Engaging Your Employees After Covid-19
As an employer, you may have been through a challenging time due to the recent Covid-19 outbreak. So, how do you engaging your employees after Covid-19? Your people are the ones who will help you rebuild your business, so the first step is recognition. By acknowledging the value your people bring to your business, you will be rewarded by loyal and engaged employees who will go the extra mile.
Studies show that increasing employee engagement leads to improved organisational performance. There’s also a strong link between employee engagement and improved financial metrics. As most companies try to return to business as usual, they’re unlikely to have a budget for employee engagement. Therefore, employers should focus on cheaper, but effective and balanced measures to engage with their employees.
Recognise the value of your employees
Recognition is a key component of employee engagement. Employers should seek to raise the level of recognition within their organisation, if they want greater employee engagement.
By recognising the individual value of your employees, your company may benefit by:
- Those with experience and specific skill sets will be able to multitask and add much more value at a critical time for your business. Therefore, engaging these people will be key to helping you drive the business forward.
- Those employees who work closely with customers will have a better understanding of your customers’ position after this pandemic. Therefore, they will know exactly how far they can push for business without the risk of losing the customer altogether.
Recognising positive actions
Recognition differs from an incentive, which usually involves a separate value in itself to motivate someone to do something. However, by recognising and praising your people’s abilities, you will motivate them to support your business. Focus on positive actions, rather than spotlighting negative activities; the latter should be dealt with on a one-to-one basis.
Recognising your employees’ efforts and engaging your employees after Covid-19 can happen in various ways. On a day-to-day basis, this could be a simple “thank you” from a manager to their team. For an informal way to recognise someone’s input, you could consider a reward, such as a small gift. In more formal terms, you may decide to deliver a departmental presentation or hold an awards ceremony.
Gifts can become complicated, as they are taxable. Be aware that anything given with a financial value, which has been awarded as a result of employment, is taxable unless it’s considered “trivial”. HMRC define trivial as a gift that cannot cost the employers more than £50 (including VAT) per employee per event. Employers should avoid giving someone a gift and then deducting the tax from their pay, as this can be demotivating and counterintuitive.
Post-Covid-19, financial budgets are likely to be tight. As your main focus is likely to be on business-critical operations, a less costly and informal recognition of somebody’s efforts can still have a big impact.
As an employer, you could look to introduce a simple recognition scheme, whereby line managers regularly acknowledge and say “thanks” to those who go above and beyond to support the rebuild of your business in front of their teams. At the end of the year, you could consider holding a company awards ceremony in recognition of people’s efforts throughout the pandemic.
Below are some points to consider when designing any type of recognition scheme:
- Get input and ownership from your line managers to successfully sell the concept of your recognition scheme to the wider business.
- Promote your recognition scheme in the same manner as an internal marketing campaign with clear branding.
- Keep reminding employees of their value and of the value of any ongoing recognition schemes.
- Focus on catching people who are doing things well, rather than on what they might be doing wrong.
- Ensure any recognition schemes are in line with your company values and culture.
- Consider customer feedback when assessing customer-facing roles.
- Use engagement surveys to measure and identify the impact of any recognition schemes.
Over time, by encouraging consistent and constructive behaviours, this in turn will have a positive effect on your employees. If your business has been experiencing significant difficulties, your company culture may have shifted to a more cynical, negative atmosphere. In this instance, you will need to look at ways to rebuild trust within your workplace before you can effectively engage your employees and this may require ongoing professional HR support.