We thought we were through with COVID-19. We were reopening our businesses and dealing with the changes that the past eighteen months brought to our work world. Now we find ourselves again experiencing many of the same issues – lockdowns, working virtually, home-schooling, etc. – without time to recover from the previous season. What can we do to help our employees better handle this current and future unpredictable COVID-19 outbreaks?
The Kaiser Family Foundation polls on pandemic experiences indicate that employee burnout is on the rise, with 75% of employees claiming they’ve been burnt out within the last few months—40% attribute this directly to COVID-19.
Based on research regarding employee COVID-19 experiences, there are 3 things you can do to help your employees, retain them, and keep them more engaged.
Encourage your employees to take some dedicated time off.
Start by being a role model and take time off. Use this as an opportunity to teach your employees how to take time off, ensure that their vacation is relaxing, and not face a huge amount of work when they return.
Here’s how you can go about that:
- Tell them your plans and indicate that it is a good time for you to take off as business is a little slower.
- Develop a plan to help with workflow and share responsibilities with who will handle your responsibilities in your absence.
- Meet with impacted employees and co-workers who you collaborate with and discuss who can be appointed to handle joint or overlapping responsibilities.
- Ensure your work is under control and well managed before you take time off.
- Inform everyone who needs to know that you will be off, and set your out-of-office message.
- Then, when you return, tell them about your experience and ask when they are planning to take their much-needed time off.
According to the MetLife’s annual benefits report, more than half of employees (52%) say finances are their biggest wellness concern in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic— more than any other aspect of their wellbeing, including physical (44%), mental (44%) and social health (44%)
Communicate your financial, mental, and emotional health benefits to counteract high anxiety among your employees.
Employee anxiety about their finances, mental health, and social support systems are still high. Unfortunately, many employees do not know what benefits are available from their employer to help them in these areas. Plan a communication campaign on these topics. Reach out to your benefit providers for flyers, newsletters, or other documents that can be posted. Please keep in mind, there may also be local and online resources available.
Employers may also have additional benefits that you haven’t discovered. For example, a review of a client’s benefit plans uncovered access to a financial planning service that would help employees create a household budget and a savings plan at no charge. Great benefit!
A small survey by Achievers Workforce Institute – The Achievers Culture Report – surveyed more than 1,100 people and found that 40% say they haven’t been recognized enough during the pandemic.
Increase employee recognition
I know you are asking, how can this be? You thanked your employees, worked to keep their pay whole, and were flexible to accommodate needs during a trying time. Still, given their experiences and our experiences, maybe employees required more than that. If you agree, then please read on.
According to a research brief from Brandon Hall Group the business advantages of frequent recognition are:
- 34% of businesses being rated more highly than other organizations.
- 41% of businesses more likely to see increased employee retention.
- 34% of businesses more likely to see increased employee engagement.
As we are in yet another season of COVID-19, retaining your employees and knowing
they are engaged in their work, will continue to be important.
Take some time to review your recognition activities and ask:
- How do we leverage recognition to motivate our employees to do their best work?
- How do we build recognition and appreciation into everyday interactions?
- How can we teach all our employees to recognize what others do – for their help, an employee’s efforts beyond their normal contributions, or someone teaching how to complete a task?
- What communication/technology vehicles do we have or need to make it easy to offer frequent recognition?
- What non-monetary methods do we have to recognize contributions?
I sincerely hope that you found this information enlightening and that you are or are ready to put it to good use. And if P2Excellence can help you do that, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Lisa Moore.