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Chapter 1

Defining a New Era of Employee Engagement Post-COVID-19

How has the landscape of employee engagement changed?

what is employee engagement

Having a dedicated focus on employee engagement has never been more important. We know that companies with engaged employees outperform those without by 202%, and that highly engaged businesses benefit from a 10% increase in customer ratings and a 20% increase in sales. Engagement is more than ping pong tables and free lunches.

It is about creating an environment and a culture where engaged employees thrive.

An engaged employee is someone who understands and believes in the direction the organisation is going. They understand how their role affects and contributes to the organisation's purpose, mission and objectives. And lastly, they genuinely want the organisation to succeed, and feel shared success with the organisation.

employee engagement definition

And engaged employees build better, stronger, more resilient organisations, in three key ways:

 
 1.
Engaged employees make better decisions for their companies and clients because they understand more.

2. Engaged employees are more productive because they like or love what they are doing.


3.
Engaged employees innovate more because they deeply want their organisation to succeed.

And it is the company that has that type of workforce that will not only survive, but thrive into the future. 

cta1

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This has become all the more apparent as employees have turned to their leaders to connect, support and recognise them in the changing world of the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the pandemic, employee trust has changed, with the Edelman Trust Barometer showing that the employer was the most trusted institution over government and media. Businesses that openly and honestly communicated with their employees about COVID-19 were the ones that earned this trust and benefitted from an increase in engagement, with 63% of employees wanting daily updates and frequent communications. 

In June, Gallup reported only 31% of employees were engaged, and since then with recent events this number has skyrocketed to 40%. As we continue to emerge from COVID-19, employee engagement will play a critical role in how employers recover, and how employees respond to their new working environments.

Employees have to feel connected to their company's overall mission, purpose and values, realising how their contributions can impact the recovery and growth of the organisation.

In the face of adversity, employees will only continue to give their best for businesses they feel connected to and supported by.

And, given the pandemic-related financial stress many companies are experiencing,  employers have to do more, with less. HR has never juggled so many hats –improving the employee experience, streamlining processes to positively impact budget and exploring new ways to connect leaders and employees, putting in strategies to increase productivity, just to name a few. But while the COVID-19 pandemic may have elevated HR to be the shining star of the business, the post-COVID-19 employee engagement era offers an opportunity for HR to be the hero their business will continually rely on to survive and thrive.

Businesses that come out on the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic will see their post-COVID-19 employee engagement strategy evolve to one that: 

engaged employees

Is human

The new era of post-COVID-19 employee engagement has to be one that is inclusive, personalised and, above all human. When employees were unsure where to turn, what resources were available to them or if they were waking up to losing their job, HR stepped in to be the partner that businesses needed, and that their people craved. 

Businesses that continue to put their people first and show employees that they care through meaningful recognition, open and honest communications, innovative benefits and inclusive wellbeing will be the ones that employees want to be a part of.

Leaders can do this by creating channels for open and honest conversation and feedback to let employees offer their voice and positively influence cultural transformation. Reaching your entire workforce demographic means putting in place initiatives that allow for a myriad of voices to influence your entire business.

how has employee engagement changed after the pandemic

Is innovative.

Budget constraints and a changing workplace environment require new ways of working, including how to do more with less – less budget, fewer people and less time. So how can HR partner with their business to best connect, recognise and support their people, without hampering potential business growth? The businesses that work within these constraints to continually innovate will surge ahead of their competition, which means understanding how to find dual and multi-purpose solutions to business challenges.

A tick-the-box solution that only serves one purpose isn’t going to move the needle on engagement strategy, and certainly won’t benefit the budget constraints many businesses are finding themselves in. HR leaders should look for new ideas to maximise time and get the best ROI they can out of what they can offer to their people. 

zoom-call

Is agile.

Engaged employees are essential to business growth. We know this. But in a post-COVID-19 world, engaged employees are what businesses need to truly transform themselves to get on the path to success. To get there, businesses must take an agile approach to their employee engagement strategy and be willing to accept that their first plan might not be their only plan, and needs to be agile to fulfil the changing needs of their business and their people. 

If anything, the COVID-19 pandemic taught HR leaders not to be as scared of the unknown as we once were – that with the right tools and teams in place, businesses can withstand even the toughest of times.

The ones that will stand the test of time are the ones that can pivot quickly to put in place successful initiatives. 


Your employee engagement strategy has the opportunity to transform your business, and your culture, to one that employees will be proud to work their hardest for.

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