8 Steps to Boosting Employee Engagement on Virtual Events

September 3, 2020

Melissa Park

 

Melissa “Mel” Park is a global event producer who has utilized her engaging personality, unending energy and attention to logistical and design details to build an award-winning business recognized across the U.S. and Australia. She is the creator, producer and host of The Mel-Factor Podcast; a contributing writer to numerous publications; and a sought-after keynote speaker and panelist. 

With everyone adapting to working from home, there has never been a better time to host a virtual (and regularly scheduled!) employee engagement event, and it’s not as difficult as it may seem. 

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Schedule it. Using Zoom or a similar platform, have a company leader schedule the call as an “all hands on deck” so employees know their attendance is expected. Be sure to keep the subject line and messaging upbeat. With layoffs happening daily, the last thing you want is to scare your employees.
  2. Set a clear agenda. There is nothing more awkward than going into a meeting and wondering why you’re there. This feeling is exaggerated in an online setting, so it’s important to set a clear agenda and outline your expectations from everyone on the call.
  3. Kick it off with music. Music is an instant mood booster, so rather than spend the first few minutes in silence, play an upbeat popular song to get everyone in the spirit and keep them entertained while you’re waiting for everyone to join the call.
  4. Lead by example. It’s a really tricky time, and you should be honest and transparent with your employees — but at the same time, avoid doom and gloom. Have the leader who set up the call welcome everyone, thank them for coming, provide a brief and factual situation update, and reinforce how proud the management team is of everyone who is adapting so well.
  5. Share your "Peak of the Week." This is a concept based on wins and positive news stories — no matter how large or small. If you have a small team, ask everyone to share theirs individually, if you're part of a large organization, ask department heads to share a handful for their team.
  6. Celebrate. Every win should be celebrated. Have a playlist lined up and play a snippet of a track at the end of every “Peak” so employees can get into the spirit and really celebrate one another. Employees will be looking to senior management to provide an example of what this celebration should look like, so even if it’s out of your comfort zone, all members of leadership need to be clapping, cheering, singing or grooving to whatever track is played. While you should always stay true to you, if you’re ever going to make a fool of yourself, now is the time to do it.
  7. Recap and a final note. Once everyone has been celebrated, it’s time for a quick recap and brief inspiring closing note. While you don’t want to avoid employee questions, I’d suggest requesting that employees send their questions to a particular person and addressing them all via a company-wide email or on your Intranet. While you want to be real with your team, you also want to avoid having all of your morale boosting efforts overtaken by a long list of questions that will likely be coming from a place of fear.
  8. Cheers! End the call inviting everyone to join you for a virtual drink and while you’re all enjoying your beverage of choice, played out to a portion of one final uplifting (but not cheesy) popular song.

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