Covid-19 continues to teach companies worldwide many things, and among these, how important Employee Engagement has become for organizations to thrive in a post-pandemic reality. In fact, having a dedicated focus on employee engagement has never been more important.
We know by now that companies with engaged employees outperform rivals without an engaged workforce by c.202% and that highly engaged businesses benefit from a 10% increase in customer ratings and a 20% increase in sales. Engagement is more than ping pong tables and free lunches, and it has become much more important, yet more authentic in implementation over the past year.
Throughout last year, employees have turned to their leaders to connect, support, and recognize them in the changing world of 2020. In June, for example, Gallup reported only 31% of employees were engaged, and since then with recent events, this number has skyrocketed to 40%.
But how exactly has the landscape of employee engagement changed?
Well, the truth is that there are three key areas that have helped businesses shape their employee strategy to come out the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic the right way. These companies have implemented internal plans that are aiming to see their post-COVID-19 employee engagement strategy evolve to one that:
- Is Human: The new era of post-COVID-19 employee engagement has to be one that is inclusive, personalized, and, above all human. When employees were unsure where to turn, what resources were available to them, or if they were waking up to losing their job, HR stepped in to be the partner that businesses needed, and that their people craved. Businesses that continue to put their people first and show employees that they care through meaningful recognition, open and honest communications and inclusive wellbeing will be the ones that employees want to be a part of. Leaders can do this by creating channels for open and honest conversation and feedback to let employees offer their voice and positively influence cultural transformation. Reaching your entire workforce demographic means putting in place initiatives that allow for a myriad of voices to influence your entire business.
- Is Innovative: Budget constraints and a changing workplace environment require new ways of working, including how to do more with less – less budget, fewer people, and less time. So how can HR partner with their business to best connect, recognize and support their people, without hampering potential business growth? The businesses that work within these constraints to continually innovate will surge ahead of their competition, which means understanding how to find dual and multi-purpose solutions to business challenges. A tick-the-box solution that only serves one purpose isn’t going to move the needle on engagement strategy and certainly won’t benefit the budget constraints many businesses are finding themselves in!
- Is Agile: Engaged employees are essential to business growth. We know this. But in a post-COVID-19 world, engaged employees are what businesses need to truly transform themselves to get on the path to success. To get there, businesses must take an agile approach to their employee engagement strategy and be willing to accept that their first plan might not be their only plan, and needs to be agile to fulfil the changing needs of their business and their people. The ones that will stand the test of time are the ones that can pivot quickly to put in place successful initiatives.
Based on these considerations, it’s clear how important it is for organizations not to understate the importance of employee engagement in a moment like this. Now, though, it’s up to leaders! They need, in fact, to find the right tools to keep the momentum going and make their business even stronger in a post-COVID-19 era.
And the right way for them to nail this starts from ensuring their people feel connected to their organization even amidst a shift to virtual and remote work (which will continue to be more commonly practised), continues with helping employees understand how their roles and day-to-day contributions deliver value, especially to the business’s priorities and future sustainability, and finishes with supporting employees by creating a safe space for concerns around mental, financial, and physical health.
Putting all these measures in place is hard, we know this, but it’s the only way for companies to embrace the post-pandemic world the right way. And if you’re wondering why we’re telling this, well, it’s because we can help you.
Before concluding this post though, we wanted to raise another important point: the link between employee engagement, morale, and productivity.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, where employees are faced with worries such as health, safety, and job security, employee morale continually becomes a concern for companies. According to mental health provider Ginger, 62% of workers surveyed reported losing at least one hour daily in productivity due to COVID-19-related stress, with more than a third of them losing more than two hours daily.
Employee morale has always been among the most important things for companies, and it applies to the overall outlook and attitude of your workforce. But in an ever-changing environment, morale can turn overnight if not nurtured and cared for by the business.
If your people feel appreciated and supported by their company, they’re more likely to work smarter (and harder) to benefit the business. On the flip side, leaders who don’t address morale issues will see decreased productivity and a negative effect on customer experience.
So, let’s keep in mind that even if engagement evolves, some things never change – and our employees’ morale is still one of the most important things for companies out there.