The Key To Making Hybrid Work? Meaningful Engagement.

The digital divide between those present in the room and those working remotely poses severe inclusion, collaboration, and company culture challenges. This divide can have devastating effects on business efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity. It also leads to inefficient communication that wastes time and energy. This is why it is important to place more emphasis on employee voice and a new era in meaningful engagement between leaders, employees, and the content and participants of meetings.

Instead of superficial engagement (like a raised hand or thumbs-up emoji) or quick polls, we need to emphasize meaningful interaction through authentic opinions and genuine listening from leaders. It might sound like you are more dependent on your time, effort, and resources. It is the exact opposite.

Future of Work

The long-debated “future” of work is starting to look more like today’s work. However, the utopia of “work anywhere, whenever” romanticized has not been the liberating utopia it seemed. There are even reports of the end of office life. It has been challenging to coordinate and collaborate on a team level, and it poses risks to individual mental health as well.

Senior and more family-oriented colleagues might have benefited from remote work. At the same time, junior employees who live in more restricted areas may miss the mentoring and chance to form a professional network. While it is evident the office will continue to play an essential role in the future, effective communication, coordination, collaboration, and collaboration will continue to be difficult when some group members are not available.

Sticky Plasters

In response to the dispersal of our teams due to the pandemic, we increased the frequency and length of meetings and internal communication. Is it really what we want more sessions? This increase in meetings can have a negative effect both on productivity and employee satisfaction. Microsoft discovered that emails, chats, discussions, and documents were more frequent and prolonged during the pandemic. It is possible to lead more effective meetings by focusing on meaningful engagement. Reduced time and frequency of sessions can be achieved by converting passive attendees into active contributors, who affect the schedule and help it move forward—making meetings more efficient, meaningful, and engaging.

It is possible to built the gap between these two groups by placing more emphasis on meaningful involvement. But what does it mean to talk about meaningful engagement?

Relationships and Expertise

Strong relationships between three elements are crucial to employee engagement. They exist in nearly every meeting and workplace interaction. Attention is about the connection between the leader, audience, and content.

You can foster stronger interpersonal relationships, resulting in greater comfort and more open and honest discussion. It is essential to be aware of the relationship between your audience and the content. This allows them to engage with it better. It is necessary to establish a strong connection between the audience and the content that you are delivering. This shows your expertise and effectively facilitates meaningful engagement and controls the discussion from a position where you can be viewed as an authority.

How does meaningful engagement in practice look?

It is about allowing your audience to direct the direction of the meeting. Instead of merely allowing for participant input, it means that you can design sessions that will enable your audience to do the same. Or, worse yet, you don’t allow for any input from participants at all.

Instead, your team should be open to receiving input from others. Open and honest Q&A sessions are best if they are anonymous. This can stops you from getting bogged down in endless messages and emails, collecting documents, or siloed team meetings.

Bridging the Hybrid Divide

To better collaborate over a digital divide, we need stronger inter-employee relations. Content in meetings and workplace interactions must be relevant for those hearing them. Also, we need more control over our expertise in the areas we cover to communicate more effectively and clearly.

It is well-known that increasing engagement is the key to decreasing the distance between employees at remote locations. However, the level of engagement and its meaning will influence how leaders and organizations create new ways of working. It is essential to encourage more meaningful engagement by allowing employees to speak their minds and listening to their leaders. Making a habit out of listening leadership is beneficial for everyone and makes hybrid work more likely.

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Samatha Vale
Samatha a senior writer for HC's entertainment team. She is an entreprenuer, mother and an excellent writer. She's also an avid reader, music enthusiast and all around inquisitive person - which is just a nice way of saying she's nosy.

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