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Three key strategies for employee engagement in a hybrid workplace

The transition to hybrid has been challenging, but with a new perspective and the right tools it can be a route towards increased employee engagement and a more productive culture

The expectations of the modern workplace have transformed in many ways over the past few years, but the most notable shift has been the move to hybrid work models. While hybrid work looks different for every company, a commonly shared challenge is how employees stay engaged with their organisation.

Employers are not only struggling to get employees to get back into the office, but to establish a sense of community where every employee feels like they’re involved and important, no matter where they’re working from. In this article, we’ll go over three key strategies to keep hybrid employees engaged in the modern workplace.

Evaluate how you communicate

In the hybrid workforce, communication is key. Evaluate what workplace tools and technologies are being used at your workplace to enable communication between employees, by asking these three key questions:

  • Do they have easy access to corporate communications and resources?
  • Do they have ways to communicate with one another about topics outside of work?
  • Do remote and in-person employees have equal opportunities for engagement?

If the needs expressed in the questions above are not being fulfilled at your workplace, here are three ways to improve your communication strategy to engage your hybrid employees:

  • Create multiple channels of communication: not every employee can easily find and access corporate communications via email. Consider cross-posting on internal channels such as Slack, Microsoft Teams and pushing both desktop and mobile notifications to ensure all employees are in-the-know.
  • Ensure resources are fully accessible within a few clicks: while you may have created valuable resources for your people, if they’re hidden away in a maze of folders and emails, your people may be unable to easily find and access them. Boost accessibility by ensuring that they can get to resources in 1-3 clicks from the main screen, on-mobile and desktop.
  • Build peer-to-peer online communities: invite and allow employees to create their groups and forums based on interests (ex: cat lovers), values (ex: LGBTQ+ alliance) and hobbies (ex: running) so they can share and engage with one another on their interests outside of work. Slack or an employee experience platform is a good avenue to accomplish this.

When you build a communications strategy with the needs of hybrid employees in mind, you’ll discover new and exciting ways to engage with your employees, no matter their location.

Create a mobile-first experience

Having a mobile-first environment makes sense now more than ever, with employees always being on-the-go. The ability to access work materials and get push notifications through an app can make a big difference in their ability to manage their own schedules, engage with colleagues and have access to important resources when needed. All of that being in one place, on a hand-held device, streamlines collaboration so they don’t miss any notifications, whether they’re using email, Slack or Zoom.

An employee experience app also connects employees no matter where they’re working from, by offering a wide variety of automated and personalised touchpoints that make it easier to arrive at work, stay focused, collaborate and take care of their mental and physical health at work. Examples of these features include:

  • Company News Feed: Having a company-wide news feed that posts information regularly, on their global operations as well as their local office.
  • Desk, Room & Amenity Booking & Sharing: Employees can instantly see which on-site resources are available in real-time, so they can book desks, reserve meeting rooms and access resources on-demand or in advance, for themselves and their teams.
  • Quick Pulse Surveys & Polls: Employees can be notified via mobile to weigh-in and share their feedback, instantly.
  • Ordering Food & Reserving Parking: Employees can easily order food & drinks as well as reserve parking for their car or bike, straight from their mobile app.
  • Digital Resources for Physical and Mental Wellbeing: An employee app can offer direct access to virtual counselling, fitness classes and resources on wellbeing, without the hassle of creating a secondary account or having to navigate another desktop or mobile app.

Due to advancements in mobile technology in recent decades, employees are already managing many aspects of their lives on their smart phone through apps like Uber, Google Calendar and more. By offering your hybrid employees a workplace experience app, you can help employees seamlessly integrate their workday into their lifestyle and offer them new ways to save time, increase productivity and boost collaboration in a way that is accessible and personalized to their needs.

Redesign your office

With the hybrid work model at the forefront, the function of the corporate campus has completely changed. Physical offices and corporate campuses used to be the centre of workplace experience, offering employees a place to work, collaborate and connect with their colleagues. Now that employees have the means to communicate with their colleagues wherever they are and have become accustomed to working remotely with tools like Slack and Zoom, how can you add value to their day when they come into the office? How can the office become a new place for engagement and interaction?

Here are three ways to redesign your office to elevate engagement for your hybrid workforce:

Open spaces: By changing the design of an office from only having individual desks to long tables, larger conference rooms, and open floor plans, it serves as a great opportunity to get employees connecting with each other at the office. And with a colleague booking tool on an employee experience app, employees can know exactly who they’re working with, to avoid a disappointing empty office experience.

Amenities to promote wellness: Give employees access to amenities where they can focus on their health and wellbeing, such as a gym, well-equipped kitchen or yoga room. Wellness workshops can also be hosted in the office, where employees can attend in-person or virtually. With an employee experience app, it’s easy to communicate and promote events happening in the office through a news feed to ensure everyone gets the same information.

Promote nearby hospitality: From nearby coffee shops and restaurants to recommended hotels for guests, excite employees by recommending places nearby that they can’t attend at home through the “Dining” or “Stay Here” tab in the employee experience app. You can even ask them to provide their own recommendations of places they’ve had a great experience at to keep the choices authentic. With that, plan employee lunches to increase connectivity and engagement, and to encourage employees to see the value in coming to the office.

Elevating employee engagement

Building a great employee experience for a distributed team can be a challenge. However, by evaluating and updating your communications, mobile accessibility and office design strategies, you can make multiple improvements that lead to better employee experiences in the short and long-term. With greater communication and feedback from your employees, you can also continuously optimise and improve your hybrid workplace, leading to higher fulfilment and satisfaction from your employees.

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