Staying real in a mostly virtual post-pandemic world, part 1: nurturing top-notch employee engagemen


This blog post was written on behalf of awesome video making platform maker Wochit, and published on April 26th, 2020.

In a recent Q&A session hosted live on LinkedIn, Bill Gates discussed his perspective on what life with, and life after the coronavirus will look like – and how we as individuals and businesses can and should adapt.

As Mr. Gates noted, even if lockdowns will begin to ease in May or June around the world, the ‘new normal’ will not look anything like the old normal . . . at least not until there is a viable, affordable, broadly distributable vaccine.

There’s no place like home

What this means for businesses is that the role of digital for virtual engagement will be greater than ever – not just for promoting the benefits of our products and services online, but also for seeking and securing the attention and loyalty of customers, partners, investors, and employees.

Today we want to focus on employees – in this first of our four-part series on how video can help businesses – of any size and shape – to stay real in the virtual world of engagement that awaits us in the weeks, months, and years to follow COVID-19 enforced lockdown.

When it comes to employees, it is expected that many will continue working from home even after the loosening of lockdown restrictions, even if for ‘only’ part of the time.

In fact, according to a recent survey by Gartner, a good chunk of those who have been forced to work from home due to the coronavirus pandemic may be permanently working from home.

And for some, this may not necessarily be a bad thing . . .

“For employees, benefits include saving on commute and more flexibility when it comes to work-life balance. For employers, the pluses are establishment cost-saving and enhanced productivity.” (economictimes.com)

The post-pandemic video imperative

As we emerge from a stay-at-home-all-the-time reality to a post-coronavirus let’s-go-out-there-carefully one, an organization’s employee engagement strategy will need to evolve.

During lockdown, the most important job of the organization’s leadership is to establish an internal communication framework that puts everyone’s mind at ease, establishes a sense of stability and safety, and provides hope.

However, the post-COVID-19 era will require adjustment to a framework that on the one hand will need to support and promote a sense of ‘business as usual.’ And, on the other hand, it will also need to take into account that while the sense of threat may have eased up a bit (hopefully), nevertheless, things are most definitely different.

In such a situation, video is what leaders need in their people-first toolbox to reduce the sense of alienation and to deliver an employee experience that, while virtual, is still personal, intimate, and compelling.

For every organization in the post-COVID-19 world, video-powered internal communications will be a critically strategic competency.

Engaging ideas for engaging employees

As we have mentioned many times in the past, there is nothing like video to inspire intimacy and to convey authenticity.

There is no substitute for being able to see the expression on the speaker’s face and for observing their body language, while hearing the tone of their voice.

In a post COVID-19 world, employees will be thirstier than ever for the human touch, where video is the closest thing to the real thing that they can get.

Organizations should consider every opportunity to communicate with video, and in greater frequency than in pre-coronavirus days.

Among the different opportunities that can be proactively endeavored are:

Ask & answer: getting the pulse of the people will be consummately important. You can send a brief survey to employees, asking specific questions about their needs, whether it’s for better connectivity while working from home, more frequent communications, more flexible concall times to accommodate for the working from home paradigm, and others. Then you can select a leader or multiple leaders to provide the answers in video format.

Skillifying: select a number of skills that require a boost in the new framework and create short videos with internal thought leaders on their tips for how to master this skill, e.g. time management when working from home, nurturing relationship when working remotely, etc.

The old standard: of-course updates and announcements will always be relevant, and video will get the job done for communicating them supremely. For example, you can pre-record a town hall and share different wrap-ups, such as a new analyst report findings or industry survey results.

The IT crowd: the Helpdesk folks can round up their top ten most frequently asked questions/opened tickets and create short video snippets with helpful tips on how to self-serve issue resolution.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Looking ahead

Looking ahead, it is nearly impossible to predict the breadth and depth of the impact that the coronavirus will bring upon the many different aspects of our personal and professional lives.

What is for certain, however, is that regardless of what the future holds, video will continue to play a key role in achieving our employee engagement objectives.