How to Foster Employee Engagement in the Post-Pandemic Workplace

Leverage digital tools to maintain an organizational culture despite a hybrid workforce.   July 20, 2023

By Jeff Wardon, Jr., Assistant Editor

The pandemic shook up a lot in facilities management. One area in particular was the facilities management staff. Now, organizations are left trying to reconnect all the scattered pieces and keep them in place. To help do so, Jason Patomson, chief operating officer at Indigo Stone Advisors, will be hosting the session “Creating Culture, Engagement, and Retaining Talent Post Pandemic” at NFMT Remix, running this October 25 to 26 in Orlando, Florida. 

NFMT: What strategies can facilities management teams implement to create a positive and inclusive organizational culture that fosters employee engagement and satisfaction?   

Patomson: So, our leadership practices are firmly rooted in neuropsychology and that is basically the study of the brain and how the brain operates. We leverage our knowledge of that brain function to create positive workspaces. One of the best ways leaders can do that is to create a positive organizational culture and the way we do that is by embracing positive psychology.  

It is a shift in the psychology movement that occurred in the ‘70s and is just now gaining traction over the last 10 years. The easiest way to get into that bucket of work without becoming a neuropsychologist, is to use the Gallup Strength Finder assessment. We combine that with our proprietary methodology to create strengths-based cultures and that goes all the way from the C-Suite to the individual contributor. What it is at its heart is finding out what gives every employee in your organization the ability to be a superhero and then leaning into that power every single day.  

That also gives us the ability to encourage diversity of talent. Which not only leads to better performance, but exponentially increases engagement and satisfaction. By giving your team members the ability to approach their tasks in a manner that leverages what they are naturally good at instead of trying to fit them into a cookie cutter mold, you get better results across the board, and you also have more engaged team members. 

NFMT: In what ways can facilities management leaders leverage technology and digital tools to enhance employee engagement, promote a sense of belonging, and support remote or hybrid work arrangements?   

Patomson: The big thing that we have lost because of the pandemic is water cooler time and the other community building moments that just occurred organically. We can still create those moments, but we can no longer expect them to occur incidentally as just a part of our day. We have got to take intentional steps in the hybrid remote environment to create those water cooler type moments.  

The way that we do it is by leveraging the tools that accelerated during that window. Calendly and Zoom both existed pre-pandemic, but they have grown so much more robust as well as all the other calendaring and video conferencing tools. The key to building social networks and to building social cohesion in a workforce is by voice or face-to-face contact.  

Now that face-to-face conversation can occur over video conference, but communication does not occur over text or e-mail. Those are just mere means of transmittal of information. So, if we can be intentional about being on the phone or video conference with our team members at least once a week, and it does not have to be for an hour. If we can get 10 to 15 minutes a week, connect with each one of our direct reports, we are going to be improving those social connections.  

The other thing we should be doing is using our social networks: our calendar apps, Teams, all the other options that are available to us in the technological space to create moments for social engagement. Now those can be work focused or they can just be purely social. However, the key is to get the entire or as many of the team members as you can together in the same physical space. Creating those social bonds is going to do a great thing to increase engagement. When we feel like we belong to a group or an organization, we are going to be happier about working there and we are going to be less likely to leave that space. Continuing to get people out of the cave, even if it is once a month, is going to be beneficial in this space. 

To learn more about creating culture, engagement and retaining talent in facilities management, be sure to check out Patomson’s session at NFMT Remix this October. Register for Remix here

Jeff Wardon, Jr. Is the assistant editor for the facilities market. 


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