The Future of Employee Engagement? A More Human Approach

We thought we knew a lot about about employee engagement ... but then the COVID-19 pandemic came along which changed everything.

Now, a year into this new way of life, employers are trying to find ways to maintain a positive connection with employees -- many of whom remain in remote positions. 

As we start planning for 2021, this is an opportune time to evaluate how our organizations are managing employee engagement. What can HR and other leaders do to pave the way for better processes concerning valuable people resources? How can we use a more personal, human approach to encourage employees to see themselves as part of our future? 

Understand the challenges of employees 

Companies have made adjustments to soften the impact of the pandemic, but statistically remote workers are more prone to feelings of isolation and poor socialization merely because they are geographically separated from peers.

All employees are subject to high levels of stress due to health concerns, responsibilities of home-schooling kids, and financial worries. Around the world, governments and leaders are acting out their own political dramas -- creating uncertainty. All of this can lead to disengagement and a breakdown in employee productivity. 

It’s vital to determine at the organizational level what is being done to address these challenges. While it’s impossible to control every aspect of life, it is possible to focus on supporting employees to soften the impact. How? 

HR can issue a pulse survey and gather information about what’s pressing the most on employees. Using this information, programs can be put in place to benefit employees. For example, the organization can provide perks for employees, such as: 

- Home delivery of meals and groceries

- Online tutorial support for school-age children

- Telemedicine and prescription drug delivery 

- Mobile mental health and counseling programs

- Social activities and work breaks for all employees

- Financial wellness and budgeting programs

- Additional contributions to retirement and health savings

- Generous paid time off benefits 

- Short-term disability and hospital insurance

These are just a handful of ways to support employees and help them to re-engage at work. By seeing things through the personal experience of employees, organizations benefit because they encourage loyalty. When employees feel valued, they in return do their best work. 

Being a transparent and human-centered leader 

Once you’ve identified the needs of employees and providing resources, the work begins to become better at leading people through the uncertainties. This starts by being a human-centered leader. 

In her book, Leading the Workforce of the Future, Bridget Hyacinth says, “Our world doesn't need more numbers-driven leaders, but purpose-driven leaders.” She goes on to add that the human touch makes better leaders and therefore a high degree of emotional intelligence is favorable. High EI is made up of abilities that help to understand, evaluate, and identify the feelings of others. In this time, being in touch with one’s EI and being more empathetic to the daily experience of employees is highly important. 

Hyacinth shares, “numerous studies have shown a positive relationship between emotionally intelligent leadership and higher levels of employee engagement and performance.”

She emphasizes more empathy and vulnerability as the secrets to being a more human-centered leader who gets results. This can also include being transparent with employees, so they know where things stand and what to expect. 

As we move into the next season, be mindful of how leaders are coming across. This is the time to convey to everyone at every level in the organization that there is a shared human experience happening -- and that leadership is listening. 


Thymometrics provides tools that improve employee engagement and anonymous communication channels to help people feel connected when working remotely. Our feedback solutions provide revolutionary yet simple tools to empower employees and monitor wellbeing whilst providing managers with insights to improve business culture, productivity and profitability.

For more information, please call 01223 750251, email or visit

Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash