COVID19 and quarantine culture have fundamentally changed how we work individually and how we collaborate with our teams. We were not prepared for it, but it happened. And this point, we have even stopped complaining about remote work and embraced working from home by establishing new norms.
The phrase ‘work hard party harder’ too has got a new definition as our lives are now being reflected through screens. With social distancing being the new normal, virtual house parties and work from home are some of the practices we are getting used to. Not only this but also people have found solace in connecting via applications. Whether it is content creation applications such as TikTok and Instagram, or video conferencing ones such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, interacting is now a few taps away, rather than a few steps.
Employee Engagement too becomes a challenge in this new COVID19 world. HR departments and organizations as a whole need to understand how they can plug in the best of employee engagement activities by adhering to the new world order as we battle out the coronavirus.
In this pandemic-ridden world, communication has found newer and better ways. As the young explore unique techniques, older consumers are also discovering some of those modern ways of communication that they had simply ignored or actively shunned so far. There is a visible change in the way we interact, with communication moving away from desktops and laptops to mobile phones.
Mobile phones have been essential to our existence ever since the iPhone ushered in smartphones in 2007. However, in this era of COVID19, they have also become a useful tool in turning around business communication. Mobile phones have opened multiple avenues of creation and communication, thus leaving room for innovation in employee engagement techniques as well.
From social media usage to mobile websites and even app versions, all our communication is going mobile. It’s high time we tapped on its energy too apart from its screens, and channelize it in employee engagement.
What is Employee Engagement?
To delve further into a mobile-centric world of COVID19 and how it can be used to create unique employee engagement, we need to understand what exactly employee engagement is. To understand employee engagement, we have to first clarify who is an engaged employee.
An engaged employee is one who is totally absorbed in work and is well-versed with the organization’s vision, mission, and policies, to the tune of imbibing its ethics. He or she is highly motivated and is enthusiastic about work as a whole.
Continuing, employee engagement ideas or employee engagement activities are those activities which are conducted by the organization with the sole aim to engage the employees. These activities are directed towards syncing employee’s personal goals with that of the organization so that they are constantly motivated.
This elevates their productivity and keeps them in high spirits. Employee engagement activities should be conducted at regular intervals and with unique perspectives so as to avoid redundancy and boredom.
Also read: Ultimate guide to employee motivation
What are the benefits of employee engagement?
Whether in the times of Corona or otherwise, employee engagement strategies and their effective execution have many benefits.
Better engagement, higher productivity, increased customer satisfaction, and a lot more; the benefits of employee engagement are aplenty. Know in detail about it here.
For the most part, these benefits have a positive impact on the organization as a whole.
How has Employee Engagement changed in the COVID19 era?
According to the Willis research, 84% of organizations believe that their employee engagement has gone up. How is it that an activity which required human presence and interaction, has become even better when interactions can only be done via screens?
The answer lies in the device kept on hand by us all: the mobile.
Additionally, with job security being the top thing in employee’s minds, in these uncertain times, organizations are now focusing more on the well-being of their employees and encouraging personal productivity more than ever. This is a direct result of better employee engagement techniques than before and a better work environment which coincidentally is coming from an out-of-office scenario.
This has led to huge growth in the learning curve of the employees and has also contributed to an altered leadership scenario.
And all of it has been virtually handled via one device mostly, the mobile phone.
Thus, how to engage employees by using this particular device? Let’s find out.
The social media scenario: How can organizations use it for employee engagement?
COVID19 has had a huge impact on mobile usage. The app installations have been constant, dipping, and rising, but the usage has increased. Social media is an apt place of expression now, given that social distancing and physical conversations are not possible. With work being a home activity and outdoor ones heavily curbed, mobile phones remain a window to the outside world, and also a means of communication.
So, why can’t the organizations create employee engagement strategies stemming from the usefulness of the device? There is a visible change in software and device usage. It’s time to delve in by using mobile as a device to create engagement at work.
The first area to tap for employee engagement via mobile phone is social media. Studies suggest that there has been a substantial increase in social media usage in COVID19 times. Here are a few ways in which organizations can tap in and create cool employee engagement ideas by riding the bandwagon of social media.
Heard of ‘Snapchat Score?’ Your team has probably been using this platform when bored at work. Use this favourite feature of millennials and generation Z to create employee engagement strategies. Urge every employee to upload and share a picture, every time a discussed task is accomplished. With every snap clicked and shared, their scores would increase, coupled with other factors. Compare weekly scores and reward the employee with the highest numbers. Snapchat at work could make your team really productive!
Employee engagement ideas, in today’s era, should be interactive and innovative both. With Snapchat Score, you will tap both the tangents, thereby successfully elevating employee productivity and syncing them with the organization.
Another one of the many brilliant employee engagement ideas via mobile can be conducted via Instagram. A picture-heavy platform, Instagram is a great place to engage employees aesthetically, at the same time promoting the organization by way of cleverly placed hashtags and carefully curated content.
Use your organizational Instagram handle and that of your employees in the best way possible. Create a hashtag unique to your organization and use that to promote employee engagement strategies. Using Instagram at work could become one of the best employee engagement ideas! Ask the employees to upload their work from home pictures and scenarios using specific hashtags and by tagging the organization’s handle.
Such campaigns gain momentum in no time, not only giving exposure to your brand name but also effectively engaging the employees. Guess what, this is also done via mobile.
Think about a TikTok staff engagement tool. Yes, a little unconventional, but effective nevertheless, given the popularity and reach of the platform. TikTok has seen creative and cringe content both. However, using it for creatively corporate content would be a novel idea. It can also serve as the perfect platform to execute your employee engagement ideas in the times of this pandemic. TikTok staff engagement can actually be a cool addition to an otherwise stiff and often cold corporate atmosphere.
Refer to the latest employee engagement strategy of Mad Mex, a Mexican restaurant group, who are using TikTok staff engagement quite seriously. Mad Mex is using TikTok to present how they create the freshest and most nutritious food.
They tap the customer’s dining experience as well. Riding on this wave and channelizing it the right way, are the employees at Mad Mex, with a single account churning out more than 5.8 million views. They are not only effectively engaging the employees, but also increasing their visibility, all through TikTok. There is no reason why other brands and organizations cannot do it.
Facebook is the oldest social media platform, amidst all the current ones. While originally it started off as a way to connect with friends across the globe, it has now also become a platform where one can voice opinions that can go viral in a few seconds. Facebook workplace tips and tricks can also be used to harness employee engagement strategies well. However, the major thing that has to be kept in mind is maintaining a clear line between personal and professional. It is important because the line can blur, especially on this platform.
A good way to start would be Workplace by Facebook, a collaboration and virtual workplace tool which helps engage employees. This has been proven efficient in updating employees faster, improving communications, and also lets organizations crowdsource ideas. All of this, combined, can help engage employees faster and in a better way, so that their skills are harnessed to elevate their productivity.
Employee engagement strategies needn’t be complicated. Thus, there is another simpler way to utilize Facebook as an employee engagement tool. Do a weekly employee appreciation post, linking back to their profiles. Facebook workplace tips and tricks and tricky yet trippy.
Twitter too, like Facebook, is an old app yet an extremely useful one when it comes to expressing oneself in 280 characters or less (previously 140 characters). The platform can be used effectively in creating and executing successful employee engagement strategies.
Host Twitter chats or ask employees to share work from home pictures like they did for Instagram. Hashtags work amazingly well on Twitter and play an important part in promoting the handle and making initiatives go viral. The person with the most number of retweets and likes can be selected to receive a reward. Not only would these keep the employees engaged, but also serve as a promotional strategy for the organization itself.
The work applications scenario: Working via mobile
While social media works as a good employee engagement tool by harnessing the fun part, work-based applications are handling the professional engagement part well. With work from home becoming the new norm, applications such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Slack, and more are being used often and more to connect and communicate while working from home.
There is no question why these should not be used to engage the employees. In fact, communication applications are a good way to create team engagement activities.
Studies suggest that there has been a massive increase in the usage of these apps.
Here are some employee engagement ideas that can be used for work applications, further utilizing the power of mobile.
- These applications can be used to host weekly training sessions, which will keep the employees interested collectively, thus increasing team momentum and escalating the level of team engagement.
- Another way to keep employees engaged through the screens is by holding meetings at specific intervals. These team meetings ensure that all are abreast with the happenings of the organization and are doing their work as per the roles.
- A good employee engagement idea can also be to hold a virtual party once a month, wherein everyone can let their hair down, literally.
- Create a channel for random conversations as well, to break the ice and monotony that work brings in. A simple channel called #watercooler on Slack can do the deed well.
- Celebrate birthdays and anniversaries together on video calls instead of sending the same old mail chain. It will be a delightful and personally enriching experience for the employees.
Mobile working and employee engagement is the new norm in the COVID19 era. One can’t ensure that each employee would be beside the system every time, but a mobile phone is almost always in personal proximity. Utilize this to create employee engagement strategies that are inexpensive yet effective, in the times of this pandemic.
Pandemic or not, engagement at work is essential and imperative. Mobile phones with their utility and accessibility to trends surely serve as a good medium to channelize it.