing to tend to home-schooling, make them an opportunity for everyone to cross-train, helping others with projects. The whole team wins.
Maintain constant contact. Don’t get so busy that you go dark. And the same goes for your team members. Ensure they lift their heads up to connect, even for a quick Slack hello.
Hold regular meetings. But not so many that the team gets fatigued. There’s a propensity to do things the same old way – with perhaps more touch-points than needed. Pay attention to your team members and communicate with them about meeting cadence.
Challenge: Ensure all team members feel connected.
Foster a sense of team. Send your team members a coffee card since you can’t all go out for coffee right now.
Announce awards, shout outs in meetings. Keep the connections by letting folks know the successes of their peers.
Post pictures. There is a bit of fatigue around activities, so pictures might be easier. Do baby pictures, pet pictures, home office set-ups. All bring team members a bit closer by understanding what each other’s lives are like.
Hold personal check-ins rather than just work. Discuss hobbies, interests, or family at least once a week.
Refresh the team on video/phone conference etiquette. The same rules apply from home – even more so now. Things like muting when not speaking, appropriate dress (no PJs, no matter how comfy), don’t multi-task calls.
Challenge: Ensure all are communicated to.
Use multiple channels for communication. Gain agreement on your team of what tool to use when. The rule of thumb is, the more important/impactful the topic, the closer it should be to face-to-face.
Slack/Text - urgent questions, informal discussions, real time info sharing, individual or team accomplishment highlights
E-Mail - daily/weekly progress updates, non-urgent questions, individual or team accomplishment highlights
Phone/Video Conferencing - 1-1 meetings, any situation where tone could be misconstrued when put in written form, real time info sharing (brainstorming, decision making), urgent issues, formal discussions on project progress, development needs, recent successes
Video Conferencing - delivery of difficult messages, use as often as you can with team meetings, monitoring team morale
Eventually, In Person - initial team meetings, recurring team meetings for team building, connection
Managers: you are the team’s LINK to the company. Let them know what is going on in different offices, on different teams, in these different times. It will help reduce stress levels and maintain connection.