Employee engagement is one of the most important determinants to the success of any business. It is how productivity takes place because employees are motivated and deeply engaged in their work.
Research shows that businesses with a high level of employee engagement enjoy a 21% increase in productivity. However, the current state of employee engagement has reduced drastically, especially since the Covid-19 lockdown.
Post-Covid-19 lockdown, many employees battle with stress and anxiety, struggle to maintain work-life balance and stay fully engaged at work.
Employers have also explored new ways to adjust workplace scenes to suit the new normal, but keeping employees engaged during a pandemic is challenging. Research shows only 15% of employees are engaged at work across the world.
So, what exactly are employers doing wrong, and how can they fix the poor employee engagement in their workplace?
This article reveals seven proven techniques for employees looking to boost their employee engagement for increased workplace productivity post-lockdown.
What is employee engagement?
A common misconception associated with employee engagement is that employee engagement equates to employee satisfaction and happiness.
Although related, employee engagement doesn’t mean making your workers happy or satisfied. Workers can be satisfied with workplace conditions and not be fully engaged in their work.
In the real sense, employee engagement is the emotional and mental connection of employees to the goals and interests of an organization.
It is the genuine willingness of workers to contribute to the organization’s growth. Engaged employees put their best into their work and are willing to go the extra mile to ensure they achieve their goals.
So, while making your employees happy and satisfied is a way to make your workers engaged, it isn’t exactly what employee engagement means.
Think of employee happiness and satisfaction as factors that can enhance your goal of employee engagement and not the goal itself.
Benefits of keeping your employees engaged post-lockdown
Employee engagement is crucial to keep your business up and running. Although the world is amid a pandemic, it isn’t on hold.
Business activities are taking place, and the success of every organization still relies on how much they can keep their employees enthusiastic and committed to their roles.
Below are the top reasons to invest in employee engagement as an organization.
When employees are fully engaged and committed to their work, they do their best to ensure the organization’s interests are met.
This means your workers will show up to work on time and stay fully engaged in achieving their daily tasks. They will also go the extra mile when required.
This increases productivity and ensures your organization meets and exceeds its set expectations at the required time.
One of the important ways to move your organization forward is your ability to retain your top talents as a company.
More than ever, employees seek organizations with people-focused work culture to help them adapt to the new normal.
Employee engagement comes as a result of a work-friendly environment and employer satisfaction.
Therefore, if your employees are satisfied with your workplace culture, it becomes easier to retain them and reduce the turnover rate.
Your organization needs the best hands to get through these trying times; employee engagement is how you sustain your top talents’ interests in their roles.
Research has shown that increasing your employee engagement rate by 10% can increase your profits by $2,400 per employee.
On average, it costs about $4,129 to hire a new employee, and the onboarding process costs about $986. However, because engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their workplace, employers can prevent the cost associated with losing their employees.
Employee engagement doesn’t only help increase your profitability through high production and less turnover rate; it also helps cut costs and save money as a business.
7 proven strategies to increase employee engagement post-lockdown
Improving your employee engagement post-lockdown through effective strategies is essential. Below are the top 7 employee engagement ideas to keep your team engaged post-lockdown.
Empathy is crucial to boost job performance, and employers who show compassion to their staff enjoy increased job performance.
Empathetic leadership is your ability to understand your employees’ needs and become fully aware of how they feel.
Now more than ever, your employees need you to lead with compassion and connect with them empathetically. This goes a long way in fostering positive interactions and output between you and employees.
To show empathy to your employees at work post-lockdown, you should check in with your team to see how they are doing and make necessary adjustments if you notice signs of over-work.
It would help if you also showed deep concern for your employees’ needs by identifying what they need to cope with at this time and coming through for them in the ways you can.
Showing empathy also involves blurring the lines between work and personal life. Empathetically get familiar with your employees’ problems and find new ways to help them.
This is crucial because when your employees encounter challenges in their personal lives, it rubs off on their professional lives. Encouraging an open and friendly communication system is an excellent way to get your employees to open up to you when they need help.
Show appreciation for hard work
Showing recognition for hard work can help boost your employees’ morale. Research shows 69% of employees say they will work harder if they are better recognized.
The pandemic can leave your employees demotivated; however, finding little ways to say thank you to your employees can go a long way in improving their moods and making them happy.
Employees who are constantly reminded of how relevant they are to the organization’s growth feel more committed to their roles.
Understand that your employees are going through a tough time trying to adjust to new work conditions; therefore, showing them you see the effort they put into their work can keep them motivated to do more.
Introduce flexible work schedules
The lockdown period shifted the usual mode of working from offices to working from home. Although some employees struggled with juggling work and meeting home demands, many employees considered working from home more convenient.
For many employers and employees, flexible working is now the new normal. 81% of organizations are restructuring their work schedules to retain their employees.
This is because employees are in search of people-focused organizations and roles that promote work-life balance.
Therefore, introducing a flexible work schedule is how you can help your employees achieve the work-life balance they desire, which will subsequently help them stay more engaged in their roles.
You can introduce flexible work schedules by introducing “working from anywhere” arrangements or part-time work conditions to fit into your employees’ schedules. You can also introduce shifts or hire fully remote teams.
Maximize technology for collaborations
With flexible work schedules comes the need for maximizing technology to improve virtual communications and collaborations.
The lockdown made many employers realize that activities restricted to in-office operations can be done efficiently remotely with the right technological tools. Collaborative tools enable your employees to work together on the same project remotely.
They are an excellent way to get everyone involved in organizational activities and goals. They also help improve team interaction and make it easier for your team to work together to achieve a common aim.
Promote employees mental health wellness
The change associated with the lockdown can leave many of your employees struggling to adjust to the new system. And this can pose a significant threat to their mental health.
Help support your employees by enhancing their mental health wellness through mental health programs.
Invite mental health professionals to educate your employees on how to maintain good mental health amidst the pandemic.
Also, keep the communication line open for your employees to discuss their challenges with you or appropriate wellness personnel. You can also restructure your work culture to support your employees’ mental health. This includes creating a friendly environment for work and introducing flexible work hours.
Ask for employee feedback
Employee feedback is necessary for the growth of your organization and to improve employee satisfaction.
Asking your employees for feedback on how they are coping with work, their performance, and how they are getting along with the team gives you insights into making necessary improvements.
With this, your employees will become fully engaged because you will improve the work system and structure to suit what they are comfortable with.
This goes a long way in creating a work environment your employees love, as well as helping them adjust fully to the post-lockdown change.
Enforce safety measures
Your employees’ resumption to work will come with tons of safety concerns. It’s essential to ensure safety precautions are taken against contracting the virus to ensure employee engagement.
It would be difficult for your employees to stay engaged if they are worried about contracting the virus and unconsciously infecting their loved ones with it.
To improve your employees’ safety, ensure safety precautions such as abiding with the Covid-19 safety regulations, constant disinfecting of the office environment, and frequent temperature checks for anyone entering the organization.
This article discusses different effective strategies to improve your employee engagement post-lockdown as an employer. Use these techniques to facilitate employee engagement and increase your employee retention rates and productivity post-lockdown.