We are all living and working through unprecedented times with the COVID-19 pandemic. Anxiety is felt by many employees in businesses, large and small, as they come to terms with inevitable uncertainty and new ways of working.
In an online Ipsos MORI survey, half (49%) of British workers say they are finding it more difficult to work now than they did before the outbreak of COVID-19.
Understand employee needs
Now more than ever, it is important to understand the needs of employees – one size does not fit all. Without this feedback, staff motivation and engagement are difficult to maintain.
While it is impossible to meet every need for every individual, leaders are more widely trusted for instigating the conversation and demonstrating empathy with a view to steering positive change.
It is this demonstration of strong and inspiring leadership that nurtures a positive and connected business culture. One where employees feel respected, valued and empowered.
Whether teams are based in the office or working remotely, Coronavirus has changed the dynamic of work for the foreseeable future. How businesses address the key issues of mental and physical wellbeing, environment, communication, relationships, goals and targets among others, will define their success or failure in maximising employee engagement and performance.
It is therefore good practice to keep this process simple and focused on the employee at every single stage. Firstly, identify the key indicators to measure engagement across your teams (such as the examples given above). And secondly, use this as the basis for an online survey to gain insight across the workforce.
Inclusiveness and empowerment
The returned datasets should be reviewed closely to establish some common themes running throughout a business. Priority should be given to areas with the lowest scores (an indication of employee dissatisfaction or disengagement).
Importantly publish the results of the survey to the team, enabling individuals to reflect on their own input and that of their colleagues to get a much greater perspective of business wide thinking.
Moreover, empower staff to create employee forums, organise solution seeking sessions and nominate champions to positively influence the process for change and transformation, based on the survey results.
With momentum created and employees integral to the process, a documented action plan should be drawn up – a blueprint for progress. This includes a list of objectives, actions, timelines, and accountability for enhancing employee engagement through the collaboration of the team leader and team.
As initiatives are implemented, maintain regular communication with all employees including the announcement of important updates. And don’t forget to celebrate individual, team and company successes too!
Measurement and review
Job done! some might say. But this is just the start of an evolving process. Needs change and as the pandemic has proved, so too does the environment we operate in. Therefore, it remains imperative to keep a finger on the pulse and understand the changing internal and external landscape. Good leadership must prevail to drive progress and build trust within the business.
Be sure to analyse data moving forward in collaboration with individuals, teams and departments. And maintain their involvement throughout to shape employee engagement strategy and build a culture to be proud of.