Network Science

Network Science March 1, 2021

Employee engagement during COVID-19 has become one of the main challenges for organizations operating over virtual platforms. Maintaining employee welfare, safety, and managing risk, however, is more important now than ever.

In this installment of the series, our guest, Nigel Thomas, CEO of The Blue Mountain Group, interacts with Hugh Todd, Author & Leadership coach, in an insightful conversation about employee engagement strategy, especially during COVID. Nigel’s business is involved in consultancy, security, risk management, and safety assurance to groups around the world by creating lifestyle checks. He is also engaged with providing training under The Blue Mountain training group for hostile environments overseas to NGOs, charities, media, and banking organizations among others.

The onslaught of Coronavirus has brought in several impacts to businesses involved in training. There has been a radical shift from purely practical training simulations to an increased reliance on booklets, presentations, e-learning, and modules from instructors. In some cases, employees have had to spend extended periods of lockdown overseas due to a lack of flights back to their home countries.

Challenges of Having a Global Workforce

When managing operations that are global in nature with employees spread around the world, organizations need to face and over certain challenges. During COVID-19, some of these have come into focus more than others.

  • Adhering to policies set down by various governments and regulatory bodies across the world
  • Staying flexible to accommodate changes to these policies at all times
  • Varying quarantine periods for employees who may not be allowed to work on-premises
  • Working around logistical issues of sending workers and consultants to required sites

Employee Engagement Strategy

During such strenuous times, it is important to keep employees motivated. Even virtually, organizations must make efforts to maintain daily communications with personnel residing overseas or spending time in quarantine.

Understanding that the pandemic can be emotionally and mentally taxing on employees is also important, and the company should undertake activities that tend to be ‘fun’ and relaxing from time to time. Extending support to employees’ families in cases when the employees themselves are unable to do so can uplift morale and engagement by astounding levels.

“There is a lot of confusion, and everyone is looking at [the pandemic] differently,” says Nigel. Differing mindsets exist in both the public space as well as the business space. Different organizations have different appetites for risk, for what they consider safe in the workplace. Certain generic advice that should be followed by companies is listed viz.

  • In such uncertain situations, conducting a risk assessment is the first step to factoring in what is relevant to your business or your environment
  • Install PPE kits in all the appropriate areas and make them accessible to all employees in need
  • Stay up to date with all government guidelines to keep up with the compliance and legality end of things
  • Ensure that employees are well aware of the culture and agree to safety guidelines as set by the organization

Mobcast: The Employee Engagement App

The outcome that organizations are striving to achieve in these difficult times is that of high productivity and efficiency despite the barriers set by virtual communication. This only becomes possible if employee engagement in the company is also rising. Mobcast, an ML-led extranet platform that improves employee learning, empowerment & engagement in organizations, is a tool meant to help executives work towards this goal.

“We think [Mobcast] is a great way of communicating,” mentions Nigel, highlighting that such innovative technology now makes it possible for not just CEOs or MDs but also ground personnel to keep a track of what training is being done, what tests are required and how to send out messages to key people among other benefits. It streamlines organization-wide communication by also taking into consideration employee diversity and the global nature of workforces.

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