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New Year, New Team Enagagement

leadership transition Jan 12, 2023

- By Sophie Pinkoski

 In the past few years, the pandemic has made us rethink our priorities in terms of what is worth our time and energy.

Many people have discovered they are no longer receiving the same fulfilling benefits from their job as they did before.

By disengaging from their work, they may still be physically present, but psychologically absent. According to Gallup research, employee engagement is at an 11% all time low. In essence, too many people are no longer thriving at work. What’s more, people have higher expectations for how they are treated within their working environment. If they’re not getting the fulfillment they need from their current job, they will eventually go elsewhere.  

According to Dr. Varun Choudry, Chief Medical Officer of Talkspace, “Successful organizations and employee wellness are intricately linked. Employers must… make meaningful investments in the employees’ long-term well-being. Their workplaces depend on it.” Fortunately, as a leader, you have the power to keep your team members engaged. You can empower them to continue to create and innovate. 

So, how can you keep your team motivated to go beyond the bare minimum of their job requirements? 

Ensure psychological safety – The first thing people need to stay engaged in their work is job security. They need to know that their position is in no risk of becoming redundant. From there, it’s important to reiterate the importance of their role, especially in how it impacts the organization.

Psychological safety also means giving them a supportive environment where they are comfortable asking questions, sharing ideas and opinions, and acknowledging when they’ve made a mistake. These areas allow them to identify their strengths and weaknesses, which can be further challenged by filling their skill gaps wherever needed.

They want to feel secure in both the job itself and in effectively using the unique abilities they bring to the team. 

Validate their work – With many people still working from home, it’s become increasingly difficult to acknowledge the good work they’re doing. What may have been second nature while everyone was still in the office has become something that must be done more intentionally.

Go out of your way to let your team members know when they are doing an excellent job.

As Gallup’s Global Practice Leader, Ed O’Boyle suggests, “Good recognition staves off burnout, lack of recognition kindles it”. This means celebrating not just big wins, but the day to day accomplishments too. But the burden of remembering regular validation doesn’t have to fall on your shoulders alone. “If you want your company to thrive and innovate, you must invest in your employees with the right tools and feedback that will enable them to be engaged and motivated in their roles”, says Elizabeth DeGroot, Director of People and Finance at Eden. Meaning, you should ensure that your whole team understands the difference between good and bad work within the context of furthering your organization’s mission. When everyone knows what a good job looks like, they can identify their peers’ successes and celebrate them together. 

Build trust with open communication and transparency – When you keep everyone updated on the organization’s news, both good and bad, you’re leading with reassuring honesty. In doing so, your team members may be confident enough to come forward with innovative ways to both solve problems and take advantage of upcoming opportunities.

Sharing your reasoning behind certain decisions that impact both your team members and the organization as a whole means they can better understand where they fit within the grand scheme of things.

From there, they can find deeper meaning in the work they are doing. 

Adapt to their needs – An integral part of people shifting priorities during the pandemic has been setting new boundaries in order to protect their health and wellbeing as well as that of their families. This means respecting those boundaries when they come to you with certain requests. Give them the support they need to maintain those boundaries, accommodating them wherever necessary. For instance, this will most likely mean customizing working arrangements for each team member, whether that’s letting them take a remote or hybrid approach. 

Everyone’s expectations have changed over time.

Recalibrating to adapt to a post-COVID world instead of having everyone go back to the way things were, will give your team members options that best suit their current lifestyle.

Giving individuals a sense of purpose will be key to keeping them engaged in the coming months. If you can make them feel like a respected and valued member of your team, they will be more open to giving back more time and effort to the organization. 


Further Reading:

6 Ways to Engage Employees After COVID-19, Tictac 

Re-Engage Employees in a Post-Covid World, Liferay 

Stop ‘Quiet Quitting’ Before it Happens: 5 Proactive Steps to Take, HR Morning 

Why Half the Workforce is Quiet Quitting and What to do About it, Forbes 

5 Way to Help Employees Reach Their Full Potential, HR Forecast 

3 Strategies to Help Employees Thrive in the New “Normal”, Harvard Business Review 

How to Re-Engage Your Employees Post-Covid, Renew HR 

Keeping Hybrid Employees Engaged, Harvard Business Review 

Keeping You Weary Workers Engaged and Motivated, Harvard Business School 




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