Employee engagement will remain a top priority in the years ahead

Written by Carmen Watson - Chair and Managing Director, Pertemps Ltd

The coronavirus has redefined employee engagement as we know it. In the face of uncertainty, we’ve had to adapt by changing our digital approach with a large-scale adoption of remote working and new business models.

However, there has also been the creation of opportunity: businesses have stepped up to support employees, their clients and the local communities they serve at a time of national and global crisis. But with social distancing, lockdown and fears of the new Covid variant, businesses are finding it difficult to operate and plan ahead.  

Findings from the recent CBI and Pertemps Employment Trends Survey states that due to the pandemic, employers changed their approach to employee engagement with over 8 in 10 respondents having increased communication to keep in touch with employees and more than 6 in 10 having increased flexible working arrangements to prioritise staffs work-life balance. Over half of respondent firms have increased their mental health and wellbeing assistance for employees.

With the majority of the country adopting a work-from-home routine, it’s important that we as leaders ensure that employees remain connected and engaged. Maintaining communication and engagement isn’t just essential for employees, but vital if businesses wish to thrive in the future.

Collaboration within a business is critical and it’s important to maintain this, it plays an integral role in the success of any organisation.

The rise in technological advancements has enabled businesses to collaborate better, communicate instantly and delegate tasks regardless of location. We have seen HR and Talent Acquisition teams adopt new technologies such as video interviews and virtual onboarding, to embrace flexibility and remote working to stay ahead of the curve.

But though we have the ability to work remotely, workers are facing increasing mental health challenges. Many are experiencing feelings of isolation, anxiety, depression and burnout. The pandemic not only has implications on an employee’s mental health and wellbeing, but also their engagement within their work.

Even in these uncertain times, it’s of paramount importance that we, as business leaders, continue to provide mental health support and support our employees’ emotional needs. We all have a duty of care towards our employee’s health, safety and wellbeing. We need to create a workplace where everyone feels valued and feels able to share and discuss their mental health challenges with their colleagues and managers.

While it’s too early to predict the lasting impact of Coronavirus, we can be confident that professionals need to adapt and adopt different strategies to survive and thrive as the situation continues to evolve in this ever-changing economic landscape.

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