Keeping Employees Motivated in a Pandemic: Three Things Every Employer Should Be Thinking About

It’s been a seriously tough year for a vast number of employers, with many struggling to survive even with the support of government grants and the furlough scheme, and so many close-knit teams suddenly having to work remotely. Employees have felt this too and are beginning to acknowledge the likely impact this will have on job opportunities and reward and recognition in the future. Blackhawk Network Europe has found that 58 per cent of employees don’t think they will be rewarded or gifted by their employers this year. Wellbeing is also is a huge factor for employers and employees alike – presenting a serious threat to motivation.

The scary thing is, none of us know exactly when this will all end, or exactly how we’ll recover from the events of 2020, despite the promising announcement of a vaccine. For businesses looking to make it through, keeping a focussed and motivated team together will be critical for survival. With this in mind, we think there are three important truths that employers need to recognise to stand a chance of keeping their team on the right track.

Employees Often Don’t Know What Benefits They Have Access To

You probably have a plethora of employee benefits available to your teams. Now, some of them might be history since the closure of your office (gyms, cafes etc), but there are others which might just make up for it. Discounted shopping, gift cards and healthcare plans are all excellent ways to recognise employee loyalty. The problem is, only just over half (57 per cent) of workforces surveyed by GRiD (2020) understood all of the benefits available to them. Motivating your team might not mean creating new benefits, it might simply be a case of creating an impactful internal communications plan to get people informed.

It’s Not Always Easy Working from Home

It’s well recognised that working from home has its benefits; no commute, easy lunches and loungewear. This isn’t the full story, though.

City Pantry has observed a major change in behaviour; a huge reduction in screen breaks. This unsurprisingly represents a serious risk to employers as staff are more likely to experience burn out. Whereas coffee breaks and office chit-chat would normally create natural breaks from the screen, the survey shows that nearly half of employees don’t follow the guidelines.

Claire Russell, a Mental Health Coach spoke to Workplace Insight, “responsible businesses, leaders and managers need to be looking at the mental health and wellbeing of employees from a holistic standpoint, and taking into account a person’s ‘whole-being’ when it comes to encouraging employees to be healthier at work.”

Employers need to be strict with employees to keep them well. Wellbeing outside of the office space needs more careful attention.

At End of the Day, It’s All About Resilience

Resilience is a powerful tool and has been found to increases employee enthusiasm by 47 per cent, energy by 46 per cent, and job satisfaction by 47 per cent (Rising Resilient, 2020). But what exactly is resilience and how is it built?

“The American Psychological Association defines individual-level resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy or threats. It also includes coping with significant stress caused by problematic and toxic relationships in the family or at the workplace and the capacity to bounce back from difficult experiences.” (WHO: Strengthening resilience: a priority shared by Health 2020 and the Sustainable Development Goals).

Rising Resilient found that 43 per cent of organisations surveyed offer no benefits related to resilience and mental wellbeing.

Geoffrey Kuhn, from Aon who conducted the research, says “Developing resilient employees is complex. It requires balancing many different factors and the recipe for how to do it well is evolving just as employees do. Yet smart, strategic investment is more than good housekeeping; it is part of what makes a business thrive.”

So, the question is, are you investing in resilience, and if not, at what cost?