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The Do’s and Don’ts of Building Engagement in Today’s World

The Do’s and Don’ts of Building Engagement in Today’s World

Have your work activities changed since March 15? Have these changes improved your work productivity or hindered it? Have they increased your engagement or decreased it? These questions are NEITHER rhetorical nor coy. Some folks are insanely busy and freakishly engaged right now, while others may be struggling. Navigating the working world with COVID-19 is anything but business as usual.

Building engagement at work and choosing to be a company who supports it’s people during the good times and the bad is what sets an exemplary employer apart from the pack. Reaching out to employees during tough times – especially in today’s tough times – and making sure they are engaged at work is what separates the great companies from the good and the not so good places to work. Below are tips for how to find the right training for your team (the DO’S) as well as insights regarding how well-meaning training efforts can backfire (the DON’TS).

Frequently, I discuss this choice as being similar to the choice we make about what to eat. Most of us recognize that some foods are healthier than others. Eating healthy and nutritious foods make us feel good in the long run.”Junk food” can taste good in the short-term but will not give us the energy we need and may damage our health in the long-term. The same goes for providing healthy training programs to your employees. Some training is simply “healthier” than others. A “healthy” training program will help you and your organization in the long run. Below are tips for what to look for when selecting the right training to build engagement in your team.


  1. Personalize Your Approach – Your people are one-of-a kind. Your training should reflect the unique personalities and the distinct talents of your team. Are you hoping to build engagement for warehouse personnel, engineers, or sales people? These three groups undoubtedly have very different likes, dislikes, needs, motivators, and more. Be sure to find an engagement training that harnesses the unique strengths of your team.
  2. Use Training Based on Research and Science – The field of organizational behavior (referred to as OB psychology) is still young – less than 100 years old. In the past, there were few training options that had scientific data to back up their effectiveness. Word of mouth became the easiest way to find a decent training program. Those days are long gone. Despite that fact, many professionals still forget to look for training programs that are based on solid research. If a training initiative claims to improve engagement, the next questions should be: how much and how do you know that?
  3. Find a Program that Is Relevant to Today’s Concerns – Make sure your program addresses recent work place changes.  Select a training program that focuses on identifying relevant problems and fixing them . During COVID-19, relevancy is more than a nice to have – it’s a must-have.


  1. Use a One-Size-Fits-All Approach – Generic training, training that is off-the-shelf, and one-size-fits-all is rarely suitable for your organization’s specific needs. Is it less expensive? Yes. Is it less time consuming to set up and deliver? Yes. Is it less effective? Absolutely yes. A customized approach to training will allow your team members to better understand each other and how they can address the current initiatives. A one-size-fits-all approach can promote disengagement because employees can feel they are not understood.
  2. Use Training Resources Just Because You Have In the Past – The easiest route is rarely the best route when it comes to training and building engagement. If your organization has a history of using a particular product, make sure that this loyalty is based on proven benefits. Effective engagement training should increase engagement as well as productivity, profitability, and customer loyalty. Dusting off outdated training programs can be viewed by employees as an “easy fix” and further increase disengagement.
  3. Ignore New Pain Points and Challenges – Overlooking new difficulties for the team, sweeping them under the rug, and pretending all is fine can confuse and anger team members. If there are real challenges that need to be addressed, find a training program that will help build consensus around solving the issue(s). Ignoring the challenges will only delay your team’s ability to right their path.

If your company is like most, you did a commendable job addressing employees’ basic needs (safety, stability, and security) during the first phase of COVID-19 (see article). Now that your state is in a subsequent phase, what’s your plan to address engagement and meet your employees’ needs?

To learn more about meeting employees where they are today and raising engagement, contact me at or take a quick look at some training packages for you and your team.

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