Do you have team engagement on your mind? Now more than ever, with many businesses operating from different models, it’s a challenge that plagues leaders in many industries.
Employees are now working remotely, permanently, in many workplaces. There are also employees who have been mandated back to work, and they are not all happy about it. There are also employees who have the option to blend their work time between the office and home; the hybrid workplace model has been created! This is likely the most common scenario, and it appears somewhat chaotic without all of the planning necessary to get the right team working together in the right place at the right time.
Team Engagement Requires Creativity and Innovation
Despite the best efforts of management teams to maintain morale and team engagement throughout the upheaval of the past year and a half, employees continue to drift back into old patterns and struggle to find their way back to a new normal. Not only does this negative culture affect traditional business metrics like productivity, but it acts as a major impediment to innovation and growth by disrupting efforts at improvement and the tackling of new challenges.
This pervasive negative culture is even more of a problem during an economic downturn. These are times when businesses need to be especially creative and flexible to adjust to the harsher conditions they face.
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Business leaders need to understand and empathize with the “cost” of employees returning to work, when for two years savings were considerable. No extra funds spent on gas, clothing or coffees. One took that in stride as a necessary expense until one learned that working from home meant extra money at the end of the week.
Unfortunately, precisely when a business needs creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship, these are often the times when their employees are least likely to demonstrate team engagement. Or, more specifically, the necessary positive cultural attitude toward their work and the company.
Creating a Culture of Positive Entrepreneurship
A culture of positive entrepreneurship that runs through the company and across its employees requires more than the occasional pep talk. Such a culture is the product of an everyday commitment. A commitment to structuring the business in a way that promotes positive employee attitudes.
This kind of structure naturally makes employees feel like they are an important part of creating a product or service that brings substantial satisfaction to its consumers. Naturally, everyone wants to feel that what they do is important and valued. However, it can be difficult for many employees to see the impact of their contribution on the overall reputation of the company and the quality of its products and services. Can you guess what happens then? You guessed it: a lack of team engagement.
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There are techniques that can help to structure a business in a better way, where employees naturally develop this sense of engagement and ownership on their own. These techniques provide every employee with a sense of the importance and meaning of their role in the greater structure of the overall company. They also drive employees to develop a sense of responsibility that doesn’t require constant reinforcement from management.
This organic culture of team engagement means all employees will naturally look for ways to improve what they do. They will want to perform above and beyond the expected through self-directed innovation and entrepreneurship.
The entrepreneurship your employees engage in can boost your company’s opportunities amid tough economic conditions, much like the ones many businesses face today.
Positive attitudes come after letting go of the past and welcoming what’s to come. This takes courage, doing things a little differently. Ditching the conventional opens up limitless possibilities. Try to aim beyond the competitive landscape, trends move fast, and you have to be faster.
There are many other ideas leaders can use to ensure their teams remain engaged, or to re-engage, with their teams. Ask the team! Create an engagement committee that changes quarterly. Be sensitive to new ideas, and recognize everyone is different. While one employee may prefer to video conference from home, another employee may want to toss their computer screen aside for face-to-face communication.
These new workplace models offer a perfect opportunity to initiate new engagement campaigns and tactics that perhaps were not considered before. Recognize times have changed, so it is time for change. Keep in mind that priorities have also changed for many employees the past two plus years and business as usual is not going to move engagement and the all-important workplace culture forward.