If you conducted your employee engagement survey prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, you can use your engagement survey data to determine how to best support your employees.
If your employee engagement survey closed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, your employees’ work experience likely looks very different today from when they shared their feedback on the engagement survey. Even so, the feedback your employees provided is still valid and valuable, and can help you navigate through the current situation.
As you review your engagement survey data through the lens of the current situation, focus your attention on the survey items that measure the “engagement basics” that are critical to your employees’ success and engagement. These items only become more important during times of stress and uncertainty and when employees are dispersed and working remotely.
If any of these survey items were less than 70% favorable or were noticeably less favorable than other survey items, consider implementing the action plans below.
I have the information I need to do my job well.
Team-level Commitment: Have managers meet with each of their direct reports weekly one-on-one.
It’s difficult for employees to be productive if they feel like they are missing critical information. A weekly check-in with their manager gives employees an opportunity to communicate, listen, and align on important topics. These weekly check-ins don't need to be time-consuming; even an informal 15 meeting can empower employees. Ultimately, it's important for managers and employees to schedule time together to replace the casual “hellos” and the organic check-ins that previously took place inside the office.
Org-wide Commitment: Communicate to all employees at least once per week, on a consistent day and time.
Your organization-wide communication can be brief, but consistently sharing information at regular intervals creates clarity and a sense of stability for employees. If nothing has changed about the organization's situation, you should acknowledge that. If decisions that impact employees have been made or are under consideration, share those decisions and provide opportunities for employees to ask questions and share concerns. Org-wide communications are also a great opportunity to recognize great work that’s taking place inside your organization. Recognition can inspire employees at a time when they may otherwise feel unsettled.
Goals and accountabilities are clear to everyone on my team.
Team-level Commitment: Use a weekly 1-on-1 with each team member to clarify that week’s top priority.
Many employees are juggling multiple life roles right now - home school teacher, daycare provider, and employee. Even those that aren’t are likely under increased stress. Give employees clarity on the one thing that is most important each week - whether that's a goal, a project, or a deliverable.
Org-wide Commitment: Provide bi-weekly updates on organization goals to all employees.
The pandemic is disrupting businesses in many ways: employees are now working from home, customers are behaving differently, and many essential roles are facing new challenges. Because of this, organization-wide goals may have changed or shifted in priority. Sharing information about how priorities have changed provides clarity to teams and employees on where they should focus their efforts to best support the organization.
I know I can depend on the other members of my team.
Team-level Commitment: Schedule a weekly team huddle to align our team.
With many employees currently working from home, or essential employees continuing to work onsite but needing to collaborate with coworkers who are working remotely, it’s important to bring the team together. Use video conferencing, a team Slack channel, or a conference call to facilitate your team huddle. In addition to boosting team morale, this provides an opportunity for employees to have visibility into each others’ situations and offer help to one another.
Org-wide Commitment: Share examples of teamwork taking place
Recognizing valued behaviors such as teamwork boosts morale and inspires employees to follow those examples. Share examples of employee excelling at their jobs in your weekly updates. Use your company Social Media accounts to publicly recognize employees. Or use your employee recognition software to call out employees who are helping one another, your customers, or their communities.
What about the Commitments we had already created?
If the Commitments your team had originally planned still make sense in the current climate, you should continue those efforts. If your original Commitments were designed around employees being physically together in an office or simply seem like a lower priority given current events, consider implementing some of the Commitments listed above and revisit your original Commitments in a few months. For example, if your team created Commitments focused on the item, “I see professional growth and career development opportunities for myself at this organization”, but your employees are now primarily focused on figuring out how to perform their job effectively from home, it may make sense to shift your efforts.
The bottom line is that employee engagement is more important than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your team and organization commitments may need to adapt in order to keep your employees feeling supported, safe, and set up for success.