It is no secret that employees who feel valued, connected, and engaged perform better. Traditionally measuring the level of engagement was subjective—you could feel the buzz of enthusiasm in a room when you announced a new initiative or launched a new project. Leaders could rely on their gut instincts to see what was working, and what was not. In the last few years as organizations went through a digital transformation, we have lost the innately human advantage of “reading the room”.
During the pandemic companies were forced into duct-taping their workforce with a host of band-aid video-conferencing solutions. It worked – as best as it could. We thought at the time it was temporary, so we accepted the limitations of the brady-bunch boxes, and 2 dimensional interactions. Managers, executives, and leaders let it slide when meetings turned into black screens, and silence—because it was supposed to be temporary. But after more than 2 years of disconnect, we saw the consequences of employee disengagement a mass exodus of people leaving their jobs for something better.
A recent CNBC article shows in 2022 the Great Resignation, or the Great Reshuffle is still going strong with nearly half of employees are job seekers. Better pay, better work-life balance, and better engagement at work are among the reasons employees are leaving.
According to Gallup engaged employees “produce better business outcomes – cross industry, company size and nationality, and in good economic times and bad.” But in a virtual world how do you engage effectively?
- Thoughtful preparation is essential. You must be aware of people who are virtual, and people who are in the office. Plan your hybrid meeting incorporating participation engagement tools like questions, polls, and chat to boost connectivity and involvement.
- Use simple tricks to create and hold a connection with your audience like keeping your laptop camera at eye-level so you are not looking down at your attendees and making direct “eye contact” with the camera when you are speaking. Keep a list of names of attendees and call out in conversation occasionally to keep the flow of information reciprocal.
- A hybrid meeting can be extremely successful when the environment is immersive with live engagement, live back-and forth conversation, and dynamic presentation—the key is investing in technology that works for your organization.
- Employers should expect employees to turn their cameras on and be fully present in a hybrid meeting. Come prepared with trigger questions and encourage contributions. Avoid talking at employees or the audience in a virtual environment. It creates a one-way flow of information, and easily allows the audience to disengage.
- Set expectations for your hybrid meetings early. Treat your hybrid meetings with the same professionalism as you would in-office. Suggest a dress-code for employees working from home so they align with your in-office employees. Turn off cellphones or silence them during virtual meetings.
- In presentations, encourage at least 2 other leaders to contribute to your meeting to encourage overall collaboration. Create task forces that consist of both in-office and remote employees.
- It’s all about making our hybrid world feel as close to reality as possible. It takes a little more effort to cross the screen barrier to connect but using names, asking people questions, personalizing examples are key to effectively connecting.
- Lastly set aside time in your meeting to acknowledge, celebrate, and reward employees’ contributions.
To learn more about how Jugo’s virtual event offering can help you to address the shifting virtual world, check out some more of our insights below.Back to resources