Life grants nothing to us mortals without hard work. — Horace
A new report issued by the Gallup organization sheds new light on the state of employee engagement in the midst of the pandemic.
The report states that those who are “highly involved in, enthusiastic and committed to their workplace” has dropped back (from a previous high of 40%) to just slightly above the pre-COVID-19 rate of 35% to 36%.” The report goes on to say that “the percentage of workers who are ‘actively disengaged’ – those who have miserable work experiences and spread their unhappiness to their colleagues – in this latest survey remains the same at 13%.”
Two more noteworthy takeaways from the report say that the largest decline in employee engagement was among those in managerial or leadership positions and that the drop was also sharper for people working onsite versus at home and among blue-collar or service workers. The drop was larger for men than women.
How do these findings stack up against what you know and are experiencing at your place of work?
Acknowledge where you are today
It can be overwhelming to think about slips in employee engagement merely by looking at survey results. Before you embrace the results of this or any other survey, embrace what is true and particular to your people and in your organization.
At the end of the day your numbers may reflect something dire, it may reflect something more positive, but either way, start with where you are.
Focus on managers and leaders
As stated in the report, the single largest drop in employee engagement was among those in managerial and leadership positions. If engagement is waning among your managers and among your leadership team, then it is incumbent upon you to get ahead of it and figure out where the deficiencies are. Before you can stop the disengagement among all of your employees, you must stop it among your leaders. During this time, worry less about the cosmetics of it and focus more on content and relationships.
For each day and week that goes by without correcting the course, it only moves you further in the wrong direction. Rally around your management team and give them the support they need. This will not only help them but they in turn will be able to plug the holes elsewhere.
Acknowledge that these are not normal times
While it is tempting to want your team to get back to work as if things were normal, they aren’t. This expectation just adds to the stress and disengagement. When we are stressed, we easily become distracted from the tasks and turn our attention to the very thing that is causing us stress.
Acknowledging that things are not normal and helping your entire organization accept that work will look and feel different for the foreseeable future goes a long way in alleviating stress in the workplace. Be transparent in communicating where the organization is right now, what the projections are for the short-term, and what your strategic plan is to mitigate the negative impact that COVID has on your workforce. Solicit input from your teams as to what they need in order to perform during this stressful time.
A little gratitude goes a long way
This is no time to take your people for granted. Showing your gratitude for their hard work during times of stress and uncertainty will go a long way. When you make your people feel appreciated, you gain loyalty and a renewed commitment to their responsibilities.
Show enthusiasm toward them and the vital role that they play in the success of the organization.
©2020 Doug Dickerson and Liz Stincelli