EHRWN Event Recap: New Year Open Forum

Author: Katie Forsha

All the ways we are improving communication practices with a hybrid staff, keeping employees engaged & taking care of mental health in the workplace.

It’s no secret that taking caring of your employees is more important than ever, whether that means encouraging a mental health day, offering coaching services, or creating a welcoming workspace.

Our Executive HR Women’s Network had an open discussion about the ways that we can encourage employee engagement and wellbeing while living in a world of remote work, and it generated some incredible best practices.

Best practices of remote work

Finding the balance between which employees can/should work from home vs. in the office while staying connected can be be tricky. Some of the best practices we've found are: 

  • Clearly explaining the why – Outlining what WFH/in-office expectations are for departments rather than individuals. 
  • Creating a more inviting desk space for those who are ‘hoteling’ their desk – This could mean something as simple as adding a plant or magnetic strip for people to bring in their own decor for the day. This should also include providing sanitizing supplies for people to clean off their space before working.
  • Finding one communication channel and sticking to it – Whether it be Slack or Teams, there are great tools to stay connected as a company, especially with those who are working remotely. Perhaps more important than which channel used, is the idea that companies stick to one as it eliminates the confusion of deciding which platform to use at what time (ex: texting, emailing, messaging, etc.)

Maintaining employee engagement

Keeping employees engaged both in and out of the office has been a challenge for many businesses. Here are some ideas on how to encourage employees to remain engaged:

  • Reintroducing the teams – With the growth of several businesses over the past few years, the idea of introducing departments via a video series is a great way to welcome new hires while also reintroducing teams to the existing staff.  

  • Offering virtual events – This could be anything from virtual summits to presentations (or awesome groups like EHRWN 😉) that reach a virtual audience.  

  • Being transparent with goals – As a way of making sure staff feel motivated, it’s important to continuously monitor goals and adjust as necessary. Keeping a weekly scorecard of goals that are achieved/not achieved has been a useful measuring tool for making sure employees openly discuss their goals while also keeping them achievable.  

  • Showing appreciation – Whether it be hand-written notes, gift cards or half-days off, it is important to recognize the work of employees and remind them of their value within an organization. Some sites that were highly recommended to check out are: 
 * reminder that National Staff Appreciation Day is March 4th*

Encouraging employee wellbeing

Focusing on establishing a safe space for mental health is more important than ever. Here are some ways to encourage employees to prioritize their wellbeing: 

  • Providing virtual activities   This could mean a virtual yoga class, mindful meditation or a conversation with a wellness coach. Making these resources accessible to virtual employees makes it more inclusive and potentially less intimidating to staff.
  • Encouraging a ‘you’ day – The key to employees using PTO & wellness days beyond those for planned vacations or events is for leaders to set a good example. Employees will likely feel more comfortable when they see it’s not only encouraged, but demonstrated by leadership to take care of their mental health.
  • Wellness programs – Several companies have found success in offering reimbursements or incentives to employees who utilize wellness programs such as gym memberships. 

This conversation was extremely useful in tackling the challenges that many businesses are currently facing and brainstorming great solutions. If you’re a woman in HR looking to network, be sure to join our Linkedin group to stay up to date and get involved. 


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