How to foster employee engagement during Covid-19
You know how when you’re really engaged with something, you care about it, feel loyal towards it and will do your best to support it? It could be a club you’ve joined or your kids’ school or a group of friends you love to spend time with, but whatever it is, you’re emotionally invested and you want to help it grow and succeed. When an employee has those feelings towards their job and place of work, it creates one of the most valuable commodities a company can aspire to have.
Imagine working in a company where every employee was fully engaged. Everyone cared about the work they did and the future of the company and they did their best to help make it the best it could be. What better conditions for success could there possibly be? The latest Global Employee Experience research shows that only 50% of employees in the UK are ‘engaged’, suggesting that many employers are struggling to provide the right conditions.
How can volunteering help with Employee Engagement?
There are many different definitions of employee engagement but typically these include metrics such as; commitment, job satisfaction, sense of connection and pride in the company . Having high scores in all of those areas should indicate a company that takes its responsibilities towards its people seriously and in turn, will reap the many rewards of a highly engaged workforce. And a number of studies have shown how volunteering can increase this…
For example, the 2017 Deloitte IMPACT Survey found that 74% of employee respondents think volunteerism provides an improved sense of purpose with their employer. Also, the Deloitte Volunteer Impact Survey 2011 revealed that Millennial employees that undertook volunteering were:
More likely to be very proud to work for their company (55% vs. 36% of those who didn’t volunteer)
More likely to feel very loyal [committed] towards their company (52% vs 33% of those who didn’t volunteer
If CR (corporate responsibility) is about how a company acts in order to make its profits rather than how it spends them (and it definitely is), then employee engagement – addressing responsibility from the inside, out – has got to be where it all starts.
Maintaining engagement while working remotely
In the current climate, where many or most employees may be working remotely, that engagement is more critical than ever. Staying connected and supportive and enabling employees to be involved, demonstrate commitment and enjoy satisfaction is undoubtedly a challenge, but it’s achievable.
It will be important for employees to know that your commitment to CR hasn’t fallen by the wayside during lockdown…
Many companies have shown an increased commitment to supporting local communities and those hardest hit during the pandemic and there are numerous examples of how this can be done safely and remotely while having a valuable impact.
Likewise, showing your employees you care about them and their mental health and providing flexibility and tools to support your people at this difficult time, will help them stay engaged and loyal.
To sustain levels of engagement it is also vitally important is to capture and communicate your volunteering and its impact. A 2013 study by the MGSM CSR Partnership Network4 noted that effectively communicating the impact of volunteering, such as the reduction in food insecurity or improved employability ‘will assist in recruiting new participants and increasing levels of satisfaction among existing participants’.
So, when it comes to CR and employee engagement during Covid-19, it is safe to say that promoting remote volunteering and local community aid, along with effectively capturing and communicating your impact will be a key facet to engaging your remote workforce.
Co-Authored by Gillian McKee & Neil Macdonald…