How are you thinking differently about engaging your employees during quarantine?
Think about it: your employees’ morale and mental health could be low due to the global health crisis, they may be unproductive (or just not enjoy) working from home day in and day out or simply may just be “hanging on” through a company’s downturn to maintain their standard of living and income because exploring greener pastures and new opportunities poses tremendous risk. In short, there are a myriad of factors that may cause your employees to be disengaged due to COVID-19 and this will likely only persist.
With that backdrop, I wanted to share a few things we’ve done at ClearCut Analytics. I must first give a shout-out and h/t to Bonfyre App. My learnings at the company where I spent nearly a decade helped me understand the core tenets of employee engagement and how human connections and strong relationships amongst our team members enable everyone to be more productive for each other and the customers/stakeholders they serve. (I was once dubbed a “Culture Carrier”, so I’ve always felt a personal obligation to advance our employee experience.)
This is important to me because I’m well aware of the costs of miscommunication and disengaged employees – and this $500B problem per Gallup will only fester if companies – both small and large alike – keep their culture not just sustained and consistent, but adaptive to our changing professional and personal world.
Virtual Happy Hours: every Friday at the end of the week, we gather on Zoom to enjoy a beverage, water, or nothing at all – just come with a smile. We’ve spiced them over the past few weeks:
Virtual Games: Piccolo, Jackbox Games (FibbageXL is my favorite), Codenames, Trivia and “Guess That Person’s Fun Fact” and more
“Drink, Talk, Learn”: found this in the NY Times “Smarter Living” Newsletter: “Each person puts together a presentation about something they’re passionate about, and then everyone takes turns screen-sharing and talking for three minutes on their topic.” We’ve learned the basics of Scotch, teammates art projects, how to garden from scraps, how to make a great pour-over coffee, the necessities for a few-day camping trip and how to swing a golf club.
Engagement activities and tools
- “Donut” tool to encourage 1-to-1 or 1-to-many virtual meetups for teammates who would not otherwise connect
- “HeyTaco” tool to drive virtual recognition, kudos, wins and job(s) well done. (Instead of playing “Enter the Sandman” by Metallica when a new deal closes, we send GIFs and the Spotify track link – it still works!)
- Team TikToktok Video: short video submissions cheering to coffee or a libation. We took the plunge too!
- StepBet Challenge: 4-week challenge to embrace an active lifestyle, taking breaks and a little competition
- Photo contests: mini-competitions or challenges to encourage team members to take photos grabbing fresh air, developing new skills or dressing up in costumes for Virtual Happy Hour
- “Goat 2 Meeting”: Sweet Farm, a nonprofit animal sanctuary, dropped into our Zoom meeting to give us a tour of their farm. We proudly donated and gave our team some nice shock and awe in the process.
Vertical and horizontal communication
I combed through this great resource from Open View Partners on How to Keep Your Company Aligned While Your Whole Team Works Remotely. Solid read. Here are some of the tips we implemented:
- 2x/week company handstands to report on strategic shifts, progress against milestones or just to see everyone’s smiling faces
- Increased communication through Slack about client milestones, industry changes and public health updates affecting our WFH status or day-to-day health
- Greater leadership visibility and participation to ensure we all have the same “drumbeat”
- Daily team handstands to align on departmental/functional priorities
As an early-stage company, we’re continually making strides on setting goals at the Company, Team, and now Individual Level. Even during a 100% virtual environment, individual team members are creating enrichment plans and quantifiable goals that weren’t a part of their job descriptions or career roadmaps prior to COVID-19.
These are just a few ideas, and frankly, just our first step. Finding the right balance once we can return to the office will require us to be creative, too.
Have a tip to share that’s working for your team and company? Please do in the comments below. I’ll send you our TikTok video if you reply.