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6 ways to engage and align employees who are working at home

What you can do as an organisation to keep home-workers connected and engaged was one of the topics we covered in our book on alignment, Alignment 2.0, back in 2015. Today, in the current situation, the basic rules we outlined apply more than ever. Here are some tips on how every communication department and HR team can keep employees and managers aligned in these uncertain times.
  1. Develop a regular communication cycle and be consistent
    Good, consistent communication is crucial in building and maintaining employee engagement at any time, but especially now. Key here is to provide content that actually adds something for your staff. In particular, keep employees up to date on what’s happening in the business and with their colleagues. Also, make sure they know when they can expect to hear from you. Define an appropriate communication cycle – not too often (overload), but also not infrequently or irregularly (worrying silence or a reason to panic). And indicate who the sender is, so people know who is telling them what, when. Whether the sender is the HR manager, the CEO or the office manager, clarity and a predictable communication rhythm are crucial.

 

  1. Provide the right information to the right target groups
    The need to consider the diversity of your target groups applies at any time, but especially at the moment. People who cannot work at home don’t want 10 tips about how to work at home. The same largely goes for those with years of regular homeworking behind them. Basically, people already have enough on their mind. Pushing information that is irrelevant to them makes them feel less connected, not more. But for people having to regularly work from home for the first time, some tips will probably be welcome.

 

  1. Get top management to lead by example
    Top management, and especially in a crisis, must operate as a team and be open and approachable. This means being visible. Use webinars, virtual townhalls and webcasts, for example, to maintain the confidence of managers and employees. Have top management communicate as personally as possible via online tools, stand open for discussion and, above all, be honest and transparent. Your employees and managers are doing their best to ensure that everything runs smoothly, but they don’t know everything that is happening. In this new reality, everyone is searching for new ways to do their work. This is something you can only develop together, so involving employees is the fastest and most effective way to work on engagement and alignment.

 

  1. Recognise and equip your middle managers and team leaders
    Make an explicit appeal to your managers so they truly understand and feel just how important their role is. Point out that they have the power to keep the team spirit high, even when the team is working online, remotely. Help them where necessary and provide them with the tools they need. In other words, give managers the freedom and responsibility to do the right thing for their team. Giving responsibility stimulates people to take on responsibility, too.

 

  1. Maintain personal contact
    Personal contact is essential right now, and at all levels. This applies to employees, of course, but also to managers, who should be ensuring dialogue within their teams. Help and support your managers so they can continue to talk with their teams and encourage everyone to look each other up digitally.

 

  1. Listen to each other – and enjoy doing so
    Engaged employees want to think about and discuss what’s happening, two characteristics that are essential in any organisation, but especially so at the moment. Many employees have experiences or innovative ideas that they want to share, and it is HR’s and Communication’s responsibility to provide employees and managers with a platform to do this. There are enough online tools to stimulate dialogue and exchange ideas. Listen, give feedback and make time to enjoy together and share the things that are going well.

 

Would you like some support with developing a short-term plan, a tailored communication cycle, a morale-boosting online activation or some value-adding online content? Or advice about or help with setting up the best mix of online tools for your organisation? The PROOF team is ready to help. Get in touch by calling or emailing on +31 (0)6 55124590/ sascha@proof-agency.com

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