In spite of droves of employees forced into remote work due to COVID-19, employers and employees seem to be coping with the transition. Newmeasures research indicates that 86% of HR leaders were satisfied with how their organizations responded to the crisis and the majority report implementing virtual staff meetings with leadership, frequent communication from managers, training and support to help managers lead remotely, and virtual opportunities for informal connection with coworkers.
Considering that a sense of belonging and community is a key driver of engagement, it will be critical to continue these endeavors as employees continue to work from home and new employees are onboarded.
What do the data say so far?
It may be too early to tell and we are eagerly awaiting more data to identify trends, but so far these efforts may be paying off. We and our clients have been pleasantly surprised by recent positive employee survey feedback, including:
- Scores concerning access to information and resources remained consistent or increased compared to prior surveys.
- Employees ratings were more positive with regard to managerial behaviors such as, explaining how organizational changes would affect them.
- Employees reported that communication and connection to colleagues is going well and perceptions of trust, support, and collaboration increased.
- One client experienced significant improvement in perceptions toward the transparency and consistency of leadership communication and feelings toward leaders’ communication of a motivating and inspiring vision for future.
It is encouraging to see positive early engagement results – they may reflect actions taken by leaders and managers to adapt quickly and solve novel problems. Alternatively, we wonder if preliminary findings may be due to gratitude for employment in general. The survey results reflect perceptions of those who were able to keep their jobs during this crisis and most of those surveyed were able to work from home. It’s also possible the results may be unique to the clients who have surveyed during this time. Only more data will help us tease apart what supports a positive employee experience through crisis.
What do we do next?
Now that most tactical and technical issues have been addressed, leaders and managers must continue to exercise patience and flexibility as employees persist in remote work settings and in many cases, balance demands such as caretaking responsibilities during normal work hours. While preliminary feedback is encouraging, there are still pockets of employees/teams who are struggling with remote work. Due to the nature of their work they may have trouble collaborating remotely or their priorities may be constantly shifting. Surveys can help organizations identify which groups are struggling and shift resources as applicable. It will be imperative to regularly monitor employee needs and engagement by continuing to solicit their feedback.
Have you reached out to your employees to learn:
- How they’re adjusting to their new normal?
- What returning to physical offices and workplaces should look like? Do employees want to return at all?
- Are there new-to-virtual teams experiencing greater challenges with productivity or collaboration than others? Do they need clearer direction, coaching, team building, process innovation or something else?