10 Proven Employee Engagement Activities in Times of Uncertainty

Tried and trusted initiatives that will surprisingly give you results, while promoting your business during social distancing.
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She is the Director of Employee Marketing and Internal Communications at the magical resort- Atlantis, The Palm, where she heads a team responsible for thousands of employee engagement initiatives, that are paramount to the retention of 3200 employees.

Every month this year has been a surprising spectacle of proportionally increasing disbelief. Not in the derogatory way of course. Let’s admit it, many of us were skeptical when we first heard about a looming pandemic and did not want to believe the world-wide warnings from scientists, medical professionals and government officials. Which is probably why many companies located across the globe in all but the 15 unaffected countries, did not have a contingent strategy for engagement and internal communications. Organizations are winging it- some successfully, others not particularly.

As an expert in employee engagement and internal communications, in my 12 years of experience in an organization that has been awarded the best employer, I have witnessed many global events, but none come close to affecting the workforce the way this contagion has. As we continue our endeavors of keeping employees positive, productive and engaged during the time of COVID-19, here are my favorite tried and trusted initiatives that will surprisingly give you results while promoting during social distancing!

1. A daily one-page newsletter

with information on how/what your company is doing; if most employees are working from home, or not working at all- it is crucial to establish a more regular communications routine that will create and maintain a sense of connection to their workplace in times of uncertainty.

2. A monthly virtual live-streamed town hall

Meeting lead by senior leadership, with a pre-established agenda and ample time for Q&As from employees in the live comments section. Leadership visibility is paramount. The event must be advertised in advance, and one way to encourage participation is to invite employees to submit questions in advance.

3. Avenues for positive and constructive self-expression

That are accessible to all employees- such as a company intranet, a Facebook page or a similar social platform; all internal communications must be shared on this platform, and concerns and queries of employees addressed within the same day. Immediate or timely responses assuage fears and encourage psychological safety.

4. A weekly video magazine

As long as your company has filming/editing talents (or a budget), where employees’ motivational stories of positivity, human connection and selflessness are included; entertaining quizzes, home sports competitions and other fun activities, as well as company news, may also be included. Visit “Colleagues at Atlantis Dubai” on YouTube for inspiration and view the Atlantis Flash Live on: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrQQ1Xi1ohCMz4tLhsI3Jbw.

5. A four-week campaign to encourage gratitude

Where employees are inspired to count their blessings through peer to peer appreciation letters/cards, personal thank -you videos, channelled online discussions, and competitions. This will focus attention on what they have, and on how little they actually need.

6. Internal virtual online training and development classes

Are essential, because continuous learning increases employee engagement. Sharpen the saw of your employees and encourage them to strive for progress during this downtime. Ambition and potential promotions drive employees and elicit a sense of purpose.

7. Giving back to the community through participating in CSR initiatives

And launching campaigns to promote environmental care- focused on Earth Hour, Environment Day, Ocean Day etc. generate a sense of pride and connection to a company that truly cares.

8. Being physically active

Is a way towards personal wellbeing, which translates to employee engagement. What better way to encourage employees to be active than to create online sports competitions that measure steps and give rewards through a plethora of apps.

9. A short employee wellbeing survey

Which can be done through a simple platform: nothing expensive, time-consuming or complicated. Fifteen questions to assess the psychological engagement and emotional situation of employees. Look for quantitative questionnaires on happiness, optimism and resilience and always include one qualitative or open-ended question.

10. And lastly, employer branding

Can be significantly promoted by sharing the abovementioned activities on recruitment sites such as Glassdoor and LinkedIn; use the collateral from positive employee testimonials and peer to peer thank you videos/cards to apply for best workplace awards!

Humans have always searched for a sense of purpose, and work is irrefutably one such source. Effective communication must always be a two-way road, where the voice of the employee is addressed and acted upon by senior management. A strong leadership team creates a sense of security and promotes employee engagement significantly more than any monetary incentive can.



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