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Engaging with Talent against the Backdrop of Lockdown and Job Cuts, and Slow Economy



This pandemic has somehow succeeded in establishing that even complex economies can sustain with remote working, if only, we invest in the right technologies. Ironically, it was in the early 1990’s, when Jacques Attali, a French economist predicted remote working to be an integral part of our existence.


According to a recent report by SAC Concur about 88% of the Indian workforce prefers the flexibility that work from home allows. Foreseeing a long-term impact left behind by the lockdown effect, organizations have now started exploring the possibilities of hybrid workplaces. Of course, while prioritizing the safety of their workforce and adhering to the norms of social distancing. As companies adapt their modus operandi with a digital first approach, the kind of communications being relayed internally, must also undergo a transformation. 


Here are a few trends that organizations globally are embracing to ensure that the productivity as well as the performance levels of their employees remain directly proportional. 


Inculcating a sense of learning

A classic example of engaging employees is to empower them with opportunities to learn and upskill themselves. Be it through e-learning modules or with corporate association on platforms like Coursera and Udemy. 


Leyland has managed to successfully engage 9,000 of its employees, and their families during the lockdown. Their strategy? Integrating gamification across an array of tech platforms. They have released pre-curated training videos with the senior leadership, as well as collaborated with a virtual learning provider for employees to nurture their skills at their own pace.


Attempt virtual bonding

“Motivating employees to work at their full potential is the main premise of successful management.” – Eraldo Banovac

The COVID-crisis has indeed transformed workplaces and mindsets and the only way to fight this is to ‘make the new normal work’. Right from virtual hiring to digitalized onboarding, Indian companies have been compelled to rethink their business models. 

Off late, there is a great rise in virtual sessions – Musical galas, tête-à-têtes with the CEO, an interactive online quiz session, or talent shows. Social media is buzzing with the virtual yoga sessions and happiness challenges organized by their companies. Organizations are also hosting gaming competitions and virtual luncheons for their employees to ensure that the team-bonding and collaboration remains at an all-time high! 


Building a safe work environment, at home

The lockdown effect can lead into a sense of isolation. And as employee well-being takes centre stage, driving effective employee engagement becomes critical. Apart from prioritizing health and safety, companies are also redefining their work from home policies as well as their employee perks and benefits. 


Deloitte India hosts webinars that imparts parenting tips on how to keep your children engaged while you work from home. This is indeed the time to revive the organizational values and encourage employees to speak up. Introduce an Employee Assistance Program that provides online counselling or helps provide employees with a platform to voice their concerns. 


Retention integrated with recognition

Are you aware about Maslow’s Theory Of Needs? Recognition is a basic human need. And personally, have always believed that the foundation of employee motivation lies in recognition. Its not about being told that you are doing a good job that makes people ‘happy’ or ‘proud’. Its simply the fact that their hard work and efforts are being noticed, despite the distance. 

One of the best ways to keep remote teams connected is to foster a culture of peer recognition. Value cheques or customized e-cards that can be shared with a personalized message for colleagues, are simple and effective mediums that speak volumes and create a lasting impact. 


Lastly, maintaining consistency in communication. 

In the current times, one aspect that becomes integral, is branding. Be it communication that goes out to external stakeholders, or weekly manager updates to the internal driving force. Maintaining transparency is integral. With the rising levels of frustrations of being confined at home, engagement can no longer remain a ‘nice-to-have’ feature. Now, more than ever it has to evolve into a ‘need-to-have’ initiative. 


As a leader, the best thing that you can do is encourage your people to learn something new. Connect with them more often and provide constant assurance. They need to hear it from you. Participate in activities with them, nurture their sense of belonging and provide genuine appreciation more often. Give them a reason to feel proud of being associated with your brand, and engagement will follow. 


Remote working is the new future in a post-pandemic world and its high time to create a qualitatively holistic, inclusive, and emotionally intelligent employee experience. 


This article first appeared on VOICE of The Entrepreneurs

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