Employee Engagement in Today’s Work Environment

The big question is how to keep employees engaged when some are working from home, others are in the office and still others are out of state?  The pandemic has brought many new challenges to companies and this is another one to ponder.  HR professionals are getting more creative than ever!  I have the pleasure of leading the HR Coffee Talk through SW SHRM* every two weeks to collaborate on challenges like these.  Through our meetings, great ideas have been shared and I will be passing on what I have learned from this incredible community.

The New Normal

Remember when we had employees begging to work from home, and in most cases it was a hard “No”?  Well that glass ceiling has been broken!  We now know that working at home can be very productive and add to employees’ quality of life.  As things are starting to open up (I am seeing glimmers of hope), companies will need to decide if working from home is still an option, or will it be mandatory to get back to the office or will a hybrid approach be the new norm?

Another option is people working out of state.  A lot of employees made the decision to move to another location (five acres in Montana doesn’t sound too bad), knowing that it didn’t matter where they were, they could continue to work from anywhere.  This has expanded the recruiting game and also brought up questions on wages and cost of living in different states.  But we could write a complete blog just on that!

6 Ways to Keep Employees Engaged

As things evolve and we come out of the pandemic, there will be change either way and how to keep employees engaged is going to be important.  Here are some ideas for you!  Some of them will be perfect for your company, others will need to be modified but hopefully it will spark some ideas on ways you can work on the culture in your company.

  1.  Bring a PERK to the office
    1. This could be a food truck or even Pacific Perks with a Drive-Thru Espresso or Smoothie Bar.  Set up in the parking lot as a walk up or drive-thru, or it can be brought into the offices when all or most of the employees are present. 
  2. Have a Drive-Thru Pick Up Party
    1. Imagine the fun in having the company’s leadership present to hand out swag or company PERKs.  
  3. Send a special PERK right to their door
    1. Job well done?  Having a department or company meeting where you would normally cater in?  Have something fun sent right to their door.
  4. Play Virtual Games
    1. Use tools like Hopin and Yammer to bring fun to a department or company.  Here are some games that are great for online play:  Try Pictionary, CaveMan Poetry Scattergories, Amazing Race, and/or Trivia (could be company themed).  You can also use Hopin and Yammer for All Company meetings and conferences.
  5. Office Decor Contest (at home too!) 
    1. Have a themed office decorating contest!  Pictures can be submitted or have a virtual unveiling.  Watch creativity flourish!  Offer gift cards to local restaurants for prizes. The activity gives employees an excuse to take a minute to be creative and also offers a glimpse of their unique personality!
  6. Manager Check-Ins
    1. Having management hold a casual, no pressure check-in with employees can mean the world.  How are they doing?  What are the challenges working from home?  What do they love about it?  What are their goals?  When you ask great questions and take the time to listen, you find connection with others.  It is an opportunity to share resources and ideas to make your employees’ lives just a little bit better.

Employee Fun = Huge Cost Savings

The importance of keeping employees engaged is HUGE!  Companies want to avoid retention issues and the costs of replacing employees.  In fact, the Gallup Poll states, “The cost of replacing an individual employee can range from one-half to two times the employee’s annual salary.”  That adds up quickly!  By doing small things to show your appreciation and letting them know you “see” them, it will pay dividends to your bottom line and to your company culture.

*If you are a HR Professional or have HR duties with your position, I invite you to join us on the HR Coffee Talk!  Click HERE for more information.


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