While Coronavirus has forced many employees into either furlow, unemployment, or remote work and brought American wellbeing to a 12-year low, employee engagement among the working population is experiencing a historic rise. Gallup reported the highest level of employee engagement worldwide at 38%, the highest reported score in twenty years.
In fact, Gallup data indicates that successful business outcomes like higher profitability, turnover, and improved productivity correlated with morale and employee engagement have been stronger during past recessions.
Employee engagement is marked by three simple factors: how an employee thinks, how they feel, and how they act. When an employee understands their responsibilities and enjoy what they are doing, they are more likely to go the extra mile. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), 84% of senior leaders say that disengaged employees are one of the top three biggest challenges facing their business. Engaged employees put more than just time into their work. They bring passion, enthusiasm, and innovation to their companies and enjoy working for them.
When times are tough, employee engagement is higher
Based on a recent global meta-analysis, Increased Business Value for Positive Job Attitudes during Economic Recessions: A Meta-Analysis and SEM Analysis, positive employee job attitudes historically boost business success during periods of economic challenge.
Employer Response has Improved
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Gallup reported that employer communication and clarity improved following the lockdown, with 52% of survey respondents agreeing that their employer provided a clear plan of action. The percentage of employees who reported their managers continually keep them informed increased from 47% to 53%.
Times of disruption and unpredictability are the best to ensure employees are well informed, expectations are clear, and recognition for work is top of mind. Doing so will not only boost employee engagement for the time being, but ensure that employee perception is optimistic as they navigate shaky ground and look toward a return to business as usual.
Download: How Employee Recognition Influences Attitude & Behavior in the Workplace