Employee Engagement Moving into 2021

The 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 broad, but put simply, it’s about creating an environment and a culture where engaged employees thrive.

An engaged employee 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. They genuinely want the organisation to succeed and feel shared success with the organisation and the people that they work with.

Throughout Covid-19, businesses that openly and honestly communicated with their employees earned their trust and benefitted from an increase in engagement, with 63% asking for daily updates and frequent communications. In June, as reported by Gallup, only 31% of employees across the board were engaged, and since then, with recent events, this number has increased only to 40%.

As we 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 must feel connected to the overall mission, purpose and values, realising how their contributions can impact the recovery and growth of the organisation. Businesses that continue to put their people first and show employees that they care through meaningful recognition, open and honest communications, innovative employee benefits and inclusive wellbeing will be the ones that employees want to be a part of.

To ensure that employees remain connected as we head into 2021 there needs to be more channels for communication and feedback, allowing employees to have a voice. There needs to be initiatives put in place so that everyone in the organisation feels able to influence. Leaders will need to ensure their people feel connected to their organisation and to their colleagues, helping them understand how their potentially changing roles and day-to-day contributions deliver value, especially to the priorities and future sustainability of the business. Supporting employees by creating a safe space for concerns around mental, financial and physical health will help them to feel appreciated and supported, making them more willing to work smarter and to work harder to benefit the business. Organisations that are not doing this may see their employees exploring their options elsewhere.

It’s clear that 2021 is going to bring a new set of challenges and hurdles to overcome. Organisations have to continue responding to an ever-changing environment with innovation, agility and forward thinking. It presents a unique opportunity to reset employee engagement strategies and approaches to help the organisation navigate its way through the post Covid-19 era, with the employees who are modelling the behaviours needed for the organisation to thrive going forward.

By Melissa Baxter

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