There’s no bigger loss than an employee losing interest in working for the company. Also, once they have reached that mindset, very few turn back. It’s not that management doesn’t value its employee, as several companies set aside budgets to invest in employee training and growth programs but maintaining and improving employee connections is never an easy-going task. So, there’s no way to pinpoint one particular reason that affects an employee’s affiliation with its leaders and peers but, lack of communication and synergy has always surpassed others in the race.
Good synergy amongst team and leaders is crucial for the business to succeed in the long run. Before the pandemic, weekly meetings, one-on-one rendezvous, performance reviews, and many other activities were initiated by leaders and the HRs to reinforce employee connections. Given employees are the backbone of the company; management ensured they were heard, encouraged, and promoted to bring out the best talent on the table. However, 2020 changed everything. The uncalled-for virus brought about a shift that nobody had the time to realize and react to. Businesses had no option but to capitalize on the most apparent solution – remote working. Work from home was the new normal, and soon the management had several tricky situations to deal with due to the culture shift, and maintaining employee connections was one of them.
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The team leaders and management were inherently concerned that a lack of communication amongst the employees would have an adverse effect on the company’s day-to-day operations and strategies. Worse, the shift would be overwhelming for new employees who have come on board before or during the pandemic. Making them feel a part of the team that they are yet to meet physically was a mission they have to counter and accomplish. Hence, 2020 witnessed a boom in meetings, and the management thought they had cracked the code to sustain and create employee connections.
There were meetings for every discussion to prevent communication gaps. Issues that could have been solved and comprehended on mails were labeled meeting-worthy. Video calling apps like Zoom, Google Meet, and more became virtual meeting rooms. Soon, on average, teams were attending more meetings than they were pre-pandemic. Online meeting culture witnessed a massive boost. However, what the management thought would solve all their concerns regarding maintaining and creating employee connections came across as a jolt to them by the end of the year. Why? The employees were tired of meetings.
With at least one meeting a day, they felt more like trifling gatherings to mark their attendance, as most of them could have been comprehended on an email or did not require their presence. With management trying their best to keep everyone on the same page through regular virtual huddles, these meetings weren’t productive like they were anymore. Employees were stressed, overworked, and the ‘Zoom culture’ was widening the gap rather than narrowing it. Hence, meetings need to be substituted with employee-driven methods to build connections rather than blighting them.
Here are some measures that can help create and maintain employee connections:
Cut down on trivial meetings: “Meetings that could have been an email” is not a water cooler gossip or an online gag anymore. Trivial meetings reflect how leaders perceive their employee’s time and efforts. Hence, it is essential to reformat to more meaningful meetings or with a smaller group. This will give attendees more visibility and help the leader build employee connections and rapport with every co-worker.
Keep employees in the loop: Besides virtual meetings, there are umpteen mediums that allow leaders to keep their team informed about the happenings and progresses. First, emails. Share minutes of the meeting with the employees who were not a part of the meeting to stay updated. Given most of the meeting apps have a recording option, sharing video links can help those who want detailed insights. Moreover, use social networking groups by asking employees to send EOD updates so everyone stays in the loop.
Connect, listen, and pay heed to what your employee is saying: Make your employee feel a significant part of the company. Ask leaders to arrange virtual one-on-ones with every co-worker or with small groups frequently. Attend to topics other than work that might make the employees feel at ease to open up about any concerns that are bothering them. Besides being a good listener, addressing and responding to employee’s problems will always be constructive in maintaining employee connections.
Virtual coffee breaks: Lighten up the atmosphere by holding virtual coffee breaks with your team. Encourage team bonding with activities, games, or conversations on topics other than work. Give your team a break in between work to refresh and reconnect with each other, especially new employees, for whom these lapses could be great ice breakers.
Recognize and appreciate achievers: Appreciation and recognition are the best forms of motivation. Give virtual shoutouts to employees who have achieved targets or have performed exceptionally during the week. Recognize hard workers, appreciate good ideas, and applause target meets and deadline completions to keep the team motivated and focused on the goals.
Arrange online workshops and training sessions: The pandemic has made businesses and employees realize the need for upskilling and reskilling, so arranging workshops and training sessions would be a constructive move. Also, the leaders must reach out to employees who are falling back in line and help them redefine and achieve their goals. Simply put, investment in your team’s talent and skill will only be fruitful for the organization in the future.
These are some of the constructive ways that the management must consider rather than meetings to improve, reinforce and maintain employee connections while remote working. Only when your employees feel at ease, motivated, and appreciated will they deliver their best. Meetings are crucial, but when it comes to building connections, the leaders must think beyond the virtual meeting rooms and invest in employee-driven methods to strengthen relationships. With the country still gripped in the pandemic, it’s high time companies start moving on from extensive meetings to more productive means to build employee connections, given remote working is here to stay.
- You Can Create Employee Connections Without More Meetings | Mary Baker | 17 March 2021
- 5 Ways to Connect With Your Team on a Personal Level | John Hall | 20 October 2019
- 11 highly effective ways to connect with employees | Mary Delaney | 4 May 2019
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