Keeping Engagement High During an Economic Low: 3 Tips for Success
Uncertainty. Budget cuts. Zoom fatigue. As byproducts of COVID-19 continue to impact your workforce—and your bottom line—you can’t afford to be idle. As a workforce leader, now is the time to help your organization gain traction. But how do you boost engagement and productivity when conditions are far from ideal?
Here are three practical ways to empower and support your employees in the face of challenge.
1. Metrics that matter
Issuing a pulse survey right now might feel like a knee-jerk reaction. And that’s okay. Even if the timing and delivery don’t align with your typical cadence and process, the insights you gather will prove valuable.
Worried that it’s not an appropriate time to survey your employees? Don’t be. In fact, it’s during a crisis that your teams want to feel particularly heard and supported. A survey provides a discreet way for them to voice concerns and give feedback that will ultimately help you design a tailored engagement strategy.
First, choose a budget-friendly and efficient data-gathering tool. Next, focus on measuring engagement at both micro and macro levels. Just as you had to modify workflows settings in response to the pandemic, you’ll want to modify the pulse survey to reflect key factors currently impacting engagement and productivity. They might include:
- Manager support
- Health & safety
- Readiness to resume ‘normal’ operations
It’s important to measure engagement in more frequent intervals—every three months is advisable—to get a better sense of how your teams are faring as the situation continues to change and evolve.
2. Gauge team temperatures
By now, it’s likely you’ve had to pivot your business strategy and make personnel changes to maximize operations and profit. But a shift in structure can breed varying degrees of stress for some and not-so-seamless adjustments for others. The engagement survey data you gathered can paint a powerful picture of how change is felt across the organization. When parsing out data, consider the following:
- Triage. Who experienced the most change? Where is the pressure centered?
- Urgency. What employee needs are most pressing? How can you galvanize and inspire your talent?
- Transparency. Are you communicating and explaining your business decisions clearly? Are you providing key updates and reassurance?
A “no news is good news” approach to communication can wreak havoc on engagement in times like these. Use the survey insights to identify individuals and teams under duress, and quickly respond with an empathetic, actionable plan.
3. Diagnose cultural disconnect
It’s no secret that employee engagement dictates productivity, which in turn dictates business outcomes. So where should you focus your efforts when boosting engagement? Start with culture. Ask the tough but necessary open-ended questions about your company’s culture. Use the responses to diagnose deficiencies and pinpoint areas of disconnect. When the fabric of your culture starts to fray, your organization is at risk of losing the buy-in of its most valuable asset. While external factors impacting he global economy may be outside the realm of your control, you can restore your team’s confidence by being responsive to internal pain points.
Sure, in times of economic downturn it’s prudent to focus on business metrics and variables that impact revenue. But the rootstock of resilience is your people. That’s why collecting, analyzing, and responding to employee engagement data is not only a complementary practice, but also a critical one.
Need support engaging your workforce? Contact us today for a customized plan to help your organization succeed in the wake of COVID-19.