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Déjà Leonard is a copywriter and freelance journalist based in Calgary.
Employees are leaving their jobs in record-breaking numbers, increasing the pressure on companies to retain talent by finding new ways to engage their employees and get a sense of what is making them choose to stay or go.
Hosting appreciation or engagement events is one idea companies or managers can leverage to show employees that they care while connecting them to their peers so they feel a greater sense of community.
“From a manager’s perspective, to be able to really have the chance to engage with employees, no matter where they are, allows inclusivity that much more and it allows the manager to really get to know their teams a little bit more intimately,” says Alexandra Schrecengost, founder of Virtual With Us, which organizes custom virtual corporate experiences.
Hosting a hybrid event that is engaging for in-person and remote team members is easier said than done, but Ms. Schrecengost, who has worked with companies such as Johnson & Johnson and PepsiCo, has a few tips to make it a success.
1. Provide the same experience in person and online
Ensuring the people online are getting just as much value as those who are attending in person brings “fluidity to the event overall,” Ms. Schrecengost says.
For a tasting event at a winery, for example, Ms. Schrecengost’s team arranged for a box to be shipped to remote attendees with the same food and wine their in-person colleagues would be enjoying. To keep them in sync, there was a drone taking real-time video of the tour, and a sommelier describing the wines to all of the virtual employees.
2. Plan to integrate your remote and in-person employees
“When you’re looking at concepts for hybrid, you have to consider how to get [all employees] to engage together, because typically, everyone that’s in one room will always go to each other in a corner and chat and socialize, and they may disregard the [remote attendees],” she says.
One example Ms. Schrecengost cited was blending in-person and remote employees into each team for the trivia portion of the winery event.
3. Bring your company culture and values
When planning events that are true to a company’s culture, “we take the time to understand their culture internally, and we advise if there’s something that could be tweaked to be a bit more inclusive, culturally, to showcase diversity,” Ms. Schrecengost says.
So, think about what type of event aligns with your mission or values, and keep in mind any dates that are significant to employees, such as Pride or National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, that you might want to recognize.
“I think the biggest factor is you don’t want to lose that camaraderie with the team. When you had colleagues in the office, there was always that random chat by the water cooler ... and we want to be able to bring that back,” Ms. Schrecengost says.
What I’m reading around the web
- Ready to begin planning that hybrid team event? Here’s a list of fun ideas you can use to kick-start your brainstorming.
- The International Labour Organization recently published a report showing how digital gig work can be transformative for refugees and migrants. Read this article in Reasons to be Cheerful to see how uprooted workers are looking toward brighter futures thanks to remote employment.
- Whether you’re job hunting or looking to take your career to the next level, volunteering can help. Take a look at this data that shows how volunteering can make you a more desirable hire or lead to a promotion.
- If you have an important presentation coming up soon, check out this TEDx presentation that reveals the secret structure of some of the most resonant speeches. You can watch the video or read the transcript.
- Cooking burnout. The term might sound strange, but it’s been common amongst those who are working from home and cooking more meals in-house than they’re used to. If cooking has changed from being joyful (or at least tolerable) to something you dread, have a read.
More opinion from Globe Careers
Three powerful rules to make every meeting productive Meetings can accomplish great things – elevate communication, generate new ideas, further morale, establish goals, build strong teams, and so much more. But they must be managed skilfully, writes leadership expert Merge Gupta-Sunderji.
True corporate transparency means embracing the good, bad and otherwise A company’s reputation used to be slowly forged, with a strength that grew with the years. Now it is like a model of the Taj Mahal made out of popsicle sticks – painstaking and difficult to construct, but very easy to break, writes Rakuen Kobo CEO Michael Tamblyn in the Globe’s Leadership Lab.
More from the section
Pressure on employers to retain employees rises as turnover increases Employees are job hopping for money – compensation levels are rising – but also for the work environment, especially if they have to leave the house and commute again. For employers accustomed to calling the shots, it’s a difficult transition.
Try the ‘MoSCoW’ method to prioritize what you ‘must’ do and what you ‘won’t’ Setting priorities on the many activities begging for your attention is vital. Indeed, it might well have prevented the US$5.5-billion collapse of Archegos Capital.
My direct report tells me I’m a micromanager In this week’s NinetoFive advice column, a reader asks about the best way to heal the rift.
Leadership Lab is a series where executives, experts and writers share their views and advice about the world of work. You can find all Leadership Lab stories at tgam.ca/leadershiplab and guidelines for how to contribute to the column here.
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