COVID-19 has accelerated many business transformations. And one of the major functions affected is the human resources (HR) management. From keeping the employees safe to facilitating flexible policies and remote working infrastructure, HR professionals have their hands full. Not to mention keeping the employees engaged, as that has always been the topmost priority for the HR professionals.
For example, until recently, the HR professionals banked on employees group events—be it get together, tournaments, birthday celebrations or picnics—to build team bonding and enthuse and engage. With social distancing and remote working here to stay, how can companies achieve these goals?
Here I would like to draw attention to the real meaning of the term engagement. “Employee engagement is the extent to which employees feel passionate about their jobs and are committed to the organization.” And for that, it really does not matter how many events are organized or where the person is working from. So, what matters? Here is my take:
Communicating vision, values, and goals- often
If the team members have a clear idea about the company's goals and strategies, it is far more likely that they can handle the stresses and make effort to connect and understand. This is where the HR team plays a vital role. Right from hiring through the entire journey, the company’s vision, values, and goals should be communicated as frequently and articulately as possible.
Showing the bigger
I am always reminded of the story of three masons who were building a structure. When a passer-by asked the first mason what he was building, the mason replied, “Oh, I am just carrying the logs back and forth and earning my day's bread." The second mason replied, “I am hammering the nails to keep the logs together." And the third one replied, “You see, we are building a grand church here where people will come and find peace.”
When people are working remotely, even getting on-boarded remotely, how would they learn about the company, its culture and build a deeper connect? It is through the stories they hear. Talking about the nights spent cracking that complicated code; huddling together for days at end to meet a customers' deadline; talking about how the team waded through the chaos and delivered a world-class project; the feeling of pride when a client demo’ed the team’s work in front of the key decision-makers.
Celebrate success. A project closed; a win; a skill gained. Take a moment to make people feel appreciated
Being online is not being present. It is vital that the managers, mentors, and HR teams are always available to solve a problem, guide, and help the team members navigate through, not just work, but these extra-ordinary trying times where everyone is learning to cope in the unique situation.
With people working from home more, we may not be able to walk down the hall, stop by someone’s desk and ask: “Hey, how’re you doing?” So, it becomes even more critical that we communicate, be present, and show that we care. And that, IMHO would keep the employees engaged.
Ruchika is Advaiya's Chief Operating Officer, responsible for managing the company's business operations, executing business strategy and ensuring operational excellence company-wide. She is also responsible for overall brand development and marketing initiatives. In addition to that, she leads employee effectiveness team at Advaiya working across the company to establish and execute strategy for talent acquisition, performance management and compensation schemes.
Earlier in her career, she acquired years of experience working across aviation, textiles, engineering and technology companies. Ruchika attended the International Institute of Professional Studies, where she received her Master's in Management Science with HRD as the subject of specialization, and received her diploma in HRD from Academy of Human Resource Department.