Enriching the Ether

The new dynamics of employee engagement and enrichment

If the engagements in the last couple of months are anything to go by, it appears that the corporate appetite for employee enrichment programs is back. New and existing corporate clients are getting back in touch, keen to explore ways to engage their teams and enrich their work experience within the new dynamics of a decentralised workspace.

This is hugely exciting, as businesses are recalibrating through the initial disruption to operations in the first half of 2020. Remote collaborative platforms have been tested and established, new communication processes are in place, business visions and strategies have been hashed out and work teams are adjusting to connection and collusion via voice and video.

Business culture commentary is awash with fantastic ideas on how to replicate the softer side of connection that was enabled through face-to-face contact in an office. As people’s work and home boundaries blur, team check-ins, time devoted to sharing beyond current workload, one-to-one calls for employees, greater flexibility on work processes and leave entitlements are all being experimented with.

This adaptability of business is always so impressive. It’s a testament to progressive thinking and the ingenuity generated when groups of minds work together on a common aim. It’s what we humans do best. We adapt.

There is a general acceptance that remote work modes, in some form or combination with office modes, are here to stay. Forbes.com recently dubbed the phenomenon the ‘Work from Home Revolution’, led largely by the tech quarter. Twitter, Square, Facebook, Shopify, Coinbase, Upwork, Lambda Schools and Barclays have all announced office closures until at least mid-2021, as the new requirement for office is being worked through and a transition to ‘remote-first’ systems is being stabilised. Surveys show this is the preference for the majority of employees too.

Most industries recognise the importance of the office within this new mix of alternatives. However, its role and purpose are being redefined. The commentary is moving from ‘workspace’ to ‘workplace’ and new technologies for hot-desking and ensuring place hygiene and people’s safety in a world where pandemics are now an accepted reality, are on the rise.

Hand-in-hand with the adaptation of workplace and processes is the shift in employee engagement and enrichment requirements. This requirement to adapt employee support has seen an evolution in the area.

Early in my career, I was involved in award-winning culture change programs in Australia’s financial services industry. These programs enabled front-line workers to better serve customers – a people-oriented approach. I worked with an organisation that went on to lead the way in progressive workspaces and employee enablement, wellness and development programs – now commonplace, yet key to attracting talent. I was associated with the adoption and evolution of psychometric testing in the workplace, the acceptance of emotional intelligence as a viable and vital aspect for leaders and teams, and the return to vision and core values defined by the entire organisation. That is, the ‘soft skills’ within an organisation were being recognised as the hidden superpowers. I participated in the digital revolution of workspaces and work modes, unprecedented connectivity and the ability to generate a business plan, strategy, or client proposal in a continuous ongoing wave of creativity across teams around the world.

Now, more than ever, the emphasis for employees is on their ability to self-manage in all areas…their wellbeing, their mental clarity, their emotional resilience, and their energy levels.

It is becoming clear that Self-Mastery is emerging as the new superpower of the high-performance employee.
When discussing the briefs with my corporate clients for new employee engagement and enrichment programs, the priorities currently are three-fold: connection, self-mastery skills and fun bonding, and all deliverable via online platforms.

For me, it has meant a change-up in my programming. The delivery across online platforms has provided some clear efficiency and reach advantages. Sessions can now be easily recorded and made available to other teams outside of timezones or those unavailable to join live. Links to supporting materials and ongoing feedback as well as tracking of session impact and engagement are immediate. And there is a cost advantage when venue and event planning are off the table.

However, the new challenge is to incorporate into the programs, experiences that enable the same wonderful dynamics achievable when a team is together in one space: the bonding, humour, sharing, inspiration.

There is still a requirement for the usual instruction and guidance on meditation and mindfulness techniques and particularly in the areas of stress management, sleep management, improved cognitive function and emotional resilience. However, what I am finding when I send through proposed program outlines, is that employees are also interested in understanding their energy system, and the use of traditional techniques like mudra and breathwork. A new client in funds management, one which I would have pegged to respond to a more conservative program, after surveying its employees, has asked for sessions around energy healing. And for a global online industry event next month in insurance, I will be leading a practice in heart-centered intelligence. This is new!

The key for employee engagement and enrichment programs is to stay fluid and responsive to what people are asking for – not just the management, but the teams they are providing the programs for. So my proposals have switched to a more extensive menu of possibilities, which are then taken to employees for their preferences.

I am including new modules on cultivating creative thinking through meditation and exercises in creative expression, self-enquiry and conscious behavioural change. Included in the mix now are opportunities for some healthy team competition. So, not only are employees exploring new perspectives on the mind/body/energy system, their creative capacity and approaches to wellness, we are also including metrics and ongoing engagement so that they can, as a team, engage and share their progress with the techniques.

The other aspect I am focussing on is a greater emphasis on movement and somatic meditations, which gets them up from their desks in their homes and working with their bodies in new ways to enter present awareness, move energy through their system and clear the mind.

It’s an exciting time in Employee Enrichment; one where science, energy work and self-empowerment are coming together in the corporate space, across the ether.

If you’d like to access meditation, mindfulness and enrichment workshops for your organization, suited to employee welfare, team building and senior executive teams, please click here.

Or, book in for Return, a meditation course that influences health, emotions, perceptions, and the way you live your life.

Discovery is another useful course that provides instructions and practices to support self-enquiry and transformation.

If you are a provider in this space, or are looking to develop your online presence to expand to corporate clients, you can find all the smarts at this years 2020 Online Business Symposium, November 10th-12th. Details and registration here.

If you have any questions or thoughts about employee engagement and enrichment within the framework of the new, decentralised workspace in these current times, do get in touch.

You can also visit my website to explore courses and useful content to guide you on your path to healing, self-discovery and mindful living.

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