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Keep Your Employees Engaged in a Hybrid Culture

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These days, the narrative has shifted in a positive way to focus on employees being the real drivers of company progress - we can all agree that engaged, happy employees are crucial to the success of any business. Whether you’ve spent the last few years working at home, in a hybrid environment, or back in the office, it’s up to managers and company leaders to find creative ways for all of their employees to feel engaged and included in their work environments. In today’s world this isn’t always easy - you’re navigating COVID guidelines and employee safety, questions about flexibility at work, employee burnout, and so much more. Here are some programs and channels that foster connections and can help keep your employees engaged in a safe way. 

 

Meetings don’t have to be all business 

Set aside a budget for agenda-free, company-paid outdoor walks or coffee chats - offer it to employees, but don’t mandate it.

Make downtime in and out of the office for employees to socialize informally and encourage people to use it. Have your company leadership role model that it’s OK to chat over a coffee and get to know each other - or take a slightly longer lunch away from your desk in a group setting. 

On the other hand, don’t force connections - some people will not want to socialize in a planned way or in a group setting, and you shouldn’t pressure them to. Make space for alternate ways for employees to engage with each other in ways that work for them. 

As an alternative, you can encourage volunteerism, start some non-work-topic Slack channels, or otherwise create space for employees to connect in a less socially pressurized way. 

 

Tools and resources are your friend

Give your employees the tools to communicate more effectively with each other. These can be actual tools like Slack for easy communication, or mmhmm to help spice up your virtual meetings. 

It can also be helpful to provide access to team building exercises, like a DiSC assessment to help people understand their own communication styles and those of the people around them. 

 

Think about casual mentorship programs, or ERGs 

Where possible, create working partnerships or pairs so that employees have the opportunity to work closely with each other (remote or in person) and develop connections that way. 

Mentorships, especially across teams and levels, not only create educational and professional development opportunities, they can also create opportunities for cross team collaboration, help employees advance in their careers, and help foster a more welcoming and collaborative company culture. 

A frequently underutilized resource in companies of all sizes is an ERG (Employee Resource Group). ERGs are often formed internally (in partnership with HR) by employees who share a common characteristic – ethnicity, gender, family status, etc. At face value, ERGs are a great way for employees to connect with their colleagues who share similar experiences and provide support to each other. They can also have a real impact on company culture. 

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This is by no means an exhaustive list - don’t be afraid to ask your employees what they want and know you don’t need to do this alone or do everything all at once. Your employees will tell you what they want, need, or expect from you, especially as things continue to shift in the new year. Cultivate a company culture where your employees have opportunities to talk comfortably with you, and be honest with them about what is and is not feasible. 

Once you’ve created this environment, ensure you can maintain it as you grow and make changes to your work environment - if you’re thinking about returning to the office in 2022, check out these tips to help you strengthen your culture along the way