Citrix CPO: ‘We make recognition a habit’

HRD reveals how to engage employees during COVID-19

Citrix CPO: ‘We make recognition a habit’

From dogs looking for walks to crying children, many employees have found it easy to disengage from the job while WFH.

While distractions may sound like trivial matters, employers should not underestimate the power of engagement.

According to a Virgin Pulse survey, remote employees are more likely to be disengaged and quit, an alarming reality when most of the workforce has shifted to remote work.

Consequently, HR professionals have been tested to come up with ways to engage employees while they work remotely.

Fortunately, an engaging employee experience does not rely on activities, according to Donna Kimmel, executive vice president and chief people officer at Citrix.

“Virtual, or distributed, teams may miss happy hours and table tennis tournaments, but you truly keep them engaged by practicing your company values,” Kimmel told HRD.

“At Citrix, there are a few ways we keep employees connected to each other and our company vision. We make recognition a habit. We celebrate and talk about achievements.

“Recognition, even when it’s just a thoughtful email or conversation, shows people that what they’re doing matters, and it reinforces the behaviours we like to see.”

Why is recognition so important? A survey by OGO found that the lack of recognition has a massively negative impact on how employees feel about the workplace. According to the survey, 82% of American professionals feel that they aren’t adequately recognized for their contribution.

The research also found that 40% of workers would put energy into their work if they were recognised more often.

Read more: Burnout: Employees say HR ‘not doing enough to help’

“We also make time to check in with each other and really listen. We give ourselves the freedom to talk about work and our personal lives to keep us feeling connected and supported. And yes, we invite employees to be creative in how we can have fun together,” she said.

According to Kimmel, engaging employees  can also include virtual pizza lunches, trivia games, karaoke, scavenger hunts, fitness classes or challenges, photo contests, and even virtual volunteering – “as long as there is always good communication and purpose behind every interaction”.

Additionally, navigating the ‘war of talent’ requires a range of skills to drive attraction and retention of the most skilled workers.

Kimmel recommends for HR professionals to prioritise the employee experience by focusing on three things.

“One is culture. With your values and behaviours and with what your company does for its community, make people feel like they’re part of something special,” she said.

Read more: Why HR should encourage employees to sleep more

“They’re looking for companies that enable them to bring their whole selves to work – companies that are inclusive, support well-being, and invite different perspectives.”

Another is physical space. Kimmel said it’s important to design locations and interactions that inspire collaboration and innovation while offering comfort.

The third is digital space. Kimmel said it’s crucial to equip employees with technology, tools, and access so that they can work effectively, efficiently, easily from anywhere.

“Flexibility in where and how employees work is becoming increasingly important to candidates, and companies that give employees choice and the tools to contribute from anywhere will be more competitive,” said Kimmel.

“When you give people the space to succeed, they don’t keep great workplaces a secret. They spread the word for you, and talent will want to work with you.”

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