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  • Writer's pictureEdel Flynn

Why Employee Experiences Are Vital For Engaging Your Employees

The pandemic had disrupted our lives in so many ways and it is easy to fall into a negative spiral of despair. I am a naturally positive person, if I fail at something I tend to try to learn from that mistake, dust myself off and move forward. But there have been times when my mood was so low that I got a glimpse of the despair so many people suffer with daily. It was truly eye-opening.

For me, I love my alone time as much as I love being surrounded by people and enjoying the craic. Like so many, I am done with my alone time and need more human connections, interactions and really miss the belly laugh moments you get when in a crowd.

I have been lucky enough in my career to have worked with amazing people and with companies that valued their employees. The familiarisation trips I went on when in the British Tourist Authority to the team building events when in Regus are some of the most memorable. We did raft building in Wicklow to tank driving in Wales.

On one such trip that included paintballing in the UK, a former colleague (who shall remain anonymous, you know who you are 😊) on the opposite team was rolling like a commando trying to shoot us. Little did he know he was heading for a verge that had a one-meter drop. Yes, social distancing has helped with my spatial awareness. We tried to warn him to no avail, when he fell and quickly stood up the two teams laughed so hard it hurt (thankfully he was perfectly fine). I cannot explain how that event gelled our team for life! We worked so much better together, and our productivity went through the roof.

These are the types of memories that have helped to keep me positive by allowing me to dream up all the wonderful things I want to do with my team when it is safe to do so, and it got me thinking of how we can share those experiences with our clients.

Pre-Covid companies had the gym on-site or daily lunch delivered. They would bring in guest speakers to inspire staff or have Thursday evening team drinks. It was much easier to engage staff on-site. Remote working has added a new level of complexity to the challenge of engaging employees. It's no longer a one size fits all approach.

In the beginning, it was a novelty that we felt would be short-lived, so we embraced it, used all the technology available for us to make it work.

In the 1st lockdown, companies organised lunch deliveries, set up home offices, did trivia nights via Zoom, shared newsletters focused on wellbeing & mental health and had weekly coffee mornings with the team to keep connected. Staff could join online Yoga or fitness classes with team members or participate in the step challenge. With the 5km restrictions it literally felt like you were walking around in circles, it brought a whole new meaning to “going around the bend”.

I heard some stories where employees resented the daily lunch deliveries. The reason being it was one lunch and they were stuck inside with their entire family to feed, they took the option to donate the money to a designated charity instead. The hangry monster took on a whole new meaning and left the company struggling to keep employees happy.

By the time the 2nd lockdown came, companies were offering wine and beer tasting evenings via Teams with beautiful boxes arriving on each doorstep from the likes of White Hag Brewery (try these guys out!) with the “buy Irish” moto embedded across everything. It had now moved to fitness apps where you could exercise when it suited you personally without the “team”. Seriously who wants to see their boss doing a downward dog?

Now with the Delta variant, a kind of fatigue has set in. The last thing you want to do is join another virtual team building session unless it is directly related to actual work.

The one size fits all employee engagement strategy is no longer fit for purpose and the reality is it will constantly change depending on the circumstances, mood and whims of each employee wants and needs.

So many people want to get back to the office but depending on who you talk to that varies between wanting to be on-site full time, having a blended hybrid solution or not wanting to be on-site at all other than essential team meetings.

The Global statistics show that 70% of the workforce wants to continue with hybrid working post-covid. The average is consistently a 2–3-day blend between the office and home working.

Hybrid working is here to stay! How are you improving employee engagement?

Let us know below!

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