Do you know how engaged your employees are right now? Better yet, do you know how to keep them engaged?
Employees who are now working at home have a lot going on—new stresses, anxieties, and continuous adaptation to a changing working environment. Many of us are struggling with finding a strategy for right now and an uncertain future. Implementing some best-in-class strategies for employee engagement—and using digital tools to adapt them for right now—is a good place to start.
Understanding the New Normal
Working from the Office or Home
Now that many companies have laid the foundation for working from home, the option is likely to stick around. This creates a need for flexible tools to engage employees working from the office, home, or both.
How Employees Feel
The truth is, stress and anxiety are up! 44% of folks now
working from home report a decline in mental health, of which 67% report an
increase in stress and 57% report an increase in anxiety (Qualtrics).
Among their primary concerns are financial pressure, isolation, and job
It’s more important than ever to check the foundation of
your employee-engagement strategy and consider extra ways to help and encourage
Setting a Foundation
Every company has a foundation for how employees are meant
to engage at work: goals, key results, quotas, performance reviews, company
values, and more. Good foundations include four basic elements:
With this in mind, we asked 500 newly remote employees how engaged they’re feeling, and what’s helped so far.
The good news is that immediately available technology, such
as video calling, has 65% feeling at least somewhat engaged. But what about
after a month? What about the 35% that aren’t engaged? It’s important to lay a
foundation for all employees to know how to engage, that they’re contributing,
and how they can improve.
Choosing technology—whether email, intranet, CRM, chat, or
more—that supports purpose and candor at the office and from home is foundational
in the new normal.
At Tango Card, we help companies boost employee engagement
with digital rewards and incentives that are flexible for a distributed
workforce. There are a few common ways that gift cards can be used to engage
It’s also worth noting that any of these answers can be supported virtually with a digital gift-card component. Digital rewards are a simple way to show employees that you appreciate them. Weave into your engagement strategy a sponsored meal or some digital entertainment for your employees and their family to show you care.
Recognition can come in many forms. The most basic form of
recognition is just saying, “good job” now and again—and it’s been proven to
make people feel better and perform
better. “Researchers at the Wharton School at the University of
Pennsylvania randomly divided university fundraisers into two groups. One group
made phone calls to solicit alumni donations in the same way they always had.
The second group—assigned to work on a different day—received a pep talk from
the director of annual giving, who told the fundraisers she was grateful for
their efforts. During the following week, the university employees who heard
her message of gratitude made 50% more fundraising calls than those who didn’t
Now, time for a personal anecdote: I also made calls for
donations back in college. We all may hate receiving calls around dinner time,
but it works for catching people at home—although it’s a gamble on catching
“hangry” folks. Some nights the college would have dinner for us while we were
calling, other nights, they wouldn’t. I was definitely happier to be there on the
nights they had dinner.
Providing a little extra to the student employees—in the
form of a free dinner—went a long way in increasing my engagement. Even better,
I’m a millennial, so put that in the “how do we engage millennials?” bag of tricks.
While there’s no need to pair recognition with a tangible
reward to spread gratitude and help performance—in fact, setting the
expectation of a reward is demotivating long term—giving managers and peers a
way to surprise each other with a small gift can sweeten the gesture. Not to
mention, the recognition will extend further when they use or spend their gift.
Do you have, or have you considered, an incentive program to
motivate employees to achieve individual and team goals?
Incentive programs have proven ROI. These days, however,
people understand incentive programs only work when they’re laid on top of a
solid employee-engagement foundation (remember: shared purpose, clear
responsibilities, success recognition, and candor). Without this foundation,
incentive programs can do more harm than
good, but as long as all employees are considered—and base engagement has
been well thought out—an incentive program can supercharge efforts to achieve
sales goals or drive towards project conclusions.
No one knows incentive programs better than our partners at
the Maritz PX
Exchange. The PX Exchange is an essential resource for planning, designing,
implementing, and measuring incentive program success. And yes, they have tools
for you to run an incentive program for a distributed workforce—including
several digital reward options.
Employees and managers are adapting to a new normal, so
reassessing your foundation of employee engagement is essential. At its core,
this means ensuring you cover the four basics: shared purpose, clear
responsibilities, success recognition, and candor. Then consider if your tools
and strategy for ongoing employee engagement work for a distributed workforce.
Lastly, at Tango Card, we help thousands of companies use
digital rewards for employee appreciation, recognition, and motivation. Digital
gift cards, now more than ever, give employees a choice of rewards that they
can enjoy wherever they are—keeping them engaged from home and the office.
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