Almost a third of employers believe employee engagement with their businesses has risen the pandemic lockdown was introduced nearly six weeks ago.
A survey of 264 HR professionals found that, on the whole, interaction and engagement between workers and their companies had either remained the same or risen since the lockdown began.
The findings will surprise many commentators who expected the lockdown to have a wholly negative impact on worker and employer relationships.
Employment specialists XpertHR, which carried out the research, found that
- One in three (32.2%) thought employee engagement was now higher than it was before the pandemic;
- Half (49.2%) thought there had been no change; and
- Fewer than one in five (18.6%) thought employee engagement had fallen.
It appears that as HR practitioners are now spending less of their time purely on work driven by their organisation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, employee engagement initiatives are now bearing fruit.
Just one in five HR professionals (20.8%) now say that all or almost all of their work is driven by the crisis.
That is less than half the number (42.8%) saying this was the case in XpertHR’s first survey in this series at the beginning of last month, and down from one in three (32.2%) in its mid-month survey.
A spokesman for XpertHR said the “scramble” that many employers were faced with as they furloughed staff, send others home to work and made arrangements to improve health and safety has subsided.
Since then, HR has led the way engaging employees, with widespread initiatives to:
- Provide regular business updates and messages from senior management;
- Issue wellbeing and mental health guidance to those stuck at home;
- Offer practical tips on homeworking; and
- Organise virtual social activities.
Asked how they would describe current levels of employee engagement in their organisations today:
- 21.2% said excellent;
- 57.6% said good;
- 18.9% said fair;
- 1.5% said poor; and
- 15.4% said very poor.
The XpertHR survey found that HR professionals were working hard to promote engagement and recognise employees’ efforts as the lockdown continues. Approaches cited by participants in the research include:
- Saying thank-you – recognising employees through public “shout-outs”, mentions in CEO newsletters and directly by letter and in e-cards;
- Introducing a home working allowance – to ensure employees are not out of pocket with the move out of the office;
- Increase continued professional development – one of the permitted activities for those employees who have been furloughed;
- Asking employees how the organisation is doing – to discover whether or not it is doing the right thing and to show that the organisation is listening; and
- Sending a gift – including chocolate, flowers and “cream tea hampers”.