On engagement, the results were more mixed. We found that engagement levels fluctuated but did not drop significantly in most of the teams surveyed. This is a primary area of concern for many teams as managers expect that the impact of the ongoing challenges and isolation is cumulative and we may see more difficulties with engagement in the coming months. This highlights the importance of advanced planning to keep employees engaged.
Through further conversations with leaders, we found that the companies that had made a considerable investment of time and resources in caring for their teams had seen tangible gains in engagement and morale. These initiatives included providing access to mental health resources, designing bespoke wellness programs, arranging training on specific topics like resilience and communications, as well as offering flexible working arrangements and company-wide commitment to supporting peers through buddy programs, ‘no-meeting’ hours, etc.
Looking ahead to 2021
Our broader key takeaway is that now more than ever, companies need to recognize that it is critical to pay close attention to the needs of your team and invest in the right tools, training, and people who can ensure employees are set up for success, and not just getting by in hopes of a return to the old ‘normal’.
My personal view is that these last few months have highlighted the vital role of the People function and building a great one is a critical area of focus for any company looking to develop a thriving team in the new world of work.