Maintaining productive, motivated, and committed teams can be challenging during the best of times. Amid COVID-19, the worst pandemic in a century, it can often seem unachievable. COVID-19 has disrupted almost every aspect of life, including the way businesses work. Many businesses have moved to a remote working model in a bid to keep employees safe while still trying to maintain productivity. This unprecedented but necessary move has bought many businesses some breathing room.
Unfortunately, given how intricately motivation and productivity tie-in with employee engagement, businesses cannot stay afloat indefinitely. The problem is that conventional engagement is built around an in-office environment, such as in-person interactions with recruiters or a staffing agency. If businesses want to boost employee engagement, they need to adapt their approach to a post-pandemic world. This blog explores several ways you may be able to do this.
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Ways to Boost Employee Engagement in a Post-COVID World
Good employee engagement is a common feature among virtually every successful business in North America. As opposed to solely relying on the fair outcome of your performance appraisal methods to boost motivation and retention as well as enhancing future productivity, improved employee engagement can help you supplement the results. The opposite is also true. Poor engagement will inevitably result in higher employee turnover, lower motivation, and lower productivity. To reduce the chances of that happening, here are three key ways to boost engagement during COVID-19:
Build Trust and Improve Transparency
There is no denying that the future still looks uncertain. There’s no precedent for such an outbreak, as well as the scale of its fallout. No one can say for sure when, if ever, things will go back to a pre-COVID normal. This uncertainty impacts the workplace, and it can impair your employee engagement efforts.
Workers will always be more motivated and committed when they feel that they can trust the leadership. It’s not just their immediate boss that they look to either. HR professionals and (including third parties like manufacturing staffing agencies) also need to frequently touch base with workers to maintain engagement.
With COVID-19 forcing people to work remotely, it is easy for workers to construe the lack of interaction as indifference, or worse. Yes, things are uncertain, but you can still make efforts to be upfront about that to your workforce. Be transparent about what you know, and keep following up with information, as well as what you expect from your team during this time. This will build confidence and trust, both in your leadership as well as the business’s approach to navigating through the pandemic.
Offer More Learning and Career Development Opportunities
To plateau is to kill your future career growth, and very few workers are okay with that. The fact that the world is currently facing a global health crisis and a struggling economy does nothing to mitigate your workers’ desire to improve and develop their careers. Engaging well with your employees also includes understanding their needs and addressing them appropriately. That is why you should look into offering better learning and professional development opportunities for your workforce.
A few decades ago, this would have been impossible during a pandemic. But T to digital e-learning platforms, however, you can encourage your workers to engage with you and grow as professionals, even from a distance over virtual platforms. Not only will this be an encouraging sign of professional growth and progress, but it also shows your employees that you are willing to invest in them.
This will only serve to catalyze your employee engagement workers, creating loyal, skilled, and knowledgeable employees among your existing workforce. This can prove to be invaluable for business survival and long-term growth. It may end up becoming a key talent advantage over the competition. It can also help you empower your employees to pivot with changing market needs and acquire new skills, such as enriching your IT workers to acquire the skills needed for cybersecurity consulting.
Create Ways to Support Your Workers’ Need for Empathy
These are tough times, and you can be sure each individual worker is tackling significant challenges during the pandemic. People aren’t irrationally afraid. Many have family members and dependents who rely on them to deliver a steady paycheck. Others may have family members or children who are a high-risk category for complications from COVID-19. With prices skyrocketing, workers are worried about everything from utility bills to grocery costs to potentially ruinous medical expenses. All this accumulated stress may naturally be impairing their ability to stay motivated and productive.
To retain employees and keep them motivated, therefore, business leaders need to develop more empathy towards their teams and workforce. Empathy is typically clubbed with soft skills like communication and organizational ability. Empathy can prove to be a valuable asset in terms of business leadership, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Be communicative, understanding, and flexible when it comes to your workforce. Be sure to regularly touch base and acknowledge team efforts and achievements. This will go a long way towards keeping your workforce engaged, motivated, and productive.