Charlotte Steventon (4)
November 11, 2020
Posted by Home (ENG)
How can HR teams keep the workforce engaged in lockdown no.2?
With the second lockdown in full swing, it seems fair to say the working world that we all knew is now unrecognisable. Even with the welcomed news of a vaccine, we’re unlikely to see a sudden return to normal. Instead, as the effects of Covid-19 endures there will be continuous shifts rather than a linear recovery, and companies will have to seriously rethink their traditional operational models. During this period, HR teams remain at the forefront of managing the impact of this new world on all employees. So, how can HR professionals ensure that their workforce are remaining engaged as we delve into our second lockdown?
We all know that employee engagement is crucial to maintain a healthy and enjoyable working environment, and can significantly boost productivity. When the majority of the workforce are home-based, HR professionals need to think a little more creatively to ensure that they’re happy and engaged…
Maintaining internal communication is crucial to keep employees engaged at home. When we entered our first lock-down, Talent Works international stated that HR teams need to introduce new communication strategies that everyone can be made familiar with. Platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams became vital work tools. They enable team meetings and collaboration to continue and offer all hour flexibility for companies and their staff. As we make our way through the second lockdown these online platforms remain extremely useful and their purpose should not stagger. It is important to remember that these internal meetings are not a tick-box exercise. They provide structure, routine, and a sense of normality, and most importantly provide an opportunity to ensure that your employees are still happy and motivated.
The ideal work-from-home strategy is built on trust. Before the global pandemic, working from home evoked images of wearing pyjamas all day. Yet research has shown that on average there has been very little slacking. In fact, people are spending 48.5 minutes more at their desks each day, according to a report published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.[i] To keep these employees motivated through a second lock-down, they need to be clear on what work is required and also be trusted to do so. Not being in the office has caused some managers to take on a more micro-management style – for instance demanding regular updates. However, as many workers have been at home since March this long-term added pressure is far more likely to disengaged employees than actually boost productivity.
Following on from trusting that workloads are being carried out, it is equally important that these efforts are still celebrated. Unsurprisingly, 90% of employees have said recognition positively impacts their engagement and motivation levels.[ii] However, rewards are regularly overlooked in the work-from-home scenario with the absence of physical award events. Recognition is even more important in lockdown as it’s so easy for employees to feel unappreciated simply due to a lack of contact. Companies must remember that employees aren’t only working remotely but working through a pandemic which is a worrying time for all, so any positivity will be well received. Rewarding even the smallest of wins and showing recognition for hard work is a great way to keep employees engaged.
These are just a few ways to motivate the workforce. I am keen to hear from HR professionals, how are you keeping your employees engaged this lockdown?