As the pandemic drags on, delivering a top-notch employee experience has become both more difficult and more important than ever before. Employee needs have shifted and intensified, and the uncertainty has made it even more challenging to design an effective strategy. While many organizations have looked towards large-scale policy changes and benefits overhauls, there are actually quite a few small changes that can do wonders for your employee experience during this critical time.
It’s important not to let your employee experience decline amidst all the turmoil. According to a Pew research Center survey, more than one-third of Americans have experienced clinical symptoms of anxiety, depression, or both since the pandemic began. Given that workplace stress costs U.S. businesses as much as $300 billion and is responsible for 120,000 deaths each year, this is not a statistic to be taken lightly. Aside from just being the right thing to do for employees, companies have a financial imperative to help support the mental health of their workers throughout the duration of this crisis.
Key areas to focus on to boost your employee experience
Employee needs will obviously vary by organization and individual, so the best thing you can do is to ask your people how you can support them. Broadly speaking though, a large number of employee needs fall into the three buckets outlined below. Solving for these issues is a great place to start when looking to adapt and improve your employee experience today and on through the next phases of the global pandemic.
- Making employees feel valued. At this difficult time when many employees are compromising other aspects of their life (health, childcare, etc.) to fulfill their work responsibilities, the worst thing an employer can possibly do is to make their workers feel that they don’t matter. Employees who don’t feel valued are unlikely to see any reason to give their all at work, and will be significantly more likely to leave if they have the opportunity.
- Making employees feel safe. Taking every precaution possible to protect the health of your employees is a crucial component of delivering a positive employee experience at all times, but especially in the current climate. That means letting workers who can work from home do so, taking every safety measure possible for those workers who have to be onsite, and responding promptly to complaints and requests. This plays into the issue of value mentioned above; if safety isn’t shown to be a top priority, employers will have a hard time convincing their employees to come in and give their all while constantly worrying they may get hurt and/or sick.
- Making employees feel connected. Last but certainly not least, employees need to feel connected, both via effective systems and tools, and to community through bonding with their colleagues. Carve out dedicated time for people to socialize, and make sure everyone has the tools and training they need to stay up-to-speed with their teams. While all three of these areas are crucial to focus on, connection is one of the easiest to overlook. Don’t leave your employees isolated and struggling during a time that’s already so difficult.
3 low-cost ways to put these ideas into action
There are myriad ways to target the three areas listed above, but we’ve included a few of our no or low-cost favorites below to get you started. Remember that the most important thing is to do what’s right for your workforce and to involve employees early and often.
- With people working from so many different locations, it can be a great time to get creative with your employee recognition efforts. If you previously did yearly employee awards, it may be worthwhile to increase their frequency to quarterly, or even monthly, to let employees know you notice their hard work and appreciate them. Awards can simply involve a certificate and ‘bragging rights’, or can include a day off or a gift card.
- Aside from allowing all employees who have the ability to work remotely to do so, communication is critical. Remind your employees frequently what steps the company is taking to keep them safe, and update them as things change. If you have the budget, consider having masks and/or hand sanitizers made with the company logo for distribution to employees.
- While the Zoom fatigue is real at this point, that doesn’t mean it’s time to ease up on the employee events. Double down on helping your employees feel connected to their work and their colleagues. Try hosting a talent show where team members pre-record a performance, then everyone gathers to watch the submissions and vote. Additionally, never underestimate the value of your employee resource groups to keep folx invested.
As the pandemic continues to drag on much longer than any of us hoped, you can’t let your employee experience fall by the wayside. It’s crucial that companies remain vigilant in providing a stellar environment for employees regardless of whether they work onsite or remotely. Hopefully this post gave you some helpful ideas, but if you’re looking for more, check out Workrowd’s platform. We’ve packed it chockfull of best practice resources, streamlined tools, and transparent access for everyone in your organization. Visit us at workrowd.com.