More than ever before, employees are losing connection with their organisations and leaders. According to research conducted by an American-based research institute, Workforce Institute (2021), 52% of 2,000 surveyed employees actively search for new jobs, while 46% feel disconnected from their company.
The impact of the coronavirus inspired a higher level of engagement and resilience from both employees and their employers throughout the pandemic year 2020 compared to previous years. Unfortunately, employers have been under enormous pressure to mitigate the effect of the crisis on the business without realising its impact on their employees’ wellbeing and engagements. After a year of thriving through the global pandemic with virtual meetings, remote working and the new transition to a hybrid work model, employees have experienced a significant shift in their relationship with their employers.
For some, experiencing the pandemic was an eye-opener to re-evaluate their relationship and connection with their employers, organisation and jobs.
Recent researchers have identified the following as common stressors that have affected employee-employer connection;
- Human interaction: Employees do not experience a personal connection with their employers beyond work activities, zoom meetings, sharing of physical space, or other company-wide activities.
- Communication: According to a recent survey article by Marcel Schwantes (CHO and Founder of “Leadership from the Core”), 91% of employees think that their leaders lack communication skills; hence, they feel unheard, less informed, insecure, and unmotivated to achieve the company’s goals.
- Recognition: A recent survey on recognition and rewards shows that 43% of employees will feel valued if they are recognised and appreciated for the resilience and flexibility they have shown since the pandemic.
- Culture: Workforce Institute (2021) suggests that 42% of employees agree that work culture is becoming worse during the pandemic because of the inability to reinforce a healthy and cohesive workplace.
- Trust: For some employees, finding a new employer is better than staying with an employer that lacked trust in them during the pandemic.
The impact of a highly disconnected workforce may impair the overall performance of the organisation. It will make good business sense for employers to proactively create a better human connection with their workforce. Some actions employers can adopt to achieve this includes:
- Create a climate that encourages open communication that allows employees to freely express their thoughts, ideas, and concerns.
- Request for feedback, input and suggestions from employees to address company-wide issues.
- Foster a healthy work culture of empathy and servant leadership
- Be intentional about understanding relevant facts about your team members’ personalities, motivation, abilities and values.
- Recognise and motivate employees for doing their job.
- Ensure to provide regular and human-centric feedback on employees’ job performance.
- Establish clear intentions and practical actions to support employees” personal and career growth.
- Engage in unofficial telephone calls and physical meetings to foster human interaction and personal connection with team members.
- Encourage team members to observe a healthy work-life balance.
- Celebrate individual and team wins.
- Establish a great internal communications strategy to cascade information from management to employees to avoid rumours, mistrust, or insecurity.
When employees feel emotionally and mentally connected to their employers, colleagues, and culture, they become more invested in the current and future successes of the organisation.