Organizations like ours and yours must continuously work hard to provide employees with an environment that allows them to thrive – whatever that may look like. Whilst the methods might have changed over time, there are four pillars which employers can use to engage their people in the most effective way.
You guessed it, connection!
Whilst the adoption of virtual connectivity has enabled us to continue and expand our face-to-face communication, I think we all agree that it’s important to balance that human need for connection within the workplace.
It’s quite simple to boost engagement and that sense of togetherness through regular ‘town hall’ sessions either at company, team, or department level. Communicate not only where your business is but where you are going, celebrate life events and recognize work achievements, laugh, inspire, and ask for opinions – but most importantly, remind people that they belong.
However, on the flipside of connection is timeout, and it’s just as important. Encourage your employees to book their virtual meetings as they would in-person meetings. Try to keep calls to 45 minutes and allow time for both lunch and breaks. This not only allows time to attend to yourself but also to reset before and after meetings, so you arrive at each meeting prepared.
Flow is a mental state of focused attention that helps employees feel like they can achieve the challenging tasks ahead of them, helping them be effective and creating a sense of personal achievement. This state is proven to lead to optimal performance both mentally and physically, contributing to both the growth of employees and our personal sense of satisfaction. The benefits of employees engaged in meaningful work they enjoy is well documented. What can you do to foster a flow state?
Offering flexibility goes a long way in recognizing and respecting the personal rhythms of your employees, allowing them the opportunity to better control their time and energy to suit their best performance. The result is employees who not only feel supported and balanced outside of work but who are also performing at their best in work.
Continued learning and development can provide a boost to both your self-confidence and self-esteem, help build a sense of purpose, foster connection with others and increase your ability to cope with stress. The sense of achievement gained from setting and working towards goals, the increased sense of reliance and competency from building out your skill set, and the direction provided by a mentor, can equip you with some of the tools needed to achieve that sense of ‘flow’.
Balancing energy levels
We all know the stark difference between breezing through your day operating at full power and the hard slog of feeling thoroughly depleted. How can you support your employees and ensure their energy levels are balanced?
Encouraging physical activity, even short bursts of activity such as a 10-minute brisk walk can increase our energy levels, promote a positive mood, and improve mental alertness. Whilst many businesses encourage physical activities through their benefits providers, there are also much smaller everyday activities you can promote such as a walking meeting, lunchtime running or yoga clubs and cycle to work schemes.
We all recognize the health benefits of a balanced diet and the positive effect on your wellbeing, but it is also important to recognize the mood boosting effect of eating with other people. As an employer this could be ensuring boundaries around mealtimes, encouraging employees to step away from their desk and use communal spaces to have lunch with their colleagues, or finish in time on an evening to enjoy dinner with family or friends.
Don’t forget to rest! Rest and relaxation is not just something for holidays and weekends but an essential pillar of health. Support your employees by providing access to mindfulness sessions and apps, hosting sleep hygiene events and time management courses. There is nothing more disruptive to a good night’s sleep than checking your work email before bed.
The power of giving
The act of giving, through either a financial donation or volunteering, activates a part of our brains related to trust, connection, and positivity. It often takes us out of ourselves and provides us with new perspectives, having an immediate beneficial effect on our wellbeing and engagement.
What can this look like in your organization? Could you encourage everyone across the business to be involved in fundraising in whatever capacity they can offer? They may choose to raise funds for your corporate charity partner, a local charity, or one close to their hearts. You could run companywide events as well as challenging each team to choose a fundraising activity they can do together, and give each employee a charity day to do it.
Or alternatively utilize volunteering programmes. Can you allow your people to physically or virtually support charities with their requirements? You can make this a regular arrangement through your people’s designated charity day.
Let’s wrap up!
Engagement levels will naturally ebb and flow and look different to every person within your organization. The important thing to remember is that the little, day-to-day habits will stack up long-term, and by providing your people with the tools to empower themselves, your business will ultimately benefit too.