With social distancing and more people working remotely, many of our clients have been asking,
- How do we keep our employees inspired and engaged in a virtual world?
- How do we help our leaders grow, develop and manage the complexity of a remote workforce?
- How do we keep people intrinsically motivated while social distancing?
For starters, to create an engaged, inspired and involved workforce means understanding the
difference between employee engagement and employee involvement.
It takes engagement and involvement
Employee engagement is the emotional commitment that employees have to an organization. Employee involvement occurs when the workforce actively participates by providing ideas and expertise to solve problems and to fulfil the mission of the business.
When the workforce is engaged and emotionally committed, they take ownership of their work. When employees are inspired and involved, they are actively participating, working collaboratively, solving problems, while creating a high-performance culture. As a leader, you want both.
In my book, REAL Leadership: Waken to Wisdom, creating an engaged and involved workforce
requires leaders to demonstrate 5-key behaviors:
1. Trust and transparency
2. Empowerment and value
3. Collaboration and alignment
4. Growth and development
5. Meaning and purpose
The cost of employee disengagement
When employees are uninspired, uninvolved and disengaged, they don’t put forth discretionary effort. They do exactly what they need to do to keep their job. They don’t add their ideas, they do not share their voice. As a leader, if you don’t create the foundation of engagement and involvement, a business or a team:
According to an article published on Linked-In, continual feedback is key to improving engagement and involvement. Creating a feedback culture starts with trust and transparency.
Trust and transparency is the foundation of an engaged and involved workforce
Trust and transparency are the foundation of creating an inspired, engaged and involved workforce. Without trust and transparency, there is no empowerment, alignment, or growth. It means your employees won’t find their job or their role meaningful and they won’t feel like they are making a worthwhile contribution. Therefore, they will withhold feedback and other pertinent information that could help your team and business thrive.
We trust people and products that we know
Start with developing a sense of belonging and community within your teams and your company. We don’t trust people we don’t know. We don’t trust products or services unless we feel we know the company or the brand. We don’t trust politicians unless we understand their behaviors and values. To increase trust, start with connection and belonging.
Covid-19 has changed the way we work together. We no longer have the opportunity to meet in the break room or have a quick exchange in the hallway. Even if we have part of our workforce at work, the social distancing aspect keeps people apart.
Take the time to bring people together to just talk
We sometimes underestimate the importance of just connecting with each other. Bring the team together to have a virtual coffee meeting, or a happy hour where people can talk about what’s happening in their lives or what is happening at their “desk”.
Have a set of questions ready that allows people to open up emotionally and tell their story of what is happening. This allows people to relate, creates empathy and compassion while building connection and trust.
It’s worth the time
Although we may have a thousand things on our desk, at Linceis we’ve found that the highest performing teams take the time to connect with each other. In March, right after the shut-down in most states occurred, we worked virtually with a financial services team who decided to be proactive rather than take a “wait and see” approach.
They took the time to talk through the personal challenges each member on the team was facing as a result of newly working remotely. This team laid out the work challenges they would face should the economy go into a recession. They talked about their personal fears and concerns and decided to be proactive.
Become relevant and necessary
To overcome their fear and overwhelm, this team decided they would be recognized as relevant and necessary to the business. As a team, they empowered themselves to become more engaged and involved. This simple commitment, to become recognized as relevant and necessary, gave the team meaning and purpose. It gave the team the motivation to work together to ensure their collective future rather than going into a “wait and see” mode.
Collaboration, Growth, and Empowerment
With the decision to become recognized as relevant and necessary, the team started to collaborate more. They challenged each other in healthy ways, and together they began to grow and develop by teaching one another.
Every week they have a virtual happy hour to talk about their home challenges.
Given the challenges everyone faced with working from home, they decided to have their happy hour during traditional work hours. As a result, their conversations took on a different tone, a more humane tone about balancing work hours with family hours. The conversations provided deep understanding and empathy because everyone faced similar challenges.
The happy hour conversations became best practice sessions to solve work and home challenges. This led to collaboration, alignment and generated new solutions to old problems. On Mondays, they have a virtual coffee hour to kick-off the week, dogs and kids allowed.
The Monday coffee sessions, evolved into priority setting. The team collectively decided who does what to ensure they remained relevant and necessary. Every two months, we work with the team doing a pulse survey, micro- learning and team coaching to ensure the team continues to develop a high-performing culture.
The results: within 2-months of this team becoming more engaged and involved, the worldwide
leadership team of this Fortune 200 company made this team’s solutions part of the global strategy.
Break the rules
In the past, there was an unwritten rule about being professional at work which meant leaving anything personal behind. Break that rule, create a personal connection. It is one of the most powerful ways to improve engagement, involvement and inspiration. The connection is the foundation for psychological safety.
When people feel connected they have more courage to manage healthy conflict and listen to differing views. Take the time to create personal connections. Reach out and just chat from one human being to another. As a leader, this type of openness is rewarded with trust in you.
To create an engaged and involved workforce requires trust and transparency, empowerment, collaboration, growth and development, with meaning and purpose. I will leave you with the following questions to consider,
- What are your strengths with developing trust and transparency? What can you do to build on
- What additional steps can you take to improve connection, trust and transparency? If you take
these steps what will be the positive outcome?
Don’t Miss This
During our October 20, Lunch with Linceis webinar, we will be exploring Leadership Soulology; Why
leading from the heart matters. During our November 17, Lunch with Linceis webinar, we will explore
ways increased empowerment for improved results.
If you would like to measure the level of engagement and involvement in your organization, or if you
would like team or individual coaching, please reach out to me for a conference call