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    The Remote Work Playbook – How to Keep Employees Engaged



    Webinar broadcasted from the Netherlands and Greece. I am thrilled to present our third webinar series for this year and we have an exciting lineup of webinars for you. But today’s webinar is on remote work and how to keep and please engage because the past years have seen a significant shift towards remote work. A remote work is not just a trend anymore but it’s here to stay. It’s important for every organization to understand the benefits and challenges of remote work but also how to effectively manage it. Now we have defined it’s a webinar into four parts.

    First, I will tell you a bit more about Velti. Who we are and what we do and then we will tune in to the Velti office in Greece where two of my colleagues, Andreas Pipilis HR manager and Depi Asimakopoulou head of employee experience will share their insights and expertise on best practices for supporting remote employees, ensuring that productivity and keeping them engaged.

    Lastly, my colleague Eva Deli recruits an admin coordinator will host Theodora Aisopou Director people and culture at OKTO a fintech company and we’ll share the best practices and strategies to help your organization succeed in a remote work environment. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to type them down below and we will come back to it during the webinar and otherwise after the webinar in Rising.

    My name is Marietta Robbe Groskamp, Business development director Europe and let’s get started.

    Velti was founded in the year 2000 and has more than 23 years of experiences in the mobile marketing era and the main solutions that we offer can be classified into custom value management, marketing automation, gamification, loyalty permission marketing and Web Apps. The filthy families ever growing currently we count more than 140 employees and 50 % of which are software Engineers ensuring that we are using the latest trends and Technologies. The main officers of Velti are in Athens, where you will also find the headquarters in the development center, Dusseldorf and Dubai but we also have five additional sales officers in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America.

    Today we are going to talk about remote work. How to set up a remote Workforce, building a positive remote team experience and how to keep employees engaged while working remotely. In the next slide you will see an overview of Velti’s footprints which is something we are extremely proud of. Here is an overview of the main clients we are working with more than 300 clients representing 70 countries from Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. Clients such as Deutsche, Telecom, Vodafone, anticipants, PepsiCo and many more. This is something we are extremely proud of.
    So if you would like to know more about a specific case study please do not hesitate to contact us.

    So, what is the concept of remote work and how did we get there. The concepts of remote work or working from home on a regular basis has a history that dates back to the 70s. Jack Mills and NASA engineer is credited with coining the terms telecommuting and tailor work in 1973. In 1979 IBM began experimenting with remote work by allowing five employees to work from home. This experiment eventually expanded to include 2000 people by 1983. Now it’s failed to be started implemented remote work back in 2019. Our goals were to improve work-life balance reduce stress and reduce the daily commutes.

    So, is remote work a preferred option?
    Now according to a survey conducted by McKenzie, the majority of people take advantage of remote work opportunities when they are offered by the employers. Now if giving the opportunity 87 % of people would choose to work flexible and are not a fascinated fact is that employees are willing to quit their current jobs in order to have more control over where and when they work. Now let’s move on to some interesting statistics about remote work. Because 35 % of workers work remotely on a full-time basis and 23 % work remotely part-time or on occasion. Now this means that 58 % in total indicates that they have the capability to work remotely for some periods of time. These data show a significant shift in the way we work and in society overall because as you can see remote working is here to stay.

    It’s time to tune in to Velti office inquiries where Andrea Velti’s HR manager will share his expertise on creating a positive remote steam experience. Andrea we are very excited to hear more about this topic. Please go ahead and take it away.

    Thank you Marietta for the introduction and your valuable insights.
    Indeed, people seize remote work opportunities and remote jobs are still in high demand. Over the past few years many companies went fully remote and one of the biggest challenges they are still facing is how to create a positive remote team experience building a strong remote in culture. Did you know that organizations with great employee experience or perform competitors, on Innovation, customer satisfaction and profitability?
    Well yes. According to research from MIT, Organization with a top employee experience and they dump the customer satisfaction twice Innovation and 25 % higher profits compared to companies that provide a poor employee experience.

    So, in this part of the webinar, I will first go through some key steps for transitioning to remote work and then I will mainly go over the key principles of building a positive remote team experience. Then my colleague Depi will take over part three, to provide insights into employee engagement, elaborating on five effective strategies to keep employees engaged. So let’s dive right in. 

    Converting a traditional business to a fully remote model can be intimidating but by taking several Smart Steps you will finally reap the benefits of a remote Workforce. To begin with, encouraging people to set up a dedicated workspace is essential but that’s not enough. Either in motor hybrid employees should be offered a great digital experience so it’s time to rethink and rebuild your business infrastructure. To do so, here are three things to consider. One internet access. Working remotely requires a fast reliable internet connection minimum 50 Mbps to support video conferencing and improve collaboration productivity. Two Hardware it is crucial to provide your employees with the right Hardware at home. Reliable importable technology is absolutely necessary for a remote Workforce. Laptops, headsets, keyboard and mouse, cameras and the cell phone. Three use a secure VPN connection to allow your remote users to connect securely to your corporate Network.

    Now, what are the collaboration tools your team needs?
    It is important that companies Empower employees with leading tools that allow a real life experience enabling them to stay connected.
    So, here are the three of the most crucial remote tools, to make collaboration communication as easy as it would be if it was in person. Provide your team with instant messaging communication platform like slack, to help your team stay organized and on the same page. A tool that offers everything from one-on-one conversations to group messaging. Use a video conferencing platform like Zoom to easily and effectively connect with your team, your customers and your clients remotely. And use a document and file serving application like Microsoft OneDrive to enable teams to store in seller files of all kinds. Including images, videos, music and more. But besides the construction your tools. Let’s go a bit deeper to highlight what I see as the main strategies of creating a positive remote team experience.

    First thing first, I’d like you to consider what the core principles underlying your company’s missions are. What does your company stand for? In order to achieve a positive remote team experience, it is vital to rein form company culture and celebrate various reactions. But what are your company values and why are they so important? Compound values, also called corporate values or core values are the fundamental beliefs of an organization. They actually help employees function together as a team and tell the difference between right and wrong. Core values tell employees and customers what you stand for and also shall worked over a common purpose. They improved communication employee motivation and also help attract and retain top talent. It is important to understand what exactly corporate values mean and what they can look like. So, here is an example of Velti’s guiding principles which represents our highest priorities and servers or cultural cornerstones.

    Here are our five core values.
    Number one, Ownership. Taking charge and initiatives instead of sitting back and waiting for others to act. Number two, Accountability. Accepting responsibility for our actions, acknowledging our mistakes and taking the appropriate actions to fix them. Three, teamwork. Working together committed to a common purpose. Four, Trust. Being reliable in having the ownership required to perform a task timely and impeccably. And number five, Empathy. The ability to imagine ourselves in the situation of another walk in other people’s shoes and experience their emotions. Now what are your company’s core values? Choose them wisely and make them unique to your brand because these values will save your culture and Inspire your employees.

    My second main important of building a positive remote employee experience, is virtual onboarding. Is your onboarding program effective?
    Tailor your onboarding process to fit the needs of your remote workers and get employees familiar with your company’s Mission and values making them feeling welcome and included.To ensure a smooth process start virtual onboarding from Day Zero. It’s best to start before the first day with the paperwork. Make sure that all documents are signed and that the equipment is delivered to the new employee. You may also send them a welcome kit and make them feel part of the family. On day one make an employee announcement through your instant messaging application which is a great way to announce a newcomer to the whole company. Then set up a welcoming video conferencing session between the newcomer and their teammates, so to the meeting as well with HR to communicate companies or values as well as processing procedures. Make them memorable by giving examples of winning and losses through images videos rather not documents. It’s a lot easier to remember visuals over text.
    Next, assign the dedicated onboarding liaison, a virtual body to support the new camera and make them feel comfortable asking any questions big or small. Get pictures of your new hires and write Episode by highlighting interesting facts about them. Then set up a weekly company called where every week you will be able to present your company’s newsletter during which you will dedicate some time to introduce the newcomers to the whole company. And remember to check in on newcomers regularly. Regular check-in means additional opportunities to communicate. Conduct thorough checkbox so through which you will be able to assess your newcomers progress accurately and watch out for rain potential issues.

    Now, that we have covered that, let’s move on to my third point which is setting clear expectations that are essential to the success of remote employees. Some common concerns around scientific expectations for remote employees include three things.
    First, Communication. Communicating effectively with employees in a hybrid or fully remote environment is crucial. Set guidelines for a clear communication strategy and dedicate some time to enlightening newcomers on processes like. How do we share a project update? Does the team use mail or slack? How does a team handle emergencies? How often are one on one second meetings? Can people choose flexible hours or should they stick to a nine to five World schedule? Second, meeting attendance. Virtual meetings have become more commonplace but they are not the best option for every occasion. In certain situations, in-person meetings make more sense. Determine how often should remote teams attend in-person meetings, trainings or events and communicated to your people.
    Third, employee well-being. Avoid overworking your employees. Checking regularly and eliminate unnecessary tasks.

    That leads me to my fourth point, which is work-life balance. Some great benefits of remote work or flexibility and work-life balance. However, when there is not a clear nine to five office structure. There is a risk of remote employees sleeping into an always-on work culture which can lead to stress and burnout. Here is what you can do. Encourage breaks. Regular breaks can actually boost productivity. Review workloads. Managing and reviewing workloads help team deliver projects on time, fairly distribute the task and reduces burnout. Give employees time to volunteer. Volunteering provides a sense of purpose, offers a chance to learn new things and has a positive impact in our Mental Health. Encourage people to take time off. After returning from a break, employees are more engaged with the position of the company as a whole. Advise people to use their lunch breaks. A relaxing break will make them feel more balanced and less stressed. Encourage people to make space for family and invest in relationships.

    Next one my fifth Point. Create a cultural recognition. Employee recognition helps people understand how much the company values their contributions. So be specific. There is greater meaning and recognition when it is tied to specific business objective or accomplishment. Make it Timely. Employees are less likely to believe that affirmations are authentic if managers fail to acknowledge them on time. Therefore, positive feedback right away. For example, if an employee did a great job on a presentation, send them a quick email afterwards or social appreciations they called with the team. Make giving recognition easy. A platform which is accessible through a mobile application or web browser makes it easy for employees to give and receive recognition. Or record the sound through your instant messaging application to spread positivity by giving kudo sense and starts for employees for goal above and beyond. Be consistent encourage leadership teams to embrace the recognition program. Recognizing each other should become a habit within the company even recognizing the small things.

    And my final Point, feedback. If you wish to achieve a great remote team experience, prioritize 360 degree feedbacks. Don’t be afraid to break the norm that feedback can only be given downward from manager’s employees. Employees should receive valuable 360-degree feedback both from managers and peers. But why is feedback so important? What are the benefits? Here are three major positive outcomes of giving and receiving feedback.

    First, employee engagement. Employees in organizations with a strong feedback culture are more engaged, feel that they work matters and their opinions are valued. Second, feedback helps you learn what motivates and inspires your employees to work toward the organization missions.
    And third, it also helps you dissolve potential issues among employees and any of their superiors or team members. To draw that together, it is clear that a positive remoting experience can be achieved by considering several key steps that the company should follow.

    So before we move on to part four, here’s a brief summary of the strategies for creating a positive remote team experience. Before you go remote make sure to rebuild your business infrastructure and set remote collaboration tools to allow effective communication and documents hiring. Beyond that, also make sure to follow these six strategies to improve employees working experience. One, reinforced company culture. Two, build an effective virtual and boarding process. Three, set expectations. Four, promote work-life balance. Five, recognize employee contributions. And number six, Embrace feedback.
    Well that’s about it for this part. Back to you Marietta.

    Thanks Andrea. Yes, even though remote work is on the rise and keeps growing in popularity. It still includes a few challenges. Maintaining social interaction and avoiding feelings of isolation and loneliness especially when you don’t have actual contact with co-workers. Time management is the skill of organizing and planning. It can be challenging to master especially while working from home where structure and discipline can be hard to maintain. Without the right processes in place managing employees across different time zones, can be challenging. Balancing out of time you spend working with the time you spend enjoying everything else in life has proved to be tough. Unplugging after work hours has been one of the most common challenges of remote employee’s experience. Dealing with distractions such as family child care and households responsibilities.

    Next, did you know that one of the biggest challenges in a remote workplace is keeping employees engaged?
    Now Depi Velti’s Head of employee experience, will share us with her expertise on how to remote teams engage.
    I’m sure we will find her insights and expertise to be very valuable. The floor is all yours Depi.

    Thank you Marietta. You are so right. It’s absolutely true that one of the biggest challenges companies face, is keeping employees engaged.
    Engagement and well-being had been rising worldwide for nearly a decade before the pandemic, but now they’re stagnant. Employees feel even more stressed than in 2020. In its state of the global workplace 2022 report Gallop shared that almost 80 % of workers were disengaged at work. So, now it’s more clear than ever that organizations need to rethink their approach to employee engagement and change the company culture. But why should we create an employee engagement culture?
    Well maybe you’ve been there. It’s Monday morning and you don’t want to get out of bed. Eventually you do get up, grab a coffee and quickly log in totally unmotivated but you need to work because you need to earn a living and it’s so common that we work for companies that don’t make us feel fulfilled. So what if we created an organization where somebody can wake up in the morning and say. Yay! it’s Monday let’s do some great work today. Not only will we have created an organization with a positive workplace culture but we will also keep employees engaged and willing to help the company succeed. To put it simply Employee Engagement is essential to A Satisfied Workforce.  Wondering how you can improve it?
    There are five principles of keeping remote teams engaged. Five things that I want to share with you today that if you apply you can literally transform your workplace. But before we go through these five key drivers of Employee Engagement, let’s first Define it and understand why engaged employees lead to Company Success. Employee Engagement refers to the emotional commitment employees have to the organization and can be measured by the degree to which employees feel satisfied with their job.
    Engaged employees have a strong emotional and mental connection to their work, their teams and the company. Nowadays more and more companies are looking for ways to increase Employee Engagement. Here is why evidence is clear that companies with engaged employees outperform those without by 202 %. The number speaks for itself. After all, we all know that engagement translates to productivity which translates to company profits, right? This is not surprising. When employees are engaged in their work they are actually more productive. The benefits of an Engaged Workforce are endless. Engaged employees are happy employees they do not only perform better but they also experience less burnout and they stay in organizations longer shaping a positive workplace culture which leads to improved employee well-being.   So, having said that.

    Let’s now go through the five key drivers of Employee Engagement. What is the magic formula for an Engaged Workforce?
    Number one, Trust. It’s no secret that trust in a remote workplace is one of the most important factors to keeping employees engaged and valued. Besides engagement employees in highly trusted workplaces enjoy a long list of benefits. I will now put some numbers on this to show you exactly what I mean. Now have a look at these figures. Based on Research compared with people at Lotus companies, people at high trust companies report a hundred and six % more energy at work, 74 % less stress and 50 % higher productivity. All this leading to higher performance. Then 40 % less per night, 29 % more satisfaction with their lives, 13 % fewer sick days. And not surprisingly people at high trust companies feel more engaged by 76 %, compared to people at low trust companies. So as you can see employees in trusting environments, enjoy so many benefits. Yet organizations often fail to inspire employee trust. Leaders fail to communicate the overall vision of the company to employees, making them feel left out. So how can we fix that? One way to build trust is by keeping employees informed. Here is one of the things that we do and Veltians enjoy the most since we went fully remote. Every week we host a virtual All Hands meeting, where our CEO and the senior management team share company-wide information. These weekly calls not only keep every employee updated on the company’s Vision, progress and Mission but they also help everyone feel connected. And if there is one thing that this initiative has mostly proved is that well-informed employees, stay engaged, motivated and willing to show trust to the company.

    Number two, communication. A study showed that the teams that were thriving in the new virtual environment since the pandemic, were those participating in Virtual social gatherings. In contrast to those who didn’t participate and reported feeling less connected. It’s true that remote employees might feel lonely at some point when working from home. So how can we encourage remote employees communicate more and get to know each other better? Here is what you can do. Create new rituals for social interactions. Set up virtual water coolers. Integrating office Chit Chat into the remote setting. Simply use slack or other similar instant messaging app to create channels and let your people hang out. Chat and relax. Don’t miss out on celebrations just because you’re virtual. Create channels for birthday announcements and work anniversaries where our employees can post their wishes daily. Show a little extra appreciation by sending them a gift on their special day.
    Veltians for example, receive a birthday cake on their big day. Next set up channels based on Hobbies. here for example, you can see some posts from our chef and Book Lovers channels. Set up channels dedicated to discussing interests like music, photography or pet Central ones for employees to post pictures or videos of their fairy friends. A channel to exchange movie reviews after a company movie day and a random channel for General Chit Chat. Kudos for giving team members a pat on the back. Sports gaming consider what the interests of your employees are and organize your channels accordingly.

    Number three, community. Building a remote Workforce Community can transform a workplace a long way. But how can we create a sense of community without being in the same room? One cup of coffee at a time, little social interactions with each other adapt to employee connections. You join Zoom calls every day always in a rush stop and pay attention. Don’t underestimate the value of chit chat at the beginning of a call. Give your team a break by doing something fun. The little connections will add up. Whether online or in person communities created through shared experience. When we share an experience with someone else like watching a movie or playing an online game. We are creating connections through something memorable. Set up a remote coworking space which actually is a video conference, where you and your team can simply work quietly in each other’s virtual presence. Allowing you to chat, share ideas and ask questions the same way you would do in the office. Set up weekly virtual coffee breaks or happy hours which can be held over video conferencing platforms like Zoom. Simply creating a meeting time sending out invites to your team and gather together with a snack, coffee or anything else according to the theme you will choose. In this slide for example, you can see some of our teams enjoying their Christmassy coffee breaks. Set up virtual themed lunches where team members come together to share a meal remotely. Here are some photos that Veltians have shared from their virtual launches. Organize virtual Wellness activities like meditation or Zoom workouts which help employees take action on improving their mental and physical health. Last set up in person events, so that people can also interact face to face and connect with each other even more.
    Participate in volunteering events or arrange karaoke days, Christmas parties or outdoor activities like sports days.

    Number four, Gamification. Gamification uses game Design Elements and game ideas in non-game settings. Did you know that having fun at work has a positive impact on engagement creativity and purpose? Studies have shown that gamification at work can affect positively the employee’s motivation and engagement levels. So what about blending work and play together? What about hosting virtual workplace contests to generate exciting and competitive gamified experiences? People love competing against each other. Competition increases motivation and it’s a fantastic way to engage employees. But what are the elements of gamification and what kind of games contests and challenges can companies host in a remote setting? Some common gamification elements, include goals which add purpose and focus. Collaboration playing against other teams or getting an offering help to other users. Community which is where the play requires the game purpose and leaderboards which display relative progress against the competition. These are only some of the main elements. Of course you can also play games to reward the highest scorers with points and patches and fuel the players to outperform.

    To help you better understand how you can set up a contest. Here is an example of one of our contests and how we set it up. Firstly, we chose the contest type. In this case it was a photo contest. We set the rules decided on the prize and made the announcement in our photography Channel, mentioning all the relevant information including what is the closing date of the contest and when will the winner be announced. So people submitted their photos in our photography Channel and then a committee chose the six best ones. During our company call, the one I described you earlier. After our CEOs update we normally present a weekly company newsletter during which we launched the poll to vote for the winner. Now the photo contest themes you can choose from are so many you might ask people to capture their favorite corner at home. Send photos of their Christmas tree or another one that Veltians enjoy a lot lately, is the guest developed baby contest where we share photos from our childhood and people guess who is in the picture. Now except for the photo contest, there are lots of other ideas for internal competitions, games and challenges. So the list I’m showing you today are by no means complete just sharing some ideas. And of course this is not a one size fits-all recipe to what contest you should choose always consider your employee’s interests and needs before you choose a contest.

    So, back to what I was saying another idea for a virtual contest, is a working challenge. Walking is one of the easiest Wellness oriented challenges and team can take part in. How much team members submit the miles they work and at the end of The Challenge give the price to the team who worked the most miles. Then a karaoke contest over a chef challenge a food plating competition. For example, in Christmas Veltians posted pictures of their traditional Christmas dishes from all around the world and we voted for the winner. Now besides this type of contests, another way to use gamification and let your remote teams have a great time together is through online games. Such as Team Trivia challenges which are interactive and fun team bonding competitions. Typing races interactive games to test your typing speed. Pictionary which is a drawing game or Icebreaker games like two truth sent a life. For example, I say two to send one lie about myself and my teammates try to guess what the Lie is. You have many options for different contests and games just choose the right ones for your people, always considering what their interests are.

    Number five, Learning and Development. Several studies show that they need to revamp and improve learning programs is an important concern among HR Executives. According to research by Deloitte organizations with a strong learning culture have 30 to 50 % higher engagement rates than those without. So a winning Learning and Development strategy is a vital tool for businesses. But how do we create an effective learning environment? Through Collaborative Learning a training approach where employees share their knowledge and expertise learning from one another. You see, according to the 70 2010 rule which is a popular lnd model that tells us about the way we built our knowledge, 90 % of learning doesn’t happen via formal training but from all the job experience and interactions with colleagues. To break this down, the rule specifically states that 70 % of the Learning happens through the job experience than 20 % happen socially through colleagues and friends and only 10 % of learning happens via formal training experiences. Having said that we all understand how important is to implement techniques that increase collaboration in the workplace. So here are five effective Collaborative Learning techniques to consider. Have departmental teams create a presentation that teaches their work to the rest of the organization. At Velti for example, our teams provide online sessions and tools of different parts of the company on a weekly basis. Presenting the work, they do the problems they solve and the projects they are working on. This not only increases collaboration but it also helps everyone learn more about how the company works as a whole. Problem solving exercises is another common Collaborative Learning scenario where we bring together teams from different departments, present them with a problem to solve and let them work together to finally present us their Solutions during our weekly Company call. Another technique is hackathons. Events in which a large number of people engage in collaborative computer programming to create functioning software.

    And the last one, is new product development. Assign teams to brainstorm and create new products for different areas of the business. Collaborative Learning can be a huge asset when it comes to developing new products. And with that we cover all five key drivers of Employee Engagement. So now, let’s do a quick recap to summarize the main points. So in this part we saw that engaged employees are happy employees committed to the organization and passionate about what they do. We went through the benefits of an Engaged Workforce. Better employee performance less per not an employee well-being and finally we elaborated on the key drivers of Employee Engagement that lead to Company Success.

    At first we talked about trust and the long list of benefits employees in trusting environments enjoy. Second, communication. The importance of creating new rituals for social interaction. Third, community. How building a remote Workforce Community can completely transform the workplace. Fourth, gamification. How having fun at work has a positive impact on engagement. And fifth learning and Development. How building a learning culture keeps employees engaged. So there you have it. In a nutshell an Engaged Workforce is more than just doing my job it’s about having a passion for my work and wanting the company to succeed. Employee Engagement is key to Company Success. But how can you tell if engagement levels are high in your organization? Well, if your people wake up excited on Monday morning then this is a good sign. If not, then you should probably rethink your engagement strategy. So how will you transform your workplace?

    Thank you and back to you Marietta!

    Thank you Depi for sharing these great insights on remote working. The examples you shared really speak for themselves.
    So we already approaching the last part of the webinar and that’s the interview with OKTO. OKTO offers innovative fintech solutions for both consumers and businesses.
    My colleague Eva recruits an admin coordinator, will interview Theodora director people and culture at OKTO. Without further Ado let’s get started Eva.

    Hello all, my name is Eva Deli and I’m HR recruiter and admin coordinator at Velti. I’m so pleased to be with you today to have the chance to introduce our guest speaker Director people in culture in OKTO, Theodora Aisopou.

    Hello Theodora. Happy birthday! You have your birthday today, right?

    Thank you very much! Hello Eva. Hello everyone in our audience today. I’m glad to be here with you.

    We are so pleased to have you in this webinar, lots to discuss and discover. To begin with, let me share a little bit of your background.

    Theodora Aisopou is a HR professional with 12 years of experience in technology and marketing companies, in HR business partnering as well as in managerial roles.
    During the last 7 years he has been working in startups and scale-ups building processes and driving organizational change while making sure that operational needs are made with the appropriate hiring. She holds a bachelor degree in Psychology and a master’s degree in organizational and economic psychology.

    So, today we are going to talk about engagement motivation and Trust. Topics that I know that are super relevant to your field, right?

    Yes, we see that lately the HR department has a more people-oriented approach.
    We need to make sure that people feel engaged, motivated and also happy at their workplace.

    So what does it mean to have an Engaged employee and what distinguishes and engage employee from someone who is not engaged?

    Well, an engaged employee, is someone who puts his – her soul at work. They are not just doers or paper boosters but they feel accountable for what needs to be done and put effort to make it happen same way you do in a family business. A non-Engaged employee on the other hand, is someone who just meets expectations but is not motivated to go the extra mile. They might feel a bit disconnected and not tuned in with the company values and the team goals.

    Absolutely. Now according to your opinion, is it solely responsibility of HR department to increase Employee Engagement levels?

    Well, I would say it’s a company culture issue. The HR department traditionally is a department that needs to be aligned also with the CEO and the management team. And it also needs to act on behalf of them and not against them. We see companies that invest a lot in finding out what makes people happy and motivated and keep their levels of Engagement high. And there are other companies that have different goals or even a different business plan that doesn’t involve retaining people at all. Even if they have also a low attrition levels and they offer incentives or bonuses or whatever. We see that people continue being disengaged since the company does not have the mechanisms, maybe to automate parts of their daily routine for instance. Management teams in these companies they don’t feel it is necessary to invest in such things.

    I completely agree with you. Company should invest in their people.
    So, what really drives Employee Engagement and how is employee Engagement been related to employee retention?

    Well, I feel that understanding business issues, internal communication problems, business flows that do not work all this could be a good starting point.
    What everybody needs from an HR department and from a company, is being a good listener. When we feel that our needs are and problems are heard, even if they cannot be immediately resolved, we feel that it’s worth spending time on giving our best. Okay, people also want to see results. When they know that there is a plan in place that will lead to a change in the scenery then they invest they tend to invest in it and give their efforts.

    Yes, I see your point. Moving on in your point of view, what are some of the biggest challenges that remote or hybrid employees face and how does remote and hybrid work impact engagement?

    Out of sight is out of mind. This is something that we used to hear a lot in the past and it does not seem to apply in our new reality, but working for a small company that has no processes no procedures lacks internal organization etc. It sometimes demands working from the office meeting your colleagues get the job done. Now, in any company no matter how big or small it is, there is always difficulty integrating oneself to the team and this applies especially to the new joiners.
    There’s no daily interaction of the new Joiner with the rest of the team and we need more alignment meeting so that an effective communication can be established.

    And how do you think people can overcome those challenges?

    There’s a psychological aspect of remote working and the effectiveness of a person. this is something more personal which means that some people feel and are more efficient when they work from home and some others strive on working remotely. There are also other aspects that have to do with that. Whether you have a family or not. Whether you have a dedicated space for work. Efficiency has to do with the nature of the job as well. If you are a programmer, you can cope on a fully remote basis. However, if you are on a more climb facing role and you need to discuss negotiate interact you need to be at the office too. I would say that finding a balance is important. Having not only work related meetings but also remote team building activities like interactive games, virtual of office coffee breaks so that the team can spend some time with each other helps a lot as well when working remotely.

    Yes, balance is always the key. Now to improve Employee Engagement you need to connect with your employees, right?
    How can we improve the internal communication strategy virtually and what communication channels work best for you?

    With regards to the company, there must be a monthly by monthly meeting. So that they know where they stand, they see the vision and they see the short-term goals. Pulse Meetings always help to identify the challenges. See the pain points set up an action plan by surveys can also do a great job from past from short pile surveys you can get the outcomes you need to customize your behavior according to your employee’s needs.
    Gathering all together occasionally also helps. Getting to know, getting to see your team members by monthly in a company event. Know what their face looks like discussing not only about work but getting to know each other on a personal level is really helpful. With regards to the tools we are using Microsoft teams and Microsoft Yammer work best for us. Teams for our meetings and Yammer for virtual games, team updates, virtual team building events mostly.

    Certainly communication is of course another driver of employee’s involvement. So how and why giving constant employee feedback increases engagement?

    Thanks for bringing that up actually. We see that people feel insecure and most of the times ask themselves.
    Am I doing the job well? Does the team need me to do otherwise? Why how can I say that something must change in the way we work?
    A regular team meetings help a raising up and solving also these issues. What is also necessary in an employee manager alignment on setting priorities.
    Removing the noise and making sure that we’re moving in the right direction and we make sure that in our company there is concept of feedback so that employees don’t feel that way.

    And I couldn’t agree more. Now I would like to know, what are your favorite enjoyable thing buildings activities in OKTO for virtual and hybrid meetings?

    Sure. The most fun activity we once did, was sharing pictures from when we were young nominating each other. It is fun when you share a picture of you exposing yourself in a corporate environment. It works like a nice breaker since colleagues get more personal and they see a more personal moment of you.
    A hybrid meeting that we are doing on a regular basis, is the OKTO heartbeat meeting that is done on a monthly basis and with our technology and our operations teams. Since there’s no agenda in this meeting we usually exchange experiences, what we like about OKTO, what we love to do as a team, what Corporate social responsibility activities to choose from and this is the time and place we agree on team building events as well.

    That’s great. I love these kinds of initiatives. In your experience over the years, how does motivation affect Employee Engagement and now what is the relationship of motivation engagement and performance of employees?

    I believe that a motivated employee is usually an employee who performs well and sometimes exceeds expectations. This is why we need to have motivated and engaged employees most of the times they have companies achieve results even faster and more efficiently than what they had initially planned.

    You’re right. This is critical for high performance. Now building tracks is crucial for employee retention and for the success of any organization.
    What do leaders need to do to build employee trust?

    That’s a good point actually Eva. A trust needs time to be built but it can be torn down easily. Okay there are also other people that can easily trust one another so it sometimes depends on each person’s character again. People and specifically people managers need to step out of their comfort zone and trust their employees do some of the things that they have been hanging themselves. It needs extra effort to start as you need to act as a mentor and manage the other person’s work. It also needs extra responsibility from the other party the one that finally is assigned to do the task. Which is something that builds engagement though and we need it.

    Yes, exactly. Trust is essential for both in-person teams and remote workers of course.
    Now finally can you tell us, what is your ultimate personal goal and Mission as a director people and culture and what impact the HR department has on the employee’s engagement and motivation or what is an impact it should have?

    HR department needs to listen to the parts like I said previously. Understand the Dynamics investigate what is missing from the organization and optimize some day-to-day processes in order to make employees life better. Maintaining the team spirit is one of my ultimate goals so that people can see themselves in our company for a long time and also anything building initiative needs to have consistency in order to be successful so this is also a milestone.

    Thank you so much for your time Theodora!
    We really appreciate your Insight and your input.

    Thanks for having me here and it was a pleasure discussing this new phenomenon that has emerged over the last two years and has affected how the employees work, how we work.

    It was our pleasure too! Thank you all very much, back to Marietta.

    And with this, our webinar already comes to an ends. To quickly recap I’d like you to remember these key points. Remote work can boost productivity but it requires strong management and effective communication and collaboration.

    Thank you all for joining us.

    For today’s webinar I hope you find the information and insights here to be valuable and you will be able to apply them into your own organization. But remember to facilitate a dedicated workspace, establish clear boundaries and communication channels and encourage your employees to prioritize self-care by making time for it. By following these tips and adapting to the unique challenges of remote work, your employees will remain productive and engaged. I hope you enjoyed learning from the experts Andrea, Depi and the interview led by Eva with our special guest Theodora from OCTO.

    Now if there are any questions or you want to would like to talk about any business opportunities or interested to start adding some gamification in your workspace yourself. Please don’t hesitate to drop us an email at demo at Where we also would like to offer you a free one-on-one consultation with the filthy expert.
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    For now, have a great day and goodbye.