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Now is the time for organisations to look after the people who work for them. Build trust, respect, commitment and long-lasting teams with these critical leadership qualities and practices.
It surprised us, too!
Contrary to what many leaders may expect in a year like 2020, we’ve seen several of our clients’ employee engagement scores dramatically increase during the Covid-19 pandemic.
For the organisations I look after – most of them UK’s Best Workplaces™ who decided to survey during the March-August period (peak months of the Covid-19 pandemic) – there have been noticeable improvements in their levels of employee engagement when compared to their pre-Covid survey results.
A case in point is one of my clients in the financial services sector. Their survey was administered in May/June this year, and of their 2,500 employees, an unbelievable 89% of them decided to take part in our employee engagement survey.
Since their last survey in 2019, their engagement levels increased by 12% (organisations of this size tend to achieve yearly improvements of around only 3%) to an outstanding average favourable score of 82%.
In context, this means that 82% of their employee population are fully engaged with their leaders and organisation – an extremely high employee engagement score indeed!
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK national average score was 62%. So, how is this increase possible during a crisis?
Covid-19 has become the ultimate test of business leadership. Employees have been able to closely assess their leaders’ actions in these uncertain times. Leaders had the chance to rise to the occasion with an appropriate response to the crisis. It has offered them an opportunity to shine in the eyes of their employees.
In successful organisations, employees felt their leaders took the right business decisions by putting people first, treating employees with respect and doing their best to protect jobs.
Nothing inspires employee loyalty and engagement like knowing that your senior leaders care about you as a human being; that you are not just another cog in the machine or a number in their financials.
Clear direction, trust, empathy and compassion quickly became critical leadership qualities during Covid-19. And it’s these same characteristics that helped my client achieve such an outstanding increase in employee engagement.
Following my client’s results, it’s not surprising that the survey statements which had the greatest impact on employee engagement were:
Moreover, we can see signs of positive leadership and engagement in the comments employees included in their survey response, such as:
In this successful organisation, the most improved survey statements since 2019 were linked to communication effectiveness:
Being highly visible and practicing care-based leadership is crucial during uncertain times. With effective, open communication, leaders reinforce transparency and trustworthiness in the organisation.
Here’s what some of my client’s employees had to say:
Globally, there’s been a clamouring for companies to be more socially conscious, and for businesses to go back to their most fundamental purpose: Making a positive impact on people’s lives and society at large.
Many organisations who decided to continue putting profits first, rather than people or purpose, have found their cost-cutting and personnel reduction tactics having dire consequences on their people’s long-term engagement levels. In some cases, it’s sadly meant the end of their business.
As an HR leader, not daring to survey your employees in times of crisis can have devastating consequences on the success of the organisation – even when we foresee negative feedback or potentially problematic comments and scores.
Something as simple as a monthly pulse survey will allow you and your senior leadership team to monitor, evaluate and quantify any potential engagement risk in the organisation. Especially when our workforce is remote, the data obtained from your employee engagement survey can be an invaluable resource for navigating uncertainty and taking the appropriate action in real-time.
Employees will remember for a long time how they were treated during a crisis. Leading with empathy, respect and support is not only the humane thing to do, it’s also a powerful way of reassuring employees yours is an organisation worth belonging to for the long-term.
ABOUT OUR METHOLOGY
To be eligible for the World’s Best Workplaces list, a company must apply and be named to a minimum of 5 national Best Workplaces lists within our current 58 countries, have 5,000 employees or more worldwide, and at least 40% of the company’s workforce (or 5,000 employees) must be based outside of the home country. Extra points are given based on the number of countries where a company surveys employees with the Great Place to Work Trust Index©, and the percentage of a company’s workforce represented by all Great Place to Work surveys globally. Candidates for the 2017 Worlds Best Workplaces list will have appeared on national workplaces lists published in September 2016 through August 2017.
ABOUT OUR METHOLOGY
The Best Workplaces in Asia List
Great Place to Work® identifies the top organizations that create great workplaces in the Asian and Middle Eastern regions with the publication of the annual Best Workplaces in Asia list. The list recognizes companies in three size categories:
To be considered for inclusion, companies must appear on one or more of our national lists in the region, which includes Greater China (covering China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau), India, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka and UAE. For the 2021 Asia List, companies ranked on the national list in the Philippines will also be included. Multinational organizations must meet the following requirements:
Multinationals also receive additional credit for their efforts to successfully create an excellent workplace culture in multiple countries in the region. The data used in the calculation of the regional list comes from national lists published in 2019 and early 2020.