The secret to engaging employees during a crisis.

One of the most useful things I learned working in TV was how to create engagement.

If my documentaries didn’t get and hold my viewers’ attention, people would change channels and I’d be out of a job. It was so second nature to me, that when I returned to grad school after 20 years of that work, I was stunned to discover that literally, no one had studied adult engagement. So, I did. Specifically, I researched how to design engagement in technology-mediated learning.

I had no idea that, just a few years later, plummeting employee engagement would become a critical issue for organizations. Now, with millions of people around the world working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, engagement has evolved to crisis levels. Not only are workers distracted, fatigued, isolated and scared – but they’re also being forced to work through unfamiliar technologies, many for the first time.

So I thought it might be helpful to share a bit of what I’ve learned through my research and practice, to help managers make things better.