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How Top Companies are Increasing Employee Appreciation Amid the Pandemic...

Results from a recent survey by McKinsey and Company of more than 800 employees in the US show that on the whole companies and leaders have responded well to the COVID-19 pandemic. 78% of employees surveyed felt their company had responded to the crisis appropriately and 80% felt that leadership had taken proactive steps to protect their health and safety. Employees who feel their company has responded particularly well were four times more likely to be engaged in their work and six times more likely to report a positive state of well-being. So what is it that these companies are doing?

They are providing effective communication channels - and using them

Top companies have shown their commitment to their staff by making sure their internal communication channels are up to the task. This could include updates via the staff intranet, email updates, social media, plus town-hall briefings over Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or any of the other online meeting platforms. With the uncertainties around the pandemic and the continuing challenges of working from home, leading companies have made sure that there have been clear comms from their leaders to their staff. Even when they have to deliver difficult messages, anxiety from staff stems from not knowing, so a clear and honest update from those at the top is a good strategy. In fact, overcommunication is no bad thing so keeping an open-ended conversation about changes -- good and bad -- will make staff heard and more valued.

They are giving ongoing and open-ended mental and physical support

Although employees have either overcome or got used to those first practical struggles of working from home and for some, juggling childcare and homeschool responsibilities too, as the pandemic continues those companies who are responding best are those providing ongoing and open-ended mental and physical support. This could range from employee assistance programs, self-care packages, having managers setting clear expectations of what needs to be completed and what can slide, live meditations and activity breaks, morale-boosting activities, and 1:1 health coaching for employees and their families.

They are being flexible and embracing change

Each employee is going to have a different experience of living and working through this pandemic, and companies who are adapting and flexing to their staff’s needs will better understand the barriers and difficulties they are facing. Staff surveys with a combination of multiple-choice, sliding scale or open questions are an excellent snapshot of where people are at, and the responses can be used to formulate real practical assistance.

Even with some companies returning to the office COVID 19 has been a game-changer for remote working and it looks like it is here to stay. The top companies have approached this fundamental change with a spirit of inclusiveness and trust, and this can be a huge and welcome readjustment to the work-life balance for employees. For some employees though, home-working and its lack of boundaries have meant longer hours and more emails with less meaningful contact.

The best companies are working with their staff to counteract this trend by introducing breaks, end of day routines and promoting a healthy work culture. Again, a flexible and intuitive approach works best.

One thing is clear - a company’s approach to the pandemic must continue to develop, evolve and adapt to these unprecedented times, as we all must do. The companies doing this most successfully are in essence simply listening, talking to and helping their staff in a way they have never had to do before, and as a result, the landscape of work has changed forever. ____________________________ Looking to grow your team in 2021? See how we can accelerate your time to revenue for new hires and deliver up to a 3.5:1 return on your investment in our services. Click here!


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