Staying Engaged & Connected in a Remote World

Culture · Dec 3, 2020

If COVID-19 had happened prior to the invention of computers, cellphones, or the internet, our ability to continue the day-to-day activities in our lives would have been extremely challenging, if not nearly impossible. During times of unprecedented disruption in our lives, our digitally-connected world has offered us the ease and flexibility to stay connected with each other. Through technology, we are able to communicate and stay in touch with family, friends, and our colleagues at the touch of a button.
Despite this flexibility, the shift to a remote working environment has a definite impact on the way we stay engaged, motivated, and build relationships with each other. As remote work becomes the new norm, it is more important than ever to rethink the team member experience in ways that respect individual differences and needs. To do this, we must continue to listen to the evolving needs of our team and adapt accordingly, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. At TELUS Digital, we launched a monthly engagement survey, supported by several groups and committees to ensure we are being mindful, action-oriented, and addressing engagement in a more dynamic, targeted, and sustainable way. Together, our joint vision is tocreate an inclusive, diverse, and unique environment where our team members are inspired and empowered to create the best experiences for our customers. 
To create such an environment, we first need to understand what engagement means to our team members:
“Engagement to me means that everyone on the team is set up to thrive when they show up for work every day. That includes the basics like access to job-related tools and resources, but more importantly supportive and empathetic leaders who help to remove barriers; work-related or personal. Engagement is also a term that makes me think of teams; human connection is so important that it's hard for one person to be engaged if their peers aren't.” - Marie Daley (Senior Strategy Manager, Service Design)
“Try to create an environment that invites people to be engaged (e.g., Is it psychologically safe, encourages/enables all voices to be heard, help people understand how the purpose of their work aligns with their personal purpose) and see what happens. If the outcome isn't what you'd hoped, learn from it and try again.”- Chris Peressotti (Scrum Master)
“For a team of people to feel enabled to share, excited to do so, and given a variety of ways in which to do it. Being given opportunities to share my thoughts, insight into what's being done, and social occasions/time for each team to step away from work. Encourage working norms that remove workload and stress from people - not just days off. Some empathy needs to be built in order for people to be able to share their struggles (in a positive way) so that we can build a shared sense of what's going on.” - Robert MacKie (Engagement Manager)
“Engagement to me means motivating a person or team to provide their full attention, energy, and effort in an activity or piece of work. Engaged individuals and teams at work are excited and care about the work they do and strive to be the best version of themselves in their job.” - Jonathan Dunn(Strategy Manager)
Across TELUS Digital, we have several groups and committees focused on driving towards our collective vision for culture. Each group plays a critical role in fostering the culture we want to work in, enabling our team members to thrive, stay connected, and bring their best selves to work. 

People Experience Team

A dedicated team focused on managing the people experience journey across brand, hiring, onboarding, learning and development, tools, and processes, as well as people strategy & analytics.

Engagement Guild

A group of 19 team members with representation across Digital focused on identifying and prioritizing engagement opportunities and implementing solutions within their own teams and sharing lessons learned across the guild. 

Anti-Racism Working Group

A peer group committed to tackling anti-racism at Digital / TELUS and striving towards creating a more equitable workplace.

FunOps Team

A volunteer group dedicated to brainstorming and facilitating social activities to bring the TELUS Digital team together. 
Fostering an inclusive, engaged, motivated, and connected culture & workforce is an ongoing journey well beyond this pandemic. We have to be empathetic and continue to listen and adapt our behaviours and ways of working to make this sustainable in an ever-changing environment. To do this, we must create a foundation for sustainable change. At Digital, this means…
  • Having the full support from our leadership team: Our leaders help set the precedent that family and health come first, giving us all permission to manage our time as we need. - Marie Daley (Senior Strategy Manager, Service Design)
  • Frequent monitoring of engagement: Even if the outcome of your engagement initiatives is what you had hoped, it may not be long-term. It is important to frequently monitor engagement and respond when something new is needed. - Chris Peressotti (Scrum Master)
  • Staying positive & providing flexibility:Keep a pulse on the team, keep a positive element to every major meeting, and provide the flexibility to change our commitments as changes continually come. - Robert MacKie (Engagement Manager)
  • Continuously providing opportunities to stay connected: Providing opportunities through slack channels, clubs, communities, and socials for team members to frequently connect, share life updates, and talk about things that aren't necessarily directly work related. - Jonathan Dunn (Strategy Manager)
To make a meaningful impact on the engagement and well-being of our team members’, it’s not enough to be reactive. We must focus on our long-term engagement outcomes and goals, create a foundation for sustainable change, and constantly adapt our behaviours and ways of working to meet the unique needs of our team members. This is only the beginning of our engagement journey and we are excited to continue exploring, learning, testing, and evolving during this unprecedented time. 
Our team is growing! To join something awesome, check out our 
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Authored by:
Vanessa Yuang
Vanessa Yuang
Senior Strategy Manager
Vanessa Yuang is a Senior Digital Strategy Manager at TELUS Digital and part of the Digital Engagement Guild.