Has COVID-19 Been Good For Employee Engagement?

If the title of this article caught your eye, it’s likely that you were pretty shocked at the suggestion that COVID-19 could have made employees more engaged!

We know what you’re thinking, how can it be possible? In a world where job stability is at an all time low, people are getting paid less and working more, and have less certainty about their role, how can employee engagement be on the rise?

In this article we’re taking a look at how COVID-19 may have been a good thing for employee engagement, and how many employees have been able to take time out, work around more flexible schedules and communicate effectively online.

We will also share employee engagement ideas that you should consider trying in your company to improve remote employee morale and culture.

What Do The Figures Say?

You’ll be surprised (and possibly quite happy!) to learn that the stats are on side to suggest that employee engagement has risen during COVID-19.

Here’s what the figures say about employee engagement and COVID-19:

  • McKinsey recently surveyed more than 800 US-based employees on a wide variety of topics related to employee experience. They found that “employees working remotely see more positive effects on their daily work, are more engaged, and have a stronger sense of well-being than those in non remote jobs with little flexibility do”.
  • McKinsey also discovered that employee needs were shifting, and people felt more engaged by receiving work recognition, than compensation increases during this uncertain period. Their survey results showed that businesses may be able to achieve a 55 percent improvement in engagement by addressing employees’ need for work recognition through non-financial means.
  • Stats also show that employees are feeling better in themselves and in their jobs, because senior leaders are showing genuine care about employees in a way they weren’t before. 95% of employees in a recent survey say senior leaders have demonstrated a sincere interest in employee wellbeing and safety during COVID-19, and this has likely boosted employee engagement.

Has COVID-19 Been Positive For Employee Engagement?

In short, yes. Employee engagement has increased and overall happiness at work is on the rise as a direct result of COVID-19. We can speculate that this is caused by a variety of changes to work style, including remote working options, flexibility with hours, and an increased level of care shown to employees.

Overall though, we must remember that many many people have lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19 and therefore those people in jobs are in a relatively privileged position. This may affect how we view our employment, and has given people a new appreciation for a steady flow of income.

Remote working has always had benefits, however only now are we seeing the positive effects it can have on employee wellbeing and engagement. Keeping your people engaged can lead to better business results, and creates a happier workplace culture which is essential for growth.

Employee Engagement Ideas To Improve Remote Team Morale

Some ideas on how to boost morale and keep people happy and productive are:

  • Real-time Feedback

Encourage everyone in the team to provide and give real-time feedback.  These can be provided on a video call but the summary of it can be provided into your employee feedback tool or HRMS that your organization may be using to maintain employee history.  If you do not have a tool, simply send an email summarizing your discussion with a carbon copy to HR.  The feedback can be positive, areas of improvement, accomplishment or notes and next steps from one on one meetings. At BorderlessMind we use EmployeeFeedback.io to promote a culture of giving and receiving feedback. 

  • Show and tell

Get everyone to bring one thing on the screen that they’re proud of or want to talk about. It could be a pine cone from a walk, a jar of cookies they baked, or even their pet. This gets people talking and makes things more fun.

  • One to one video calls with the exec team

Offering one to one calls with the exec team and even the CEO makes employees feel valued and part of the team. In these times it’s easy to lose motivation, but hearing from the top leaders one on one should help with that.

  • Freedom to choose their office timings

WFH can be hard for some people based on who all are living with them in their house.  Sometimes giving them the freedom to work on their most productive hours will help you get the best out of them.  Some people are best at starting their day early while others may be better at getting the heavy lifting done at night.  Depending on how productive, efficient and effective your employees are work, it may be a great perk for them to choose their hours of work.

  • Offer online training budget

With more free time and the desire to learn more, free training online is the ideal perk for any company wanting to boost employee engagement. Show your employees you care about their growth by offering training.

  • Measure Employee Engagement

Employee Net Promoter Score (NPS) reflects how likely your employees are to recommend your company to someone looking for a job.  Employee Engagement Index is a simple score that directly reflects how engaged your employees are in your company.  Both these help you measure employee engagement periodically to see how you are trending as a business and how your culture is evolving.  If nothing else, define your own employee survey that makes sense for your business to measure team engagement.

  • Virtual coffee breaks 

Creating a buddy system where people can take virtual study breaks is a great idea. Keep people included and motivated by encouraging a social online work environment.

  • Allocating funds towards spicing up home-office 

Most of your employees may already have a company-provided laptop or a desktop computer.  But most of the employees working from home may not have a desk to work on.  They may be using a dining table or bar table to sit on.  One can allocate allowance to have their employees spice up their home office with things they may need to better adjust to the WFH routine.

  • Perks and Benefits  

At BorderlessMind we offered all our employees annual subscription to Netflix, Disney Plus or Amazon Prime.  This was a great perk for the team and was well received by them.  On another occasion, we offered them an online gift card to Amazon, Uber Eats, Zomato or another e-commerce site offering food or grocery delivery.  Such perks really help boost the morale of the remote team members and employees.

  • WHF Gift Hamper, Basket or Surprise Box  

At another company, ENO8 they surprised remote employees with a surprise WFH refreshment box, which contained organic food items to help refresh our teams.  This was well received by our team and they were thrilled to talk about it over social media.  Others have sent moisturizers, facepacks, company swag to make their teams feel special.

What do you think about changes in employee engagement due to COVID-19? Reach out to us to discuss your remote working model, and the ways that you could support your remote teams during COVID-19.


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