Engagement in 4 steps – “Two is One, And One is None.”
I started my speech at the Kick-Off meeting in 2020 with these words. At that moment, I told my colleagues how important it is to act like this in the IT world if we want to make a difference. I explained how important it is to work Agile, not only in our projects but also as individuals. We should grow by learning every day, adopting new technologies, and evolving.
Little did I know at that time what would follow in March of 2020. The pandemic came, and we realized that it is time to act on these words more than ever. Now, a year has passed, and my words still have value in what we call the New Normal/New World.
In times of crisis, the question on top of our minds is: how do we create engagement within our teams and for each individual? We have identified a number of important steps that have helped us keeping the people within our business unit engaged.
The 4 Steps to engagement
Step 1: Teaming up
When everybody works remotely from their individual home offices, being part of a team and maintaining the team spirit is more essential than ever. A group is only as strong as the weakest link. This means that the success of the team is the success of each individual team member. And the failure of an individual within the team is a failure of the entire team. So, make sure you:
- Have fun together (having online morning coffee sessions, birthday celebrations, and group games)
- Work together, helping and coaching each other using one-to-one meetings, providing feedback every time it is needed, having community meetings.
We do this by:
Communicating honestly and creating the future together – the 2021 Kick-Off workshops can be an example. The 2021 Kick-Off was different. After our business updates, we organized workshops on Sales, Delivery, Technology, and People sharing knowledge and insights on our main focus with our colleagues. These workshops helped us to generate ideas together and shape our approach for 2021. Now everybody is part of the 2021 story and can focus on the same goals.
Step 2: Learning
Learning is an essential part of our DNA within Yonder and our groups. The emphasis on continuous learning is also engrained in Total Specific Solution and Constellation Software Inc. Internal knowledge sharing is quite often a group experience. As 2020 progressed, we knew we needed to adapt our learning methods.
- Teaching new skills that are needed in the New Reality.
- Enabling our technical people to learn new technical skills whenever needed.
We do this by:
Organizing internal and external training for soft skills and technical skills, but now creating an online learning environment that inspires our people even if they attend alone from home. Also, having a mentorship strategy in place, so no one is left behind is an important component in Talent Management. Our strategy means that every colleague has a mentor for guidance for their technical development along with a Career Manager who guides their career development plan.
Step 3: Psychological safety
To get the best out of ourselves, function well, and contribute the most to our team, we need to feel safe. The big change of working solitary at home, having to rely on reading voice emotions and facial expressions versus complete body language, is new. And new at first brings uncertainty. So the leadership team and all the managers have to create a safe work environment. It is always important, but now more than ever.
- Employees feel comfortable taking risks without fear of failure
- Yonder leaders always ensure a culture of empowerment and autonomy
We do this by:
Leading by example and making sure we communicate openly. We remind ourselves that communication is a two-way street: it is about listening as much as speaking. As managers, we also have to read the undercurrents and make sure that it is addressed quickly and not left to fester when there is an issue.
Step 4: Recognition
Now that we are all solitary workers, part of a team, we still want to be appreciated for our contribution. By recognizing what an employee means to the team and project makes them valued as human beings. It means you contribute and are seen by others. In a time when our social circle is very small, and most of your acquaintances on the periphery are no longer in sight, it is especially good to be recognized as a person.
- Showing that our teams consist of valuable members
- Focusing on appreciation shows employees and clients that people matter!
- This contributes to the three previous aspects: a well-oiled team, willingness to learn, a safe environment.
We do this by:
We have quarterly awards in synch with our company values to show that we appreciate the involvement in maintaining organizational culture. We make sure that each one has a special moment for their anniversary in the company. Also, we want to make sure that our appreciation is shown for every achievement.
These steps have helped us as a company, as a team of teams, to continue our journey and grow on all levels. Pandemic times did not slow us down; it made us stronger as a team and more agile than ever. “Two is one, and one is none.”
Want to join our team? Or find out more about our services? Then get in touch with us.
Subscribe to our newsletter today and get regular updates on customer cases, blog posts, best practices and events.