How are you keeping your staff engaged remotely?

Steve CloughesySteve Cloughesy VP Americas Customer Support DeliveryFounding Member | Scholar ✭✭

Hello Community - With all of our Support Engineers working from home around the globe, it is becoming harder and harder to keep everyone feeling engaged and part of the team.

Looking for thoughts and ideas on how you are doing this with your teams.

Answers

  • Brian RudyBrian Rudy Director, Business Process Management Founding Member | Scholar ✭✭

    Our head of HR and CEO host daily broadcasts (many with live Q&A and inspirational employee stories from the employees themselves) at noon US ET to make sure everyone knows what is going on across our Employee-Customer-Shareholder-Society stakeholder ecosystem. Many teams host team-level 10-15 minute end-of-day video check-ins daily, and virtual video social hours, weekly. The dailies keep those who typically solved action items "in the hallway" in a familiar place, and the social hours are typically kept "non-business" leveraging online games and the like. We have been running company-wide employee surveys every 2-4 weeks to make sure we are hitting on the right things and allaying any concerns. We also setup a COVID-specific internal website updated by the hour to cover all aspects including Return To Office plans, how our company is responding in the broader society, links to live group exercise classes hosted by internal coaches, COVID_specific health resources and CDC guidance, and even COVID-oriented volunteer opportunities (that many teams do together virtually.)

  • Brian, some great ideas!

    With my customer success team I try and do a different event activity a couple times a month. Because our world is so virtual meeting intensive, I want to have programs that don't feel like another Zoom/Team meeting and create personal connections that are memorable and fun. What I have enjoyed is how team members are getting to know each other personally. Some of the events I have hosted:

    Virtually happy hour - bring your favorite drink

    We posted bad haircut pictures as our Team picture and voted for our favorite.

    Virtual walk - we all went on Teams and went outside on a walk together taking turns sharing our different locations.

    Everyone posted a backdrop of the band/singer from a top hit song from the year they were 12. Lots of memories of Andy Gibbs Shadow Dancing. very fun.

    We played Drawful (jackbox game) - we learned there is not an artist in our group but lots of creative people.

    We shared pet pictures as a Teams backdrop and shared about our pets - one team member had a pet rock. it counts.

    Social breaks provide connections and a chance to enjoy our time together - even if it's virtual.

  • Steven ForthSteven Forth Managing Partner Founding Partner | Expert ✭✭✭

    We have daily scrums (we follow an agile method for most of our work). In the daily scrums we now test how people are doing. For people we have identified as being at risk, we have daily one on ones. We also have a weekly general discussion. We have introduced general open working sessions and open learning sessions, which are times when people have sharing open and can chat as they work on some shared work or learning theme. We are also paying closer attention to daily performance and engagement indicators.

    Regularly connecting to the organizational purpose also seems to be help. Leaders need to weave these into conversations.

  • Sarah LowneySarah Lowney Director of Professional Services, EMEA Founding Member | Scholar ✭✭

    Completely agree on that last point. I'm doing a virtual lunch once a week with my team with the sole purpose of discussing organisation updates I pick up in other meetings - initiatives, news, what the leadership team are working on and reminding people that its still BAU when it comes to goals/OKR's, quarter check ins and career discussions.

    Two other things I've found successful:

    1. Taking time to keep remembering and celebrating birthdays, work anniveraries, leavers, baby showers etc.
    2. Having one or more team members take the spotlight every week and give a 15 minute deep-dive of whatever project they're working on. Without the office prescence it's been hard to keep updated on what everyone is doing.

    And generally as a leader, being present so everyone knows you are still around and accessible.

  • David PerraultDavid Perrault VP Product Support and Customer Care Founding Analyst | Scholar ✭✭

    Yes we are starting to see signs as well of what we decided to call the "COVID fatigue". Over time, the isolation takes its toll on some individuals who seem to lose focus and energy. Additional virtual sessions as mentioned above do help, however we have to remember that each individual is different and will not react as effectively to these team-based activities. For some team member, you need to spend more time individually with them.

  • Cindy YoungCindy Young Senior Manager Founding Member | Scholar ✭✭

    Our Professional Services leader makes time for virtual happy hours regularly - during these times we do not discuss work but instead weekend or vacation plans, our favorite chocolate, we don silly hats or wigs, etc. - anything but work!

  • Patrick MartinPatrick Martin Senior Director, Technical Support Founding Analyst | Scholar ✭✭

    Along the same lines as everyone else, we host virtual happy hours, weekly Jackbox games every Friday noons, and the beauty of it is that most of these activities are lead by team members. We also have the open forums for them to discuss and chat while working, trying to stay connected as much as possible, just like in the office. We also did a virtual escape room as part of our quarterly activity. Weekly operational meetings along with monthly strategic update meetings are held to ensure people are well informed. In our last monthly meeting, we held a special edition of our Yearly Support Awards, calling them Confinement Edition. We identified winners for categories such as:

    • Best hair
    • Best technical setup
    • Always positive
    • We miss you (not seen on camera since confinement began)
    • etc.

    The idea was to have some fun with it and take the mind off work and isolation. As most of you mentioned, weekly 1 on 1s with management are held, daily SCRUMs, etc. We ask that our leaders stay close to their folks as much as possible, so that we can act swiftly if we feel someone is at risk.

    The company has also put a series of measures in place that employees can benefit from if needed.

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