Retaining employee morale is a struggle point for many employers right now. The Society for Human Resource Management states that 65% of employers find maintaining employee morale during COVID-19 to be a problem.
It’s not surprising that decreased productivity and disengagement are the result of our current working conditions: working from home, often feeling isolated and anxious about COVID19, having to parent children while focusing on work tasks, unable to make meaningful connections with your coworkers virtually, and feeling burned out with limited outlets to relieve stress.
We have all heard the statistics before and know that happy employees make for a successful business. Disengaged workers can cost anywhere between $483-605 billion per year according to Gallup’s, State of the American Workplace Report, and that’s under normal circumstances.
But how to keep employees happy right now? It’s not so easy. Company owners and managers have to get a bit more creative, and go the extra mile, to keep their teams engaged, productive, and satisfied. We offer some simple ways to boost morale and retain your top talent throughout the pandemic and thereafter:
1. Provide Opportunities for Professional Development: Learning new things has never been easier. Offer your team time and resources to develop new skills, explore their creativity, and catch up on industry trends. This will build confidence and focus while helping to cultivate a growth-mindset for the company. Encourage participation at informative virtual events such as industry specific webinars. Show your employees that there is room to grow, even right now, by moving forward with rather than halting any career advancement opportunities. Lastly, allow your employees to apply their new knowledge as their evolution will ultimately translate into company growth.
2. Recognize & Reward: This is not the time to skimp on praise and recognitions. Mental health issues are on the rise. The challenges of working in isolation have led to lower confidence and general feelings of being left out. Provide recognition to your team for their efforts to keep them feeling motivated and valued. Cultivate a work environment that supports constant feedback and acknowledgement. Consider rewarding employees for achieving targets and delivering quality work.
3. Celebrate “Togetherness”: Making work fun is a bit tricky right now when you can’t treat your team to after work drinks or organize a company scavenger hunt where colleagues can bond over an entertaining activity. But it doesn’t mean that it can’t happen in other ways. Virtual company events can be as effective in bonding coworkers and providing opportunities for some fun. There are several new companies on the market right now that offer moderated virtual events such as murder mystery or bingo games.
4. Increase flexibility: Being a flexible employer right now is key. Working from home can easily blur the line between professional and personal life. This is part of the challenge and the reason why many employees are feeling overwhelmed, overworked, and therefore disengaged. And with kids at home it is often difficult to maintain a 9-5 schedule. Acknowledge these struggle points and work with your team to develop a plan that will ensure optimal productivity even if that means they have to take the afternoon off but work into the night.
Make employee wellness the center of your business strategy. Invest in strengthening your employees’ emotional commitment towards work and focus on engagement practices that will help them to flourish and feel united with the company.