Employee engagement has been in the spotlight in many organizations since the beginning of the pandemic. It directly translates into motivation and loyalty, which have become extremely important factors in maintaining the team during the dynamic changes in the labor market. At the same time, the transition to hybrid or remote work modes required finding a new approach to this issue and adapting numerous activities to the new reality.
This article will explain the following:
- How commitment affects the team and business development.
- Why approach to engagement needs to change with the transition to remote or hybrid work.
- What engagement-building strategies are effective.
- Which tools should be implemented in the organization and how to adapt the already implemented ones.
After the outbreak of the pandemic, employee engagement increased in importance and became a priority of HR departments. It reflects the level of enthusiasm and the bond that individuals form with the organization. It is a measure of how motivated people put extra effort into their work and stay with their companies as long as possible. 
Engagement directly translates into how motivated employees feel and how much meaning they find in their work. Engagement leads to the presence of employee advocacy both in external contacts and in the performance of daily tasks. It also constitutes a reason to stay with the company despite the various opportunities offered by the labor market.
Building engagement takes place in many areas – duties performed, relations with the supervisor and the team, appreciation and motivation, development opportunities, employer image, corporate culture, and the employer’s profile itself.
Building engagement in times of remote and hybrid work
Some mechanisms which contribute to building commitment in stationary work mode are formed naturally, for example, the relationship in the team or the bond with the supervisor. Many managers also indicate that they have greater ease of providing feedback in ongoing communication as a result of everyday desk-to-desk work. In stationary work conditions, it is also easier to learn about the organizational culture and the rules and attitudes associated with it. This is one of the causes of the hybrid work paradox.  Employees appreciate remote work due to improved work-life balance or time saved on commuting and flexibility. On the other hand, they increasingly care about personal relationships.
Does this mean that the current transition to remote and hybrid work condemns building commitment to failure? Absolutely not, although it often requires a more dedicated approach. Therefore, many organizations had to raise the priority of activities in this area.
Due to noticeable problems with engagement-building, which is crucial for maintaining functional teams, the role of HR departments is growing. Experts say HR specialists are facing a transformation of both their work organization and their role within it.  Even without deliberate actions, it is noticeable that HR departments are increasingly becoming business partners generating strategic results based on specific data. As their importance grows, it is easier for them to implement initiatives, introduce dedicated tools, work in specific budgetary frameworks, and generate measurable profits.
Engagement building strategies
Strategies for building employee engagement involve creating an environment that is more conducive to development. Essentially, this translates into increasing the likelihood that members of an organization will develop a positive emotional relationship with it. Among such activities, the following are worth mentioning:
The Future Workplace and Blue Beyond Consulting study “Closing the Employee Expectations Gap” shows that eight out of ten employees say it is important to them that the values of the company they work for are in line with their own.  More than half of them would quit their jobs if they saw a dissonance in this field. In addition, as many as 75% of the respondents expect the employer to act for the benefit of society.
In this context, it is essential to introduce new employees to the mission, vision, and values of the organization. Clear communication about these aspects of business is a good investment, along with coherent actions for their implementation – especially in the field of building organizational culture.
Focus on development
The chance to develop individual skills is a clear signal that the organization invests in employees and takes their aspirations seriously. It can also be a great distinguishing feature in the labor market. It should not be forgotten that in the times of hybrid work, Learning and Development are undergoing a revolution – the emphasis should be placed on e-learning, and a Learning Management System becomes an indispensable tool in business. An LMS allows companies to motivate employees regardless of where they perform their duties.
Appreciating top performers
Hybrid or remote work made informal appreciation lose its effectiveness. It is necessary to introduce mechanisms systematizing creating the feeling of importance and worth among employees. Although it may seem a bit artificial at first, it will allow you to build authentic relationships with superiors in the future. Positive behavior and results should be particularly appreciated. Therefore, the so-called top performers, i.e. the people who achieve the best results, should be an example for others. They are most often crucial for the functioning of the company, so it is worth paying extra attention to them.
Communication and transparency
Communication in organizations is frequently a challenge – mechanisms that naturally arise in small groups are difficult to scale in teams of several dozen or several hundred, and even more so in the case of several thousand. Despite this fact, employees, regardless of the place of work, want to be heard and to be up to date with what is happening in the company. Creating a space for open and honest (preferably radically honest ) communication between the team and superiors is a solid foundation for building commitment.
List of tools to help build engagement
Modern HR departments should use tools designed to strengthen or achieve strategic results, but the systems already used in the organization can also be reused. The key tools include the following:
It is used for ongoing communication, but can also be used to increase employee appreciation, for example by creating kudos channels, integrating a bot to evaluate sprints, or regularly summarizing employee achievements.
Surveys allow HR to collect opinions and measure employee engagement, as well as assess employee motivation and happiness. However, annual surveys are a thing of the past. Opinions should be collected frequently, preferably with pulse-checks, and risks should be analyzed on an ongoing basis, while the mood in the organization – mapped. Such feedback allows companies to create quick plans to improve employee retention.
Corporate online meetings
There is no better way to build a transparent organization than regular meetings with chief officers or managers who present the current situation and share plans for the near future. It is also an opportunity to answer any questions from employees and create open communication. Such events strengthen corporate culture and allow employees to be engaged.
It allows companies to better implement rules and corporate culture, as well as improve transparency in terms of processes or values. Intranet also reduces communication noise and facilitates access to key information. It is especially valuable to new employees, who have yet to get to know the company.
Platforms for building employee experiences
They allow kudos to be passed on and to show appreciation formally. Some of them also offer gamification modules, which allow employees to participate in various competitions – both during and after work.
Dedicated HRIS / HRM tools or plain Excel can be used as feedback tools – the aim is to support managers in formalizing the provision of frequent feedback. The culture of feedback is very much desired, especially by the younger generations, and this issue needs to be addressed regularly.
Learning Management System (LMS)
E-learning platforms are used for e-learning, awarding certificates, and gamification – both for employees and for people who are just getting into it. They also often include other functionalities, such as working on development goals. Thanks to an LMS, it is possible to build a culture of constant development, as well as to collect feedback on relevant activities – thanks to a survey module.
Online integration tools
Building relationships remotely is possible. There are a number of tools available on the market for online games or for random meetings within the organization – often integrated with company messenger apps. It is worth using them to help build relationships within the organization.