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The global COVID-19 pandemic and related events of the past year have hit businesses harder than ever before. Not only have profit margins taken severe strain, but companies are facing unprecedented Human Resources (HR) challenges, such as decreased levels of employee engagement, due to the radical logistical adjustments that businesses have had to adopt, such as remote working and strict workplace protocols.

A recent survey by the World Economic Forum has shown that 55% of employees have found changes in work routines and organisation stressful. Even employees working from home experienced a hard time, with nearly half of those surveyed feeling lonely or isolated, and over 40% admitting that their productivity levels have been affected.

The impact of COVID-19 might have seen employers experience a severe drop in employee engagement – a trend that ultimately negatively impacts business revenue.

With this in mind, the best strategy is to carefully manage the levels of productivity by ensuring your employees are happy and engaged within their jobs – even in the strained environment we currently find ourselves in.

1. Listen to your staff

A large part of the current high levels of employee anxiety can be attributed to feelings of uncertainty and improving communication with your employees can help to remedy this. For smaller organisations, this could simply mean having more meaningful and transparent conversations with your employees about the future of your company, how they are adjusting, and how you can provide better support. Larger companies may want to consider introducing new communication platforms that can help employees better engage with their managers or HR departments, when they need assistance or information.

2. Cultivate solidarity within the team

There is also a strong case to be made for getting your business and employees involved in a good cause such as a charity or NGO, as there is evidence that shows a link between volunteerism and better employee morale. This might mean contributing to an orphanage or homeless shelter or having everyone take part in initiatives such as the Santa Shoebox Project or SANBS Blood Donation Drive.

3. Take your cue from the best in HR

Lastly, now is the time to make sure that your HR department is doing all that it can to bring the best out of your workforce. Just take a cue from some of the world’s most innovative HR departments, – such as FedEx and Twitter – for inspiration to see where your company can improve this service – looking at aspects like company culture, compensation, promoting a work-life balance, supportive management, and promoting a stress-free work environment.

In conclusion, now is the time to recognise that your company’s most valuable asset – its people – may need some extra support. If you take the time to figure out the best ways to boost engagement in your company, you will experience endless benefits for the business.

About the Author: Ben Bierman

Ben Bierman has been our Managing Director since 2015. He joined our company in 1990 and has risen through the ranks occupying various positions ranging from being a management accountant, Head of Information Technology and Chief Financial Officer. Ben is an avid reader, enjoys classical music and being in the outdoors including for hunting trips. He is our go-to-spokesperson for our SME Confidence Index, SME sector policy and trend matters, and business leadership articles.

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