One of the most fundamental lessons we have learned as a society throughout this pandemic is that in times of crisis, we have an amazing ability to adapt. The challenges we have faced over the past year have truly tested our ability to be agile and flexible and have shown us the importance of mobilizing our employees. At the peak of the pandemic, many organizations were functioning in “crisis mode”, leaving little time to engage their employees. As we begin to recuperate, we now have more time to reflect on what we could have done differently and what we can do moving forward. Here are five tips to help you mobilize your employees and keep them engaged, reflecting on what we have learned over the past few months.
Make well-being a priority
The past year has been more taxing and draining than most. While well-being should always be a priority, it is arguably one of the most important factors in ensuring that your employees remain engaged and mobilized. Take the extra time to check in with them. Make sure that they are not only keeping their heads above water, but that they are on a steady path to recovery. Keep the conversation going and support those in need.
Ensure that your employees have the right resources
For employees to maintain engagement, especially in times of crisis, they need to have access to the resources required to perform. Given the many changes we have experienced, essential resources may have changed and may continue to change over time. Resources may come in the form of time, money, supplies, technology, knowledge, information, or support. Make sure to check in with your employees regularly to make sure that they have what they need to carry out their responsibilities.
Focus on (re)building trust
Trust is at the root of all our relationships and is a foundational piece of leadership. However, as a result of functioning in crisis mode, it is likely that mistakes have been made and trust may have been diminished along the way. It is not too late! Work on rebuilding and re-establishing your trust with others. Though the act of rebuilding trust is certainly easier said than done, the first step in repairing any damage done is to admit where you fell short and make genuine and visible steps to fixing any hardship.
Communicate, communicate, and communicate!
After a long period of ambiguity, the best way to ensure that your employees remain engaged and mobilized is to communicate. While this time of ambiguity has brought about many questions and concerns, do your best to be proactive in your communication. If you have information you feel is valuable or important for others to know, make sure you communicate it in a timely and appropriate manner. This will also help to rebuild trust.
Maintain a sense of connection
In times when many of us are remote or isolated, maintaining a sense of connection will help build morale and increase engagement. While it is easy to connect at the push of a button via video chat, try to think outside of the box. Many of us are online all day and crave connection through other means. Organize an after-work event that does not require gazing at a screen. Try a virtual paint night, a cooking class, or a book club. Even better, get everyone moving with some friendly competition and organize a walking competition.
In sum, employee engagement and mobilization can be challenging on a good day. In times of crisis, it can be even more difficult. Take this challenge as an opportunity to create even more commitment and resilience among your team and colleagues. Keep these five tips in mind as you make your way towards engaging and mobilizing your team. However, remember that before you can move forward, it is important to look back. Take some time to reflect on where you may have made mistakes and what you can do to learn from these and move forward in a positive way.