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How can organizations increase employee engagement in this new normal?

The pandemic has turned our world upside down – personally and professionally, causing a lot of stress, suffering and disruption in our lives. We all have to remember “it is what it is” and we just cannot hope to turn back the clock and go back to how it was before the pandemic. We have to accept this new normal whether one likes it or not and have to find innovative ways to adapt and reinvent our personal and professional lives. Organizations of all sizes have to re-think and reimagine their growth as well as workforce engagement strategies. Businesses have to create a conducive environment which makes it easier for employees and customers to connect, collaborate and communicate in a new way. Companies have to redefine rigid policies and procedures and accelerate investments not just in newer technologies but also in new processes

Operating this new way is not at all easy for anyone. Many are struggling to adapt to this new working environment. Given the stressed business scenario, it is natural for business executives, middle managers and staff to react or take decisions based on insecurities and doubts. Over the past four years, I have faced many adversities which have changed my life forever. I am slowly adapting to my new normal and trying to rebuild every element of my life and reinventing myself. I have tried different things to heal my mind, body and spirit. I believe, the many proven insights that have helped me face my own adversities, and when implemented by business professionals, can help create a harmonious workplace environment in this new way of doing business. I hope my tips and suggestions on how they can all better adapt to this new normal and remain an asset to their employers and colleagues will be helpful. Several of these tips are also documented in my upcoming memoir ‘One Fine Day’.

  • Act from a place of empathy

When working on an assignment, a person may not react amicably to a challenge. Be kind and compassionate toward others in these tough times..

  • Practice gratitude

It may sound ironic to comprehend ‘practicing gratitude’ in the midst of a crisis, but these are exactly the times when one needs to step back and be mindful of the positive facts and being grateful for whatever is still intact. Nothing heals and strengthens like gratitude. Expressing gratitude is a choice.

  • Don’t play the victim

One cannot play “the victim card” beyond a certain time. It’s okay to pity yourself initially, but that has to stop quickly so one can slowly begin to accept the new reality. Whether it’s a difficult work schedule or balancing multiple roles within the household, it’s okay to recognize that the situation is hard, but try to focus on practical steps that can alleviate the problem.

  • Do Not Compare

In this new climate, comparing your business strategies, processes or business and personal goals with others can be counterintuitive and cause mental strain. Don’t allow yourself to focus on what you aren’t doing. You and your business will grow at its own pace and that is perfectly okay.

  • Take Ownership of your decisions

Engage folks inside and outside your organization to get as much feedback and input as possible regarding various initiatives or processes. Take that feedback as mere inputs and not end all. Folks mean well and will offer several ideas and suggestions. But at the end of the day, only YOU can evaluate those and decide what is in the best interest for you and your company.

  • Be Humble

Adopt a ‘can do’ attitude. It’s the best antidote when fighting challenges faced by your organization. But do it with humility. It keeps you grounded and prepared to face any setbacks.

  • Be flexible

Work can be done in organizations through many means. Not all initiatives or projects need a project team. Some can be done by the right individuals. Be flexible and open to how projects get executed to deliver results.

  • Don’t take employee fatigue personally

In these trying times, many employees will feel overwhelmed and fatigued as they are trying to balance their personal and professional lives. Don’t take this fatigue personally. It has nothing to do with you or your leadership skills or with your organization. Instead focus on developing strategies to help them deal with it without being pushed to a burning point.

  • Diversity in workplace is enriching

In these times, it is ever more important to focus on building a diverse workforce. Not just people from varied ethnic backgrounds, nationalities, and genders, but also folks who bring diversity of thought to face various challenges. Also, to increase diversity in the workplace, it is essential more than ever to build cross-functional and global teams to do work as they bring different perspectives for problem solving and driving innovation.

  • Make Life Smoother for Others

If you see a colleague struggling, offer to help even if it’s outside your realm of expertise. Remind yourself and your coworkers constantly that you are one team. Build a positive work environment and culture and build trust with employees in this remote working environment by being transparent in sharing timely information and developing collaborative approaches to various tasks.


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