Rethinking everything from scratch
There are several ways to think about employee engagement. In this article, I´ll focus on an ecological perspective of engagement, considering the organization as a living organism.
Organizations can have from two up to thousands of people working together, giving their best to accomplish the big mission, and if there is excellence in communication, they should all be driven by the organization’s vision. For that kind of authentic alignment to happen, the values and the culture of the company should be embedded in the daily activities and life everyone breathes.
At the beginning of 2020, we all had an established set of rules that thought to help things work, promoting healthy behaviors, enhancing the sense of personal well-being, and contributing to everyone’s motivation to lead organizational success. It can be said that the rules and conditions in which the living organism lived before, are completely different from today’s reality. And that applies for every one of the members of the organization, which, just for stating the obvious, are also living organisms.
“If the conditions of the environment change, the emerging result will be different.”
People who used to be engaged by the culture, mission, vision, and even self-driven and self-motivated, may be living a different reality today. If you are a VP, manager, or associate at your organization and before-Covid your children were at school and then with some extra-curricular activities, you and your husband were working at the office from 9 to 5, and your routine was pretty solid…well, that is not happening anymore.
Now you are 24/7 at home with your whole family, having school from home, work from home, health from home, and so on. Life has changed as a result of the conditions in the environment changing. So there is a big possibility that what used to be engaging for you back at the beginning of the year, is even dis-engaging today.
In order to answer the question of how to promote employee engagement in today’s world, we need to understand the conditions surrounding those who make possible the organization to be alive, the organization itself, and the social system in which it functions.
1.Individually, most of the people are working from home. Their reality is still uncertain, without knowing if they will go back to their workplace, when, or if they will continue to work from home. They are connected through the screen with their team members, having video-conferences all day long, probably working more hours, and getting burned out, since abrupt change is hard for everyone. Additionally, at home, they now spend all day with their families, re-learning how to be parents, and living in a society that pushes us to “do-do-do” instead of “being”, leaving us with the overwhelming feeling of dissatisfaction. And if the person lives alone, then she or he has to struggle with loneliness.
2.Organizationally, everything changed. Many organizations weren’t prepared for such a sudden change, and if their structure wasn’t flexible enough, the adaptation process may be still undergoing several losses in the way. You should ask yourself, did your organization emphasize the role of resilience before-Covid? Is it working on it now? Or is it something that is not discussed at all? When the organization isn’t considered as a living organism, it may suffer from isolated departments having their own agenda, working on the same objective but pulling in different directions, based on poor communication and competitiveness between departments (instead of cooperation). In today’s world, cooperation and communications are considered to be key components of any adaptive and resilient organism. A culture based on video-conferences, with HR departments compartmentalized and focused on putting out fires, is doomed to continue repeating history instead of evolving.
“Today demands from both the individual and the organization to shift their attention towards cultivating cooperation, excellent communication, and above all, emotional intelligence and healthy behaviors as a whole. There is a need for transformation.”
How can a living organism adapt and transform in such a chaotic environment?
– Understanding the needs of their members: actively listening to them. Surveys may have had a good effect in the past, but today there is a need for human interaction.
–Unifying with other departments and working together for the good of the living organism, opening new channels of communication, and new combined strategies.
–Coordinating with external providers, vendors, and organizations to work together and promote healthier behaviors, updating the rewards system, and trying to assist from home.
If your work can have an impact on your organization, think about what can make a difference. How can you help those working from home to cultivate their emotional intelligence, their sense of belonging, and healthier behaviors? From MindCotine, we have a creative and innovative strategy to help a niche of your population by not only helping them to quit smoking but also promoting the practice of mindfulness, the use of new technology such as Virtual Reality, while reducing health-related costs for the company. It is designed for the new reality.
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