How Covid-19 has made for better employee engagement

employee engagement

The Coronavirus (Covid-19) is accelerating one of the most significant organisational transformations in generations. Indeed, it is a health crisis but also for many organisations. It is also a fantastic possibility to change.

In the centre of a pandemic, research now signifies that organisations are managing their personnel much better than ever before. And employee engagement, an issue that plagues over two-thirds of businesses year after year, is rising. Research originating from research done by Willis Towers Watson, demonstrates that companies are bending over backwards to deal with their workers.

The Willis study found that 90% of organisations believe their culture has enhanced. 83% believe that their employee experience is better, and 84% believe employee engagement has gone upwards. It has taken a worldwide health crisis for business and HR executives to awaken to the truth that when individuals do not feel safe, supported, or emotionally secure. They simply struggle to do their jobs effectively. Thus, we see that this is an organisational transformation disguised as a pandemic.

Companies are protecting workers

It is clear from data that the main thing on the minds of most employees today is financial security. Yes, they are worried about their health. Additionally, they are concerned about their jobs, the future of the company, and their ability to take care of their loved ones. For younger workers, they are now worried about their prospects in the job market.

How are organisations handling this?

  • They are providing employees with more flexible benefits
  • Enhancing work at home programs
  • Presenting employees with free wellness and other styles of learning& development
  • Encouraging people to take a paid holiday
  • Helping furloughed people find new jobs
  • Some businesses are assisting workers with loans and financial counselling.

While you will discover furloughs and layoffs in numerous sectors, the general focus on pay is positive. The Willis Towers Watson research found that only 15% are decreasing wages and only 17% are lowering or delaying merit increases.

A focus on personal productivity, wellbeing, and personal resilience

More than 90% of firms commenced their work from home program for the first time. The very first problem they had to navigate was getting laptops or computers, online access, security, and equipment into people’s households, which was not straightforward.

In India, for instance, individuals stay in tiny spaces. Firms were forced to purchase equipment, deliver it, and go through government vendors to get it all into peoples’ houses. Also, since the internet is hit and miss across the country, companies like Service Now provided generous personnel allowances for Mi-Fi devices. They just said: “go out and buy what you need, do not worry about the expense forms.”

Individuals started working at home, and organisations immediately uncovered concerns with social isolation, stress, and time management. Doing work at home needs an innovative list of practices for governance, collaboration, and teamwork.

The response has been encouraging. Organisations are teaching yoga and have group training programs online; in one company, the cook is teaching cooking sessions. Another has launched a “happiness challenge” for folks working from home.

Included in this, is a substantial rise in employee surveys and feedback. Qualtrics have experienced almost 100,000 downloads to their free of charge set of workplace and COVID tools. Nearly every firm I talk to is doing regular online surveys and virtual forums to listen more than ever.

On the subject of productivity, the consensus is supportive in on working from home. It happens to be more productive than coming into the office. In the Towers research, only 21% of businesses stated it was holding them back.

Growth in L&D

Many businesses have stopped face to face training, which has led to the consumption of online learning is skyrocketing. Everyone is home more, and they would like to learn about the crisis, their jobs, and the things they can do to stay ahead of the game. One of the world’s most well-known pharmaceutical organisations workforce consumed more than half a million learning hours in the last sixty days

L&D departments usually struggle to get people to ingest their courses. That is no longer the case. Every organisation I talked with described an appetite for education: not only on business topics, but also on literature, home baking, meditation, and more. Keep in mind that most well-balanced people are the types who perform best – people at home have somewhat more free time. Hence, they develop personal skills to make themselves feel better.

Changing the culture of leadership

The research shows that;

  • 63% of HR leaders believe that their business culture has increased
  • 59% think their employee wellbeing has enhanced
  • 55% think their employee experience has enhanced

Look at how managers are responding.

employee engagement managers

Many organisations are radically rethinking their leadership development programs and now concentrated on empathy, resilience, compassion, and safety.

Think of this. At the start of the pandemic, 53% of HR teams said their management were “responding to the leads of others.” That number has risen to 81%.

Executives see that there is not any way out of this situation without taking care of their workforce first.

One way I think of this crisis is that this is “the biggest learning experience of our lifetime.” If we keep an open mind, we can learn about people, business, the economy, and the ways to make our companies more long-lasting in the future.

“Work from home” is working

It feels costly and disruptive, to begin with. Still, as research shows, work from home gives individuals a feeling of empowerment, trust, and focus. The study revealed that 79% of organisations see a favourable or neutral change in worker productivity, and only 21% said it decreased. Remote work was always a grand idea, and now it looks like it is going to be here to stay.

COVID-19 accelerated digital transformation. Novartis rolled out Microsoft Teams within days, NextDoor revamped their onboarding across one weekend. Nokia built a live dashboard to track the virus in less than one week.

What this crisis has demonstrated is that people adapt very quick: businesses adapt slower, unless a situation like this arises. We now have an understanding that if we empower and look after people, then they will adjust and do impressive things. We only have to provide them with the tools, time, and culture to ensure success.

Refocused investment in HR and talent programs

  • Even though finances are being slashed and refactored in real-time, 78% are committing to more onboarding (often to accommodate remote workers)
  • 74% are investing in recruitment, and 69% are investing in training programs.
  • 48% are altering their performance management systems

Some companies are looking at stopping all performance and goal programs for the next twelve months. The airline industry has done this, many tech organisations have done this, and the Towers study shows that 54% of businesses are considering doing the same.

One of the main people trends within the last ten years is the shift away from “individual performance” to “team performance.” The pandemic is speeding this up. A study by CultureAmp found that 96% of people who grade their organisation favourably state “I am being treated well and fairly by my peers.”

The Covid-19 pandemic is changing business for the better

Among the impressive characteristics in this crisis is our new ability to “get things done rapidly.” Firms are building innovative programs in days and nights instead of many months. Over two-thirds of respondents told us that they are prioritising relationships as they have never done before.

Trust in business leaders has gone up

95% of the respondents from the survey believe leaders have demonstrated a sincere interest in employee wellbeing. While 85% believe employees have trust and confidence in the job done by their executive teams.

Groups are coming together to listen to their individuals, talk, and work in collaboration on projects like never before. Individuals are helping each other, asking each other how they are doing, and listening more than ever before.

The vital thing to realise about this crisis is a crucial lesson in business: When the organisation takes care of its individuals, the individuals take care of the organisation.

After many years of work on employee engagement, culture, employee experience, and HR technology, it has taken an international pandemic to move forwards. Bringing the change, many have wanted for years.

Do you need help with your employee engagement? Contact Beagle HR today