Few predicted ‘the Covid effect’ would last beyond a few weeks. Teams have been scattered into remote corners, disrupting the employee engagement that’s physically possible.
Workplaces may not resemble their 2019 selves for years, or possibly forever, and workers’ wellbeing has suffered. According to a study by social network Blind, 53% of remote workers feel lonelier since the Covid crisis began.
Employee engagement is pivotal to building and running a successful and happy business. It starts from how you manage the recruitment process and employee onboarding through the entire experience and career progression of every individual. Read our new Employee Engagement Playbook for useful insights for realigning your employee strategy for 2021 and beyond.
Why is this so important? According to Gallup, companies with high employee engagement are 21% more profitable than their peers. In terms of sheer productivity, HubSpot research found that 69% of employees say they’d work harder if they were better appreciated.
10 employee touchpoints you can no longer rely on
How do you execute good employee engagement? By taking your opportunities to interact with employees; asking for feedback to key questions in the right way, at the right time.
The problem is, many such ‘touchpoint’ opportunities businesses have stopped. Every organization has relied on these without realizing it. Here are 10 examples, each of them offered wonderful opportunities to connect with employees and achieve important business objectives.
And if you want to know how to combat these, get our new Employee Engagement Handbook here, for free:
1. The Annual Company Kick-Off
It’s like Thanksgiving or Christmas – everyone travels to headquarters for the big family get-together of looking back and looking ahead. There’s a clear vision to communicate and lots of formal top-down knowledge transfer from key executives to realign staff to brand values and messages.
- Promote togetherness and shared goals
- Check employee brand alignment
- Gain feedback on how well ‘the year ahead’ messages have sunk in
2. Town Hall Updates
Like annual kick-off events but shorter duration, smaller scale, potentially localized and/or focused on specific topics or periodic intervals (e.g. quarterly). The style of event stimulates more two-way communications, questions from the floor and facilitated breakout sessions.
- Encourage debate and finding solutions
- Drill into issues that affect business goals
- Identify opportunities warranting further investigation
3. Offsite Team Building Activities
You learn a lot from a colleague when you’re both up to your neck in freezing water/being shot at in a paintball game/mastering unusual new skills together. Team building activities bring everyone to the same level, regardless of seniority, and reveal who individuals really are.
- Make teams stronger!
- A great environment for employees to feel comfortable giving open, honest feedback
4. Staff Incentive Retreats
For the group who sold the most this month or got the top 10 best ratings from customers. These retreats are part ‘thank you’ and part learning what makes your most successful people so successful.
- Improve wellbeing and reward success
- Reduce employee churn
- Gather intel on the successful approaches other staff can learn from
5. Ideation Brainstorms
Getting people in a room to crack a problem with some fresh ideas; maybe a cross-disciplinary Tiger team of specialists. Refreshments are on ice to fuel everyone’s brain cells. And it’s time-limited to 20 minutes for high impact before productivity starts to plateau.
- Solve a business problem fast e.g. sell more, increase efficiency, develop better product
- Stimulate ideas and suggestions, no matter how crazy they might sound
- Make employees feel involved and their opinions valued
6. Lunch n’ Learns
What staff cafeterias were made for. Pick up a brown paper lunch bag and spend half an hour understanding a topic better, with Q&A at the end. Excellent for communicating new concepts, backfilling knowledge gaps and identifying colleagues in need of more help.
- Communicate important/valuable topics in a different way (could even be HR policy compliance related topics, rather than ‘work knowledge’)
- Encourage input to improve training materials
- Validate employee understanding and give extra support where necessary
7. Impromptu Standups
A variation on the team meeting/brainstorm scenario but more quickly pulled together and with no formal agenda. Something has come up and opinions are being sought for how the team should proceed. Or the decision itself needs to be communicated (e.g. “we’re getting a lot of calls about X, so the best way to deal with them is Y”)
- Resolve a tactical issue
- Get feedback/ideas/opinions for decision making
- Rapidly communicate an important change in policy that everyone needs to follow
8. One-to-One Meetings (face to face)
Interviews, routine staff appraisals, meetings about confidential personal issues or disciplinary matters are all best conducted behind closed doors in a one-to-one meeting. Contracts, policies and feedback forms are often completed/signed during such interactions.
- Understand employee’s point of view on sensitive matters
- Demonstrate the organization’s commitment to personal development
- Collect formal feedback
9. Watercooler Moments
The ultimate informal meeting. Serendipity can be very generous, putting information exchanged during chance encounters to amazing uses in everything from financial problem solving to product development. It’s also another great leveller – everyone drinks from the watercooler, so senior executives get a sense of the workforce’s overall mood as well as some select insights.
- Be accessible
- Listen to what employees think about a wide range of issues
- Glean new ideas
10. After Work Socials
These are often arranged by team leaders (or even by employees themselves when company life, problems and opportunities are more openly discussed) at an evening venue or as a family day (e.g. BBQ cook-out) on the weekend. An inclusive, relaxed opportunity to bring people together.
- Great for getting new employees settled in
- Encourages community investment
- Opportunities to collect honest, unfiltered feedback
Redraw the Employee Touchpoint Map
It’s no use wishing things were different – organizations must accept that these hard-to-replicate touchpoints may not be possible to reinstate for months or even years. Instead, look again at the journey your employees are on within your business to pinpoint the many touchpoint opportunities you can create.
Because – in our view – all of the objectives behind these lost physical touchpoints are achievable. You just need to rethink your approach and put employee feedback at the heart of your many remaining touchpoints.
Download our Employee Engagement Playbook for structured guidance on how to map the employee journey.
These will help you achieve a range of business objectives like:
- Reduced staff churn
- Enhanced wellbeing
- Higher performance
- Greater customer-centricity
- Better HR processes
- Optimized change management
- Steeper productivity curves for new starters
- Improved products and services
- Closer employee/brand alignment
- More effective training programs
- Happier employees and happier customers!
If you want to give digital employee feedback sensing a try, get a completely free trial of Customer Thermometer here: