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Virtual Team Engagement

The pandemic has taught us many things and new ways of doing our everyday tasks. One of the practices here to stay is remote work and virtual teams.

Is your company one of them?

There’s no denying that many of us are experiencing Zoom fatigue. Keeping your team engaged and happy in these unprecedented times is difficult. It brings up the question of “how can I make sure my team’s connected and thriving”?

There are some strategies that you can implement to achieve this. It’ll inspire your staff and keep them engaged, which benefits your company.

Let’s look at a few of them.

Discover your team

A key factor in building relationships with your staff and co-workers is to get to know them better. Learn who they are when they’re not at work. Do they have hobbies, or what are their interests? Who is their family? Do they have any pets? What do they do on the weekend or for relaxation?

Show a genuine interest in them when having these conversations. Then have follow-up “check-ins” with them to inquire about their shared information. Showing them that you remember the details demonstrates that you care. They, in turn, feel supported and valued and become more engaged in their work.

To make these interactions more meaningful, try not to limit them to online only. Having an occasional face-to-face meeting can go a long way in making someone feel appreciated. You can also have these engagements in a team setting, like a virtual “hang out.”

Pre-pandemic, these connections usually occurred in the break room, during lunch breaks, or at the water cooler. Encourage your team to get to know each other by creating the necessary “space” and time. It can result in a stronger and more committed group of people.

Is this not the aim of all leaders?

Celebrate achievements together

Every team’s goal in the workplace is to reach their targets and be successful.  When you celebrate achievements like meeting a huge deadline, landing an important client, or meeting a KPI as a team, you’re encouraging a positive culture.

Acknowledging your team’s group achievements encourages teamwork and discourages competitiveness. It fosters a favorable attitude which boosts their level of engagement.

There are various ways you can celebrate your teams’ accomplishments virtually, like::

  • Virtual drinks/meals.
  • Care packages are sent to each individual and then opened together online.
  • Have a game night. Play games together online.
  • Acknowledge and publicize your teams’ victories on social media by tagging them and creating hashtags for others to use.

Having a good time helps with team engagement but improves the individual’s mood too. Not everyone enjoys working remotely and may feel isolated and lonely. Participating in these interactions can help cheer them up and boost morale.

Host a virtual team building event

Team building for workplaces has been around for as long as we can remember.

So, how can you make this happen in a virtual space?

Putting together a virtual team-building event isn’t as challenging as it sounds. Zoom is a suitable application, among others, for hosting such a gathering. It’s vital to cultivate strong relationships between co-workers and increase connections.

Team building events are a core part of an employees’ happiness and create a sense of belonging. They also help strengthen communication between teammates and give those with low self-esteem a boost in self-confidence.

An employee gathering with creative activities can also assist in developing creativity within each team member. They’re free to try new things and even make mistakes without judgment. It’s also just a great opportunity to have fun together.  

A team that forms meaningful bonds becomes motivated to work harder and it improves the teams’ engagement.

Reward hard workers

It’s important to acknowledge your employees’ success and hard work to make them feel valued and appreciated. A simple “Well done” won’t always suffice. When an individual’s accomplishments aren't recognized, it may lead to insecurity and fear.

If you previously rewarded staff quarterly or annually for their hard work, you would now need to increase the frequency. Such recognition benefits the individual and spurs the rest of the team to increase productivity and achieve the same.  

A virtual award show like the Habitus House of the Year Awards is a great way to do this in a digital workplace. Public acknowledgment of someone’s hard work is more meaningful than a word of thanks shared privately between a leader and a team member.

In addition, by publicizing a rewards and recognition event, you’re creating marketing opportunities and social media presence. Such positive approval is a sure way of ensuring your team remains engaged and motivated.

Ask for their opinions

The most important asset in your company is your employees. The best way to keep them focused and happy is to ask them what they want and need. When you’re making a decision that greatly impacts them, such as returning to in-person work, ask their opinion.

If most of your workforce isn’t in agreement with returning to the office, then it’s wise not to follow through with it. Enforcing such a decision can lead to demotivation and staff who are disengaging.

Good communication is important in any relationship, especially in the workplace but more so in a virtual setting. It’s also a crucial part of building trust between employers and employees. Have regular Q&A sessions where your staff can ask you questions as well.

Adopt the culture of having more frequent meetings and unplanned check-ins with individuals. By engaging with them in this manner, you can alleviate many of the concerns and fears they may have. You can also obtain useful information to help them do their jobs more effectively and efficiently.

Your team will trust you when they see that their viewpoint matters. Once you’ve established this, your staff can work and interact without hesitation and fully engage.

Offer upskilling and education

By investing in your employees and their futures, you’ll see an increase in retention rate and overall contentment. Discussing and creating a development plan for each team member clarifies what you expect from them.

During these discussions, you can also discover their strengths and weaknesses and where best they fit in the company. You can further enhance the skills of each individual by allowing them to attend courses or workshops. You can also develop their weaker areas in the same way.

Upskilling and education is another retention idea that simultaneously boosts staff morale. A team that’s allowed to improve themselves is much happier and has a positive outlook on the future.

You’ll find your team to be far more engaged as well.

Employee Wellness

An employee’s holistic well-being is something an employer should keep in high regard. One of these areas is the employees’ health, which became a great concern for many companies during the pandemic.

Working remotely and not being able to engage face to face with others has affected many. While some enjoy lockdown and being in isolation, others prefer human interaction. There’s also the problem of employees spending more time sitting and being stagnant than at the office.

You’ld need to ensure that your team is both mentally and physically well.

One way of creating awareness regarding health is to have workshops on various topics. You can also do this on any platform you’re currently using for meetings and events.

Having healthy team members leads to them being more willing and able to engage.

Motivation is key

Keeping a team motivated doesn't happen overnight. It’s a practice that you’ll need to implement consistently over a long period to reap the benefits. It’s, however, evident that keeping your employees enthusiastic and inspired is key to successful team engagement.

These tips will help your team remain focused and prevent the onset of Zoom fatigue. For more ideas on how to manage an online website or run a virtual event for your team, enquire here.

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