Slowly but surely we are heading back into the office. The world is reopening and we’re ready to embrace it with open arms. After months of lockdown, you might assume that employees are keen to get back to work. Unfortunately, that is not the case. In this article, you will learn how to re-engage your employees post-COVID to help you get your business up and running again.
Employee engagement is key to rebuilding a business however, a study by Dr. Nick Keca shows that on average only 29% of employees in your company are actively engaged. They are loyal, committed, more productive, and easier to retain which is why they are vital to business regrowth.
Just over half of your team are likely not engaged, meaning that they can be productive but they are not psychologically connected to your company. These are the employees that you need to work with. These individuals are physically present but are unhappy and psychologically absent. Furthermore, these employees share their unhappiness with other employees.
As a business owner, employee engagement might not be at the forefront of your mind given the current situation. With businesses starting back up, and huge VAT reductions to encourage economic growth, you are probably more concerned with customer relations and closing deals. But without an engaged workforce, this may not be possible.
After months in quarantine, employees have realized benefits such as saving time and money by not commuting. They are asking for flexible working patterns, the ability to work remotely, and an openness to new working styles.
This shift in attitudes is going to have a ripple effect when offices do reopen. Although individuals have missed the social aspect of the office, they have made it clear that they want a change. Admittedly restructuring your business amidst a global pandemic isn’t the smartest choice, employers are going to have to do something to keep their staff engaged.
How do you engage employees?
Trying to engage your employees, and keep them engaged, was hard before the global pandemic. Now, with the looming recession, job losses, two months of working from home, and a virus still in circulation it’s even harder.
Nevertheless, the traditional methods that employers have used for years will still be effective and shouldn’t be ignored in your struggle to reengage your team. Reopening your office will take some getting used to after the lockdown. Trying to keep on top of the basic pillars of engagement will go a long way towards keeping your employees happy and motivated.
Employees are more engaged when they feel like their contribution has been recognized. Although remuneration, benefits, and rewards are common ways to show your employee that you value their input, you might not be financially stable enough to give these kinds of rewards post-COVID. So what do you do?
Fortunately, over 80% of employees value recognition above any rewards or gifts. As long as your employees feel like you appreciate the work they are doing they will be more actively engaged.
The type of recognition that you give your staff also matters. Over two-thirds of people believe recognition as an individual was more motivating than recognition as a team. Almost 90% of people find praise from their managers to be very or extremely motivated. And three quarters said the same thing about praise from their peers. Recognizing your employees and praising them for their contributions doesn’t cost you any time or money. Take a look at everything that has been achieved whilst we’ve all had to work from home and get ready to offer individual praise when your doors finally reopen.
Employees are more engaged if they feel like there is the potential to grow and develop their careers within your organization. In fact, the majority of people listed opportunities for growth as a more motivating reason to stay at a company than receiving a pay rise.
This is why employee engagement tends to be better in a growing company, as staff members understand the correlation between business growth and new job opportunities. The problem that most businesses will have is that the post-pandemic recession is likely to halt any growth.
Whether you are open with your employees or not, there will always be tell-tale signs whether your business is growing or taking a hit. If your staff feel like the business is struggling financially, they will likely disengage quickly. Although growth and career progression might not be on the cards right now, job security is becoming increasingly important as we enter a global recession.
Where possible, you need to make every member of staff feel like their job is safe. If you have made any redundancies then they will likely feel insecure about their position within your organization. Continue offering praise and recognition for their work so that they feel confident within their role at your company.
Without a doubt, the easiest and most effective way to keep your team motivated and engaged is to provide a fun working environment. As many as nine out of 10 employees list fun working environments to be very or extremely motivating.
This doesn’t mean that you need to turn your office into a trendy agency or Google HQ overnight. Simply building strong relationships and encouraging their out-of-work hobbies can go a long way. Most people are just looking for a healthy work environment.
Remember, the vast majority of people have enjoyed the time and money that they have saved by working from home. They’ve had more time to develop new hobbies and will likely be looking for a better work/life balance.
One of the things you can do to create a more fun working environment is open new avenues of communication. Make your employees feel comfortable coming to you to discuss ideas like flexible working. In building relationships with immediate supervisors and colleagues, your employees will be happier, more motivated and you will notice increased employee engagement.
Believe it or not, your employees want to engage at work. Nobody wants to be sat at a desk clock watching for a third of their life. Engaging your team will not only boost your business but make your office a better place to work.
The truth of the matter is, your employees will find it much easier to stay motivated and engaged at work if you provide the right atmosphere for them to do so. You can do this by following everything that we have outlined above.
About the Author:
Natalka Antoniuk is an exhibition blogger for Quadrant2Design. She uses her industry expertise to teach business owners the benefits of the trade show floor. She has developed a unique insight into the world of exhibiting, having spent time working alongside exhibitors, event organizers and exhibition stand designers.
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