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The Secret to Engaged Employees During a Pandemic

Authored by Ayesha Rajan, Research Analyst at Vikriti Management Consulting

Introduction

With much of the world currently working from home, we constantly hear about the difficulties and struggles of not having an office space – no work/life separation, kids and pets in the house, coordinating quiet times with others, etc. However, despite these many struggles and challenges, employee engagement has increased significantly since the Covid-19 Pandemic began. In fact, a recent Gallup poll showed that employee engagement is at its highest since the year 2000 (Harter). What is the reasoning behind this? How can you utilize these findings in your own company? Today we will explore those concepts. 

Discussion

One reasoning behind increased employee engagement is tied to increased loyalty to a company. While we are hearing of waves of layoffs and furloughs happening regularly, some companies, such as Verizon and Target, have been incredibly supportive of their employees by relaxing requirements for employees, expanding sick leave, creating child-care options and alternatives and making donations to support communities (Minaya). As a result, their employees are likely to be more supportive of their company and increase their own engagement and productivity. That is not to say people have not been laid off from companies with increased employee engagement, rather the ones who have remained may see an increase in their workload and responsibilities which could increase engagement. This could also be a result of employees extending themselves further to prevent being laid off or because they feel grateful to still be employed. 

Another theory regarding increased employee engagement is increased well-being. Though many people are struggling with working from home, many others have found more time for meditation, exercise, outdoors time and time spent with family, all of which increase employee well-being and can result in increased productivity.

Tips

Research into companies that have seen an increase in employee engagement has found that many of those companies are regularly updating their employees with news regarding Covid-19 related updates either through company-wide updates, letters from the CEO or internal podcasts (Harver). Employees have found this to be reassuring communication during uncertain times. It has also been found that the companies succeeding in this area are open to and use employee feedback to make improvements. Another suggestion to increasing engagement is to make time in the work schedule for leisure time such as a virtual workout session, game night or coffee chat. Finally, celebrating and recognizing good work from your employees can make them feel happy to be at work and increase their engagement. 

Conclusion

Though we may all work at different companies in different places or different fields, increased employee engagement is highly sought after by any company. The main takeaway from this research is that by focusing on employees’ mental and physical health and well-being, we can see a great increase in engagement and productivity. As a result, the hope is that companies will continue to move forward with tools that improve the work/life balance for their employees.

Works Cited

Minaya, Ezequiel. “The Forbes Corporate Responders: New Ranking Of Nation’s Top Employers’ Responses To Pandemic.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 29 May 2020, www.forbes.com/sites/ezequielminaya/2020/05/26/the-forbes-corporate-responders-new-ranking-of-nations-top-employers-responses-to-pandemic/#1a657aac4a51.

“11 Ways to Drive Employee Engagement in a Challenging Period.” Harver, 8 Apr. 2020, harver.com/blog/drive-employee-engagement/.

Harter, Jim. “Employee Engagement Continues Historic Rise Amid Coronavirus.” Gallup.com, Gallup, 29 May 2020, www.gallup.com/workplace/311561/employee-engagement-continues-historic-rise-amid-coronavirus.aspx.