With lockdowns being lifted and vaccines against the Covid-19 working to keep us all healthy, many companies continue to operate online, either partially or fully.
Working remotely offers better work-life balance – You can make lunches in your kitchen, wear those yoga pants all day, and maybe work on the patio you’ve been working to fix up. And while the interaction rates with your pets might be at an all-time high, interaction and engagement across employees can drop significantly. But is engagement significant? Does it impact employee experience and the company generally? And if so, how can digital employee engagement be improved?
What is Digital Employee Engagement?
When workplaces go digital, the methods for keeping employees engaged and active in the workplace also go digital. Efforts made on the company’s part to keep the digital employee experience fun, engaging, and productive come collectively under the umbrella term “Digital Employee Engagement.”
Engagement in the workplace, even digital, is extremely important. This is because reduced engagement directly impacts employee productivity. According to a Gallup report, workplaces with the best employee engagement see 17% higher productivity. In turn, these companies are also 21% more profitable.
But employee productivity isn’t the only reason you should seek to increase engagement. Keeping your employees interested also helps improve their mental health and prevent boredom.
Even after knowing all this, you might face difficulty finding the right way to increase digital employee engagement. Check out the following methods to improve your digital employee experience and boost overall engagement.
How to Increase Employee Engagement in the Digital Workplace
Offer Them an Online Course for Upskilling
Having a job isn’t just about working like a machine for a paycheck.
Today, most working professionals like to grow and develop their skills while doing their jobs. Unfortunately, the opportunities to do this come few and far between. Heavy workloads, family commitments, and other emergencies prevent employees from taking time out for themselves and learning new skills. However, with employees’ commute time transitioning from an hour in traffic to just a trip down the stairs, employees may have more time to devote to improving their skills and learning.
Consider gifting an online course or learning tool. Doing this can be one of the best ways to engage your employees digitally. Several companies offer relevant online courses – Udemy, Coursera, Edx, etc. Choose a course that you think will benefit a particular employee or department the most.
Create an Employee Cookbook
This is one of the most unique and fun digital employee engagement activities.
When they’re in the office, your employees bond over coffee, lunch breaks, and maybe potluck events. Transitioning these types of social activities online can feel forced, or even worse, a waste of time. Nothing is worse than a Zoom happy hour where there’s not a topic to talk about. That’s where a digital employee cookbook comes in to save the day.
With a recipe sharing app like Morsel, you can create shared employee cookbooks online. Simply create a group, invite your employees, and your coworkers can share the recipes they love the most.
Wanting to focus on one theme? No problem.
Categorize your recipes to focus on cocktails, desserts, holiday favorites, or cultural recipes to highlight your team’s diversity. Employees can add as many recipes as they want and even create private groups with their friends and family for personal recipe sharing.
If you have a real crew of foodies, you can order a printed copy and gift it on special occasions or as a way to show your appreciation to your employees.
Emphasize Your Company Values
Your company’s mission and vision statements aren’t just words. Emphasizing them creatively can be an excellent tool to boost employee engagement.
Every time an employee or a department takes a step that reinforces your value statement or brings you closer to the company goals, make an appreciation video showing exactly how they did that. The key is to keep reminding employees what they’re working for and how it benefits their mutual and personal aspirations.
You can easily do this by using a video recording software like Loom.
Show Your Appreciation
Words of affirmation go a long way, especially when used in a public forum.
First things first, do not wait too long to publicly give that shout-out. If someone has done excellent work and they don’t receive recognition soon after finishing, feelings of disappointment start to creep in and those job postings from other companies begin to look more appealing.
In a digital environment, posting a message over a common group on Discord, Slack, or any other software you use is important to ensure that others are aware of the praise being given. Encourage other colleagues to get involved and celebrate the job well done with a comment or further kudos.
Play Online Games
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, and that’s even truer when you have a digital workplace. Trade those awkwardly silent online happy hours for something to engage your entire team enough (and maybe they’ll accept invitations to future happy hours).
One of our favorite online games for your team is Quiplash:
Whether Slack, Teams, or Google Hangouts, there are plenty of options for packaged integrations or ways to create your own games. The goal is to get your teammates to connect on a human level without thinking about work. It’s also an excellent icebreaker for new employees and creates a teamwork-centric environment.
Take Online Health Challenges Together
Corporate health programs are nothing new, but fulfilling them gets pretty challenging if your employees are working from home. To keep the spirit of being healthy alive while boosting digital employee engagement at the same time, you can invest in online health challenges.
Encourage your employees to download a corporate wellness app where you can host health contests and set weekly goals with incentives. To complement the platform, fold in some of those words of affirmation that we talked about earlier by creating a health channel in Teams or Slack to shout out achievements.
Improving digital employee engagement is an ongoing goal. Use these six ways provided here to launch your own creative endeavors to create a team-centric environment even without being in the same office. Remember, a happy, productive employee is an engaged employee. Every step you take to boost engagement is worth it, no matter how small the effort.
Caroline is a co-founder of Morsel – a family recipe cookbook software. When she not working on making our recipe sharing app better for our users Caroline can be found dancy her heart out, exploring the beautiful mountains of North Carolina, and traveling the world one new country at a time.