Employee engagement has been in decline for decades but the pandemic has accelerated this trend. In this article, we explore some of the ways in which organisations can motivate their employees towards performance and productivity.
The global pandemic has created a myriad of challenges for people across the world. Businesses have been struggling with issues such as staff sickness, retention, and motivation all whilst trying to stay operational and profitable.
Employees are prioritising their health and well-being more than ever before as the threat of sickness alongside anxieties about the future have become a real concern. They are also seeking a greater sense of purpose from their jobs and want the work they do to be more meaningful, and impact-driven.
Indeed, this awakening is leaving many to question their old way of working and instead, look for opportunities that align with this new reality. As such, organisations are navigating new ways in which they can improve employee engagement and motivate staff by taking a more proactive approach to issues like employee well-being, loyalty, recognition and career development, which we will discuss in further detail now.
Employee well-being encompasses a number of different domains, such as physical and mental health, workplace environment, financial rewards as well as the values and principles of an organisation to name but a few. And whilst employee well-being is an exhaustive area within itself, there is much that employers can do to engage and motivate their staff- which is especially important now more than ever.
For example, offering free health checks, counselling and stress management programs (like yoga and meditation classes at lunchtime) can help to improve the health of employees. Similarly, cultivating a working environment in which employees feel empowered to freely share their thoughts and ideas as well as issues they’re facing can increase trust and foster close working relationships which all feed into a better employee experience.
Organisations who put the well-being of their employees at the top of their agenda are more likely to be rewarded with a happier, healthier and more productive workforce. Indeed, promoting well-being can be a core enabler of employee engagement and organisational performance.
However, for well-being initiatives to reach their full potential, they need to be fully integrated throughout an organisation, ingrained in its very culture with full commitment demonstrated by leadership. Otherwise, they will feel more like standalone gestures with little impact upon staff well-being.
Recognising the contributions of employees is extremely important in order to engage and motivate them at work. This is especially true during times of turbulence as employees need to feel even more reassured and valued for their efforts. Indeed, the pandemic has given rise to greater levels of fear and uncertainty in the workplace (as well as outside of it) and so employee recognition is more important than ever before.
Consequently, organisations need to prioritise their employee engagement and recognition efforts and must do so in a way that feels genuine and authentic. Of course, financial rewards are always appreciated, but that’s only part of the equation. Other measures – such as verbal recognition and employee incentive programs – are simple and cost-effective ways to keep staff motivated in their jobs.
Events like awards ceremonies, social gatherings, and team excursions are also great ways for employers to show their appreciation towards their staff. Mike Walker of MGN events explains “We’ve organised a lot of events like award ceremonies and corporate parties for organisations who understand the importance of employee recognition.
The fact that companies come back to us year after year for these types of events proves their value in engaging and motivating staff, which ultimately results in increased productivity and performance.”
The pandemic has seen more people resigning from their jobs than ever before. Increased pressures like heavier workloads and greater family responsibilities have accelerated the rate at which people are walking from their jobs.
However, despite the fact that employee loyalty is in general decline, organisations can be successful in increasing staff loyalty through well thought out initiatives which improve the employee experience as a whole. For instance, initiatives that improve employee well-being, as well as employee engagement and recognition, can directly contribute to increased loyalty from staff.
Another key factor that impacts employee motivation – and therefore loyalty – is the idea of purpose and meaning. Employees want to feel that their work is impactful and they are part of the success of a company. Indeed, according to data by leading experience management firm Qualtrics, employees list ‘a clear link with their work and the company’s strategic objectives as a top reason for staying at a company.
External trends currently taking place in the labour market can also help to drive greater employee loyalty, but only if organisations are ready to embrace them. For example, the option of working from home is now something employees have come to expect as standard, with recent research suggesting that most workers don’t want to give this up post-Covid-19. Moreover, there’s now talk of a four-day work week with some organisations already becoming early adopters of this new workplace revolution.
And so, organisations that welcome these changes will have a greater chance of keeping their employees than those that don’t. Indeed, those who force their staff to return to the office full-time will most certainly see a decrease in staff loyalty, with many workers opting to quit altogether if they’re not given the option to work from home.
Career and personal development opportunities
There’s no doubt that during the pandemic, many organisations will have put career and professional development opportunities on hold. Faced with employee sickness, layoffs and furloughing staff, the priority of most companies has been just to stay afloat and pay staff.
However, as the world adjusts to a new normal and organisations look for ways to re-engage and motivate their staff, the importance of ensuring employees have the right opportunities for personal and professional development is vitally important.
Similarly, employees also need to feel that there is real scope for career progression in order to feel motivated to work harder and aspire to something bigger. Providing staff with real opportunities to progress in their careers can be a huge motivating factor which increases job performance as well as loyalty.
However, a recent report by Workday – a software firm specialising in human capital management – reveals that while employees appreciated the job security employers provided during the pandemic, many are concerned about their future career prospects and are even worried about speaking up about such issues.
And so organisations who provide their employees with opportunities for personal and career development are the ones who are likely to see greater employee engagement, motivation, and productivity, and ultimately be more successful as a result.
Conclusion: Employee Engagement & Motivation
The importance of employee engagement and motivation cannot be underestimated in a post-pandemic world. Employees can no longer be seen as commodities; rather they are integral to the success of an organisation and should be treated as such. Employers who fail to understand this will suffer from talent loss, reduced employee engagement, performance and productivity and ultimately will lose their market share and reputation.
Engage your teams with an internal event
Find out how a well planned, well produced employee event can help you achieve your business goals. Contact our team either via the form below, on 01932 22 33 33 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org