How to avoid ‘death by webinar’

You need to do more to help manage screen fatigue

How to avoid ‘death by webinar’

Leaders need to be more creative to engage employees and help them manage their well-being, suggested Bala Subramaniam, director - group talent management & development at Singtel. From experience, he’s found that it’s common for leaders to utilise a one-way engagement strategy to connect with staff. “I’m guilty of organising song and dance,” he said during a HRD panel event. “Every HR person would have organised some kind of singing contest [or] variety show. So that was our first go-to, to say, let’s give people something to connect and engage.”

While these light-hearted events may boost engagement and allow team members to bond, they may not be enough to help remote workers struggling with serious issues like disengagement, disconnectedness, burnout or a ‘slow burn’ – where you don’t realise you’re burning out until it’s too late. “We did that initially but then it gets to a fatigue point as well,” he said. “That’s what we call ‘death by webinar’, so the moment somebody sees a webinar appear in their email inbox, they would just log off.”

Read more: Zoom fatigue: How HR can help exhausted workers

At that point, the leadership team realised that there needs to be some balance when it comes to outreach efforts so that you won’t “overload people” or turn them off for future events. “You need to have a methodology where you’re able to have two-way communication,” he said. This means going beyond just a “push” strategy to engage workers, but also to “pull” them in by seeking feedback and allowing them to communicate what they truly needed – especially in terms of well-being support.

The team at Singtel thus turned to pulse surveys to get quick and relevant input from employees. “[Surveys] gave us exactly what people were looking for,” he said. “And that allowed us to create events or engagement opportunities that were relevant for people at that point in time.” For example, remote employees struggling to manage work and home responsibilities wanted extra support to get through the month-long school holidays. Singtel’s HR team went on to develop activities to keep children occupied and hopefully give the parents a break – at least when they’re on an important video work call.

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