Communication is like oxygen and we can't do without it, even in a work environment. The hybrid model of work requires frequent communication, even if you think everything must be clear to everyone. Your team may operate asynchronously and the level of technology skills may vary. Employees who don't have the information they need or feel sidelined won't engage.
At Behavera, we kick things off every Tuesday with an all-hands meeting called Tuesday Rocks, where each team tells what they're working on in one slide. That way we all know what's going on and don't miss the context of what we're working on together as a company. In addition to news from all departments, we have a slide about people, which is dedicated to the introduction of newcomers or serves as an invitation to an online or offline team-building activity.
We always record our half-hour session so that the information is not missed by those who couldn't join at the time. Whether it's Tuesday Rocks or other meetings, we try to do them in a meaningful way (with a pre-determined agenda) and stick to the allotted time.
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Take a genuine interest in your employees' opinions and suggestions, whether they are pleasant or not. One of the most important ways to influence engagement is to create an environment where you listen to each other and where feedback helps you improve whatever is bothering your team. When people see that their opinions matter and they have a chance to make an impact, they will naturally engage because it will be meaningful to them.
Surveys and 1:1 video calls with team leaders work great in a hybrid setting. Surveys allow people to think deeply about what they want to say and how. Video calls, on the other hand, are a fine tool for follow-up conversations where individual suggestions can be discussed and added context. And thanks to location independence, you can make meetings more enjoyable, for example by combining them with a walk or relaxing in the garden.
Micromanagement is a trust killer and in hybrid work can have a big impact on engagement. If employees feel trapped like birds in a cage where their every move is under scrutiny, their motivation will go down the drain.
However, if you base your relationship on trust and give people autonomy and accountability for their results, their productivity will flourish. Hybrid working has enabled many to work in a personalized environment, including working hours. Instead of counting hours worked, give people the freedom to organize their work as they see fit.
One of the values at Behavera is trust by default. People have been selected for the team who have personal values that are in alignment with the company values. That's how we know we can rely on everyone.
When operating in hybrid mode, some team members may miss informal places like the kitchen for friendly conversation. Whether you use Slack, Teams, or another alternative, create a space where colleagues can just chat, share memes, or discuss the latest episode of a favorite show.
If your team is new like ours, informal video calls could help you get to know each other. We have Couch Talks every Friday, where we interview one of our own and close with a fun quiz on topics that the person enjoys. It's a nice way to get to know each other and find out that you work with great and interesting people. If you like your colleagues affects, among other things, your engagement at work.
A job well done is a given, but mistakes are the end of the world? That approach is outdated. Praise and recognition for successful projects have a great impact on the psychological well-being and sense of fulfillment of employees.
According to a study, up to 66% of people would quit their jobs if they felt unappreciated. For younger generations, this figure rises to 76%. Managers with a tough-love approach can cost a company a fortune and it pays to switch to a people-first approach.
The biggest challenge of working in remote mode is disconnecting from work. When employees commute to the office, the journey to and from work is a rite of passage between home and work. The home office has eliminated this long-cultivated habit, and the result is burnt-out employees (along with trends like The Great Resignation and Quiet Quitting).
During the pandemic, it became apparent that simply closing a laptop at the end of the day in the home office environment wasn't enough to mentally disconnect from work. People often check email and Slack on their mobile phones, thinking that 'just in case' someone was looking for them. However, the lack of continuous availability is a result of a lack of communication of expectations. And if messages from the boss are coming in at 10 pm, then he's not exactly setting a good example. A healthy work-life balance contributes to employee well-being, and satisfaction leads to greater engagement.
Employees become disengaged when work becomes a boring routine that is unfulfilling and lacks opportunities to grow. Company training is often seen as a cost instead of an investment. It tends to be one of the first things budgets are cut. This move comes back like a boomerang to companies in the form of unhappy, disengaged employees, and even frequent resignations.
Even a small budget can come a long way. Instead of costly external training, look for potential tutors within your talent pool. Training and mentoring is a win-win for both parties, employees can learn new skills, and the trainer or mentor can gain valuable experience and develop their skills. And maybe even earn a little extra money or get an interesting bonus.
What works in a remote setting for your team? Share it with us on LinkedIn and make us happy if you recommend the article to your colleagues.
 Forbes.com, 66% Of People Would Quit If They Feel Unappreciated, author Victor Lipman
 Gallup.com, What Millennials Want From Work and Life, author Amy Adkins