In times when employees are working from home, away from a social setting, it becomes more important than ever to keep them engaged. How do companies ensure its employees are invested in the company culture and feel connected even when away from office?
We ask Jitender Panihar from MoEngage to share some insights.
We would have been surprised if someone told us last year that remote work would scale up at a rate that it would become the new norm of working. But here we are now! At any other time, it would have been essential to have those in-person leadership sessions and fun ice-breaker activities on the floor during your induction programmes. However, the world has shifted gears and how! Those who have joined new organisations during the last couple of months, have had their onboarding done remote, configured assets sent to their homes, training programs run digital and met all their peers in that first Friday all-team zoom call!
As we rapidly innovate to adjust to the new norm of a digital workplace due to COVID 19, we have to cater to the changing needs of the workforce while meeting organisational goals amid operational challenges. Ever since workplaces went digital, the focus has been to empower employees to embrace this new norm. According to the Pulse Survey conducted by a Bangalore based consultancy firm which surveyed around 75 start-ups, MoEngage lies in the Top 10 percentile with an Employee Experience Index of 51, which is way more than the median 40 for other start-ups. Our core values of Transparency, Openness and Ownership have been the driving forces while we strive to be the best in employee experience even during remote.
Having business continuity plans and remote work guidelines in place has laid the foundation. Remote Task Forces to monitor the situation and have regular check-ins with functional leads to be on top of OKRs have been a priority. Recruitment efforts- interviews and onboarding – have gone digital too.
At a time when the workplace norms seem volatile and chances of ambiguity among your workforce seem high, employee engagement plays a pivotal role in creating a positive work environment and getting people together.
According to a Global pulse Survey Report released by Elliot Scott, while Crisis Management ranked highest in the biggest internal HR challenge list with a 60% vote, Employee Engagement and enabling remote working stood second and third with 47% and 40% respectively. This alone speaks tons about the challenges that HR professionals have been facing through these uncertain times.
So how do organisations ensure a smooth transition and empower and engage their teams as they start to work from their homes. Let’s understand.
Leadership Resilience Leads the Way
We believe that a leader’s response to this crisis would have a huge impact on businesses. Coming forth, being visible, approachable and supportive would take any leader a long way.
An effective leader at this time is flexible, adaptive and willing to make difficult choices. Interestingly we at MoEngage scored a whopping 97% on Leadership effectiveness on the Pulse survey and a 100% agreement from most of our global teams too.
Over-Communicating is the Key
In a time of crisis, communication and constant feedback mechanisms would be the champions in creating a positive work environment. In a constant endeavour to understand our people’s view on work aspects, we at MoEngage have been running polls to gather useful insights which help us improve the experience we create for our folks. Teams have started zooming into their no-agenda Friday catch-ups with all their folks. Town Halls and all-hand meetings with leadership taking you through organisation developments have proven to be extremely crucial and effective when it comes to transparency.
“I think the Townhall, Product updates, and org updates have been great. Good to also see the HR checking in through surveys” say one of the survey respondents.
While developing a remote work routine has been the need of the hour, our objective would be to empower our folks with recommendations every now and then on how to effectively work from home.
The extra edge where people teams have been reaching out to all employees individually or have been following up in formal/informal ways have created the environment of trust.
Adopting Technology and Creativity to Engage
Engaging employees is not easy right now since remote work has had a certain amount of impact on the level of cohesion. However, a little bit of compassion and creativity in meaningful and fun virtual engagement initiatives have kept us going at MoEngage. Having Fun has been our foremost core value and we have taken it seriously! We utilized Slack Channels to exchange memes and fun conversation threads.
We ran a “Show your Workplace challenge” where we flooded our channel with messy yet real remote workstations! There have been quizzes, pictionaries and online treasure-hunts while we exchange links to free online courses and continue to keep learning. We also curated a line of series of external speaker led sessions where our folks will discover and discuss anything but work, basically our own TedX!
This time of crisis has also given us a good opportunity to strike a conversation with our Women at MoEngage and learn about their specific challenges and reach out with support.
Fitness has been the buzzword now more than ever considering we stay at home and miss the much needed routine. We at MoEngage collaborated with our health and wellness tech platform partner to guide us through this time with health tips, live workout and yoga sessions for our employees.
Appreciation and rewards go a long way when it comes to an engaged workforce and that is exactly what we plan to do at MoEngage where we introduce Appreciation Day where anyone’s efforts can be called out and appreciated regardless of team and hierarchy.
Taking Care of That Anxiety
While physical fitness has been much emphasised on, keeping yourself emotionally and mentally calm is also absolutely essential. It is key to maintain that routine, make the most of the me-time doing something you love and ask for help whenever you need it! At MoEngage, we have provided our employees with a way to reach out to mental health consultants through our health partner whenever needed. Online DIY workshops by our internal experts have been a hit and we want to continue having those even post COVID times. Asking for feedback from employees and reaching out to them wherever there is a need for more support is our mantra. We understand we are living through a pandemic and we might not be able to be at our best!
The Way Ahead
Michael Dell in one of his CEO letters to employees mentioned “We are all navigating this new normal together. As we lock arms virtually and try to help one another in the ways we can, our vast world suddenly feels a little smaller and a lot more connected. And for that, we are grateful.” COVID 19 has certainly forced businesses to shift gears, change the way they work and fundamentally alter management practices. This would lead to major behavioural changes in the workforce as well as physical changes when it comes to office space. However, thanks to adoption of technology, businesses would essentially be more fluid, more flexible and more agile.
At MoEngage, our founders and the People and Culture team are committed to continue to be a great place to work – remote or not. We believe our people-first philosophy and transparent culture has enabled us to provide a stellar experience to our folks till now and will also help us to navigate through the changes that we expect from a post COVID world.
“Coming forth, being visible, approachable and supportive would take any leader a long way. An effective leader at this time is flexible, adaptive and willing to make difficult choices.”