Developing Effective Employee Engagement in Extraordinary Times

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The entire United States is experiencing a change drastic shift in workforce engagement. Today’s workspace is a whole different ballgame. “It’s a ballgame of the future,” said Webolutions Founder and CEO John Vachalek, “We’re just getting a glimpse today of how work will be going forward.” We’re buying more groceries and restaurant takeout online, work from home is common among most Denver organizations, medical practices are shifting to tele-medicine, and Zoom meetings are becoming the new norm of maintaining personal and organization connection. “We have lots of Zooming going on,” said a chamber of commerce executive. “We’ve even started committee meetings and panels using this format.”

It’s an interesting time to take all the changes happening and leading with everything going on. On Wednesday, April 15, 2020, Webolutions invited Denver leaders to a virtual roundtable discussion to weigh in on the challenges and opportunities their businesses are facing in today’s world, empowering them to continue taking their leadership and employee engagement to the next level.

Thriving in a Virtual Environment

The virtual environment has challenged executives to advance even faster as a business, catapulting their attention more on connection and innovation. Webolutions inspired executives to thrive in a virtual environment by presenting these five key engagement drivers and definitions:

1. Meaning: Your work has purpose beyond the job itself.
2. Autonomy: The power to shape your work and environment in ways that allow you to perform at your best. This driver is essential for employee success in today’s virtual workforce.
3. Growth: Being stretched and challenged in ways that result in personal and professional progress.
4. Impact: Seeing positive, effective and worthwhile outcomes and results from your work.
5. Connection: The sense of belonging to something beyond yourself.

A screen capture of the April 2020 virtual Executive Roundtable.

Nearly all attendees have said they are experiencing a business model from in-office environment into a fully remote. Most executives are pleased with their employee engagement and results. “Our staff is very mature and capable of working on products,” said an executive in the engineering industry. “We’ve been fascinated with how people have been able to adapt.”

Denver-area leaders are frequently communicating with employees and providing support and opportunities to better connect with fellow colleagues in a virtual environment. One attendee said he has presented his staff with trivia questions to keep their minds sharp and their employees connected.  “The biggest thing for me is that they meaningful and have connection,” he said. Other Denver-area leaders echoed how virtual happy hours and celebrating employees’ successes and wins contribute to better employee engagement, provide a sense of normalcy and lift employees’ spirits.

Driving Engagement Through Shared Values and Culture

The fundamental key to engagement, whether you’re live or virtual, is conveying a shared culture. Executives improve their employee engagement by creating a compelling vision that will be reinforced through the workforce.

It takes a different set of strategies in a virtual environment. One challenge executives face is acting as support (work-from-home operations, crisis management) vs. day-to-day problem solving. The shift in roles, however, provide opportunities for executives to adhere to the values and reinforce company culture. Also as important, in today’s times, is the willingness to have critical conversations with employees. Critical conversations, even in remote environments, allow executives to move an organization forward. “It’s vital for executives to be as positive as possible and embody the company’s values,” Vachalek said. “Having crucial conversation in extraordinary times also show a a sign of respect. Otherwise you’re not being true to yourself and the company.”

Creating a Culture of High Performance and Results

Company perks such as casual dress, food and learning opportunities are what people most commonly discuss when bringing up the topic of employee engagement. This is an opportune time for Denver executives to examine whether these perks matter in today’s workspace or if they’re superfluous to the organization’s growth. Today’s executives are weighing whether their organization needs an office to achieve results. “This has been a great experience to see how productive the staff is in a remote environment,” said one attendee. “So far, I have been pleased with the results.”

In today’s environment, Denver leaders are continuing evolving the way they do business is by identifying the processes that work and discarding the ones that don’t work. “As a firm, we come up with a lot of processes,” said an executive in the engineering industry. “The processes that are having an important impact and staying in place. The ones that aren’t are falling by the wayside. We also want our employees to challenge the processes to see if they work in their environment.”

Do you know executives for whom a Webolutions Executive Roundtable would be a positive experience, whose perspectives would be valuable for our attendees? Please refer them by completing this brief form or sign up for our next event.