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Engagement is a vital ingredient in creating a positive workplace culture however in times of upheaval and disruption it is easy to forget the importance of the team around us.

Engagement is being involved and invested in the team you are in. It requires an attentive focus and an active willingness to work towards the goals of the team.

Imagine having a team of employees that are completely engaged with their role and in the business. Now envision the culture of the organisation with all employees engaged.

According to Deloitte, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, an estimated 2.7 billion people, or more than four out of five workers in the global workforce, have been affected by lockdowns and stay-at-home measures. Given these statistics, it is no wonder we may be noticing a lack of connection and engagement within the workplace which is why I decided to write this article with some simple tools to help you keep your team connected and feeling valued by you their manager, leader or business owner. Now more than ever we need to embrace those around us. In order to survive these times, and we will, we need to do it together.

1. Team Development

CFO says to the CEO: “What if we train staff and they leave?”

CEO responds: “What if we don’t and they stay!”

You will find career growth, opportunity and challenge in many articles by industry professionals and scholars as three leading reasons why employees stay with an organisation. Staff like to learn to be better at what they do. The more you upskill staff, the better they will perform for you. Thus, regularly educating and training staff will lead to improved performance and a more positive work culture.

A fundamental part of improving a team’s culture is to help everyone better understand themselves, the role they play within the team and importantly each other which is why team development is a highly effective tool to re-engage your workplace team collectively.

There are many team development tools available and believe me they do not need to break the budget. This could be as simple as revisiting your company purpose as a means of reconnection and alignment. However, if you are looking for something slightly more controlled; then a team building workshop can offer a customised solution designed to address your team’s learning requirements in a fun and engaging environment.

2. Team Building

A well planned and executed team building program will not only lift the energy of your team but allow individuals to experience each other outside of the normal office atmosphere. This creates an environment where employees feel empowered to contribute ideas and thoughts freely, and leaders can effectively relate and communicate to all their staff.

Team Building can be delivered in many different formats from face to face, virtual or hybrid depending on your current workplace circumstances. It doesn’t need to be a complex project either; a simple Friday night trivia or daily Whatsapp group that drives engagement is enough to see a positive change in your workplace culture.

If you are looking to couple re-engagement with specific outcomes then a more structured option such as professionally facilitated team building event is an investment worth your while.

3. Encourage Team work

Team work is a principal driver of engagement; simply by spending time together, sharing an experience or working towards a common goal encourages bonding to happen and a sense of belonging to return.

Providing opportunity for teamwork is key to success here. Create small project teams that involve staff interested in that project even if it is outside of their general area of employment. Focus these projects around the future of the business and allocate time for these teams to work on them. You just never know what new ideas and innovations will develop.

If resources and time cannot support new projects then try partnering staff up on existing developments to create an environment that inspires team work. Consider how you can promote shared decision -making, group collaboration and incidental communication.  

4. Make Technology an Asset

As I am sure you are all well aware, we have seen a major shift in the way we interact in a working environment.   With most teams working remotely it has never been more important to have a reliable online platform to stay connected whilst working to maintain a positive workplace environment. But with so many platforms available to us all boasting amazing features, which is the right one for your team? (Blog alert: Zoom Vs Microsoft Teams Vs Webex)

This is why choosing the right cocktail of digital assets to support your team is so crucial in re-engaging a post COVID workforce. Finding the right balance between when to use a chat forum like slack, a video platform like zoom or simply picking up the phone can be the difference between team confusion and team success.

They key here is education, guidance and of course common sense. Choose your handful of digital assets (one to support each form of communication- verbal, written and visual) and set best practice on when to use each. Furthermore, ensure your team are comfortable with each platform and its features so no one feels un-prepared to communicate with their peers with ease.

5. Recognition

Making an effort to celebrate employee achievements and milestones can go a long way in boosting morale and engagement. So much so that 70% of employees say that their motivation and morale would improve massively with managers saying thank you more (Reward Gateway study).

From a work perspective, recognise employee efforts and achievements through simple gestures such as feedback and company awards. In our current world, something as simple as saying ‘thank you’ lets an employee know that they are performing in their role and their efforts are appreciated.

From a personal perspective, get to know the wedding anniversaries, children’s birthdays, individual birthdays and other personal milestones of your team members. Make an effort to acknowledge and celebrate these. Surprise them with a morning tea or a home delivered cake for those working remotely with instructions on what time to log on to a virtual party in their honour. It’s a small effort for the reward it will provide.

As we move into a post-COVID recovery world, team leaders will be critical to enriching, maintaining, measuring and adapting re-engagement techniques to once again create a thriving workplace culture.