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Things We Can Control

Reimagining Employee Engagement:
What Employees Can Do

Employee engagement is critical to organizational success, and overall engagement had been on the rise in recent years, according to Gallup. Then COVID-19 came along, followed by civil unrest, and let’s face it, 2020 was just hard for everyone. As employees, we found ourselves juggling new expectations, missing social connections, and desperately trying to balance an interwoven work-from-home life. Everything has felt a bit, well, out of control! 

Many employees are looking for grace, support and flexibility. At the same time, many employers are facing insurmountable pressures just trying to keep their doors opens. It’s a reminder of our interdependence. We need to take care of each other, work toward common goals, practice patience and grace, and remember we are #InThisTogether.

Remote work now affects millions of Americans. Gartner estimates that nearly half of employees worked or are working from home during COVID-19 compared to 30 percent before. And there’s a lot of fatigue out there. Maintaining a culture of self-care and employee well-being is the #1 thing we can do to nurture positive relationships within our teams and with our customers.

Feeling Out of Control Increases Anxiety

COVID-related anxieties stem from many sources, and feeling out of control is a significant contributor. With so much out of a person’s control, it’s logical to ask, what is within our control? 

The good news, there’s a lot. Employees can still make choices, and the key is to practice activities that put us in a better state of mind. Choices range from physical activity to nutrition and maintaining social connections. 

Things I can control and Things I can't control

In these uncertain times, it’s important to remember what is beyond your reach. Take a breath and focus your attention on what you can control.

Give Yourself Grace, Adopt a Growth Mindset

It’s completely reasonable that employees, either working remotely or in a front-line capacity during a global pandemic, would ask if they have everything figured out right now. Probably not. As the pandemic continues, remember no one has ever done what we are being asked to do. We are all learning new habits, routines and ways of coping. Uncertainty is uncomfortable. 

But by adopting Carol Dweck’s “growth mindset,” we can counteract and deescalate negative self-talk. It’s OK to say, “I don’t have this particular challenge figured out YET.” Dweck’s power of YET is permission to learn, and a learning mindset leads to growth as new realities emerge from the pandemic.

Employee engagement has been a buzz-phrase for decades. And while employers are intentional about efforts to keep employees engaged, employees play a crucial role too, now more than ever. The mindset a person brings to work can carry us into a post-COVID world with resilience and newfound insight. What will employee engagement look like a year or decade from now? We don’t know … yet. But each of us has a role to play reimagining how we choose to show up each day. 


Published on: January 12, 2021