Employee engagement in the new normal

Pic courtesy: Freepik

Needless to say, the pandemic induced chaos continues to brawl humanity even as we enter 2021 amid the hope of the vaccine. Over the last year, while there has been disorder, anarchy, and confusion caused by COVID-19 ruled the state of our physical and mental well-being, we were all shaping the new normal and looking at creating ways to move ahead in life.

WFH wasn’t a new acronym but it was never normal, in fact in the historical context of the pre-pandemic era an employee talking about ‘work from home’ would have only raised eyebrows of suspicion across hierarchies and the human resources team. Well, now it’s a new normal.

Whenever you have new recruits joining, and they interact with their seniors and juniors, exchange information, share thoughts, ideas, and feelings, talk to each other, meet up in canteens, eat lunches together, join for the evening tea, celebrate birthdays, and of course apart from sending loads of word and excel documents over emails, it creates relationships. In all organisations, such relationships are formed horizontally and vertically both and play a great role in the smooth functioning of organisational processes.

Enabling such relationships in an online virtual environment, where one may have hundreds and thousands of people working remotely remains a big challenge for the communicators. Ensuring that their voices are heard by their colleagues, peer groups, and existing management in a timely and responsible manner is another challenge. Creating a sense of attachment and belonging towards the organisation among the newly joined ones, while ensuring their output and productivity rises will be a tough challenge.

Proactive communications are going to play a significant role in every organisation and at all levels. Whether it’s coming from a CEO who needs to reach out to his executive team to ensure the organisation runs perfectly. Sharing his vision, ideas, thoughts, expertise, and feedback regularly with his team in a more pro-active and sustained manner will build better communication flow. All this coming from the absolute top needs to be transparent, emphatic, and motivational too, where the CEOs will require to relate and connect with their colleagues more humanely than ever.

Whenever new employees join any organisation, they start getting an experience as they enter the offices, their physical workplaces, interact with the people around them and there is an instant ‘experience’ of the work culture and the organisation. This experience is built up over the years of their existence within the organisation and their likeability and connectedness to the organisation increases or decreases with this ‘experience.’ Challenge here for the communicators remain is to create strategies and plans for matching up this experience in an online interface, where the new employees often interact with a computer screen.

Time was always of the essence in responding to any crisis and so it was with the current pandemic affected working environment. Those organisations that could see these issues in time and could communicate early are well off when compared to their peers. Early communication builds trust and keeps the people engaged. Similarly, when new people join the organisation, a pro-active connection and repeated communication along with establishing appropriate feedback channels become the key to deliver a great experience within the organisation.

Communication of brand values and corporate values need to take a front seat in all channels of communication, whether internal or external. In the pandemic-induced working environment, it is all the more important to tie-in the newly joined ones in any organisation.

When you share bonds with your employees based on the values, these bonds are much thicker any day. And what a better way to start communicating proactively, with your new employees based on your corporate value ensuring they have a great experience.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Praveen Nagda
Praveen Nagda is the CEO of Peregrine Public Relations, a full-service corporate communications and public relations consultancy firm delivering a pan-India reach to its clients. He also heads White Coffee, an independent events & celebrity engagement company.

Praveen has been closely associated with many national and international events related to cinema for children, art and culture. He has a well-rounded experience that cuts across all key sectors of PR & Corporate Communications.

He started his career with URJA Communications, an advertising agency specialising in technology brands, where he was instrumental in developing the PR division. Post this, he had a stint with Horizons Porter Novelli, a global public relations consultancy. Thereafter, he was heading the IT & Telecom division at Clea PR, a leading Indian public relations and communications company followed by a fairly long stint with Omnicom Group agencies viz. TBWA\India and Brodeur India.

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