How Leaders Can Improve Remote Employee Engagement In Uncertain Times

As a leader, you may feel like your employee’s personal lives are affecting their job performance. You’re probably right. These are stressful times. And your employees’ ways of coping may include going numb because s/he can’t take any more bad news or overworking. Thus they don’t have to think about surviving the double whammy of a global pandemic and economic recession.

Like all coping mechanisms, they aren’t long term fixes. Most people lack awareness of choice during stressful times and that allows leaders to support employees and business productivity.

Since you were trained to keep business and personal matters separate, that’s what you encourage your team to do. Logically your choice makes sense. In reality, your team may quietly resent you for that choice.

Over the last decade, studies have shown that employees want to be seen as “whole people” at work and have employers partner in their well-being. Under prolonged stress and fatigue, people lose the ability to focus, miss important details, and are more likely to make costly mistakes.

Remote working, Laptop

There are many ways for leaders and managers to improve employee well-being and engagement to secure productivity and business outcomes:

Focus on employee output and not hours worked

You hired talented professionals and keep them informed of deadlines and deliverables. In these challenging times, people need more flexibility and support to get through life.

The company that has managers demonstrating their trust and support through consistent two-way employee communication has a more dedicated and resilient workforce.

Remind managers to show employees that they are trusted and value

This means “micromanagement”, activity and time tracking apps, and expectations for being responsive to email, Slack, or text at all hours have to be dialed back clearly and consistently.

Nothing says my boss doesn’t trust or value me faster than being asked why you take so many bathroom breaks.

Encourage socialization to replace watercooler and coffee chats.

10-minute daily calibration meetings can help people feel more connected on project teams

Virtual happy hour on Fridays can help the team catch up on relationship building that requires so much more effort when working remotely

Daily check-in team meetings like 15-minute stand-up team meetings at the start of the day help teams clarify their “To-Do” list and resolve communication breakdowns.

Encourage sharing personal wins and requests for help in weekly staff meetings

Communicate like you never have before.

Leaders can build trust by affirming their commitment to doing what’s right and making decisions, business strategies, and taking action that reflects the commitment.

Leaders must frequently clarify the organization’s mission and direction

This helps managers establish priorities.

Implement a plan to support your managers’ well-being and work/life balance.

The most recent survey shows managers are losing confidence in their leadership and have worse work-life balance than in the prior month. Taking time to improve managers yields powerful business returns as engaged managers motivate employees and accelerate business results

Remote working, Laptop

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