Employee Engagement (or lack thereof) and the impact of the COVID Economy

We are focusing on the issue of employee engagement or disengagement for the balance of 2020 as you plan your strategies for the coming year including continued work from home scenarios and also full or partial re-boarding of your employees back to the workplace.  We want to give credit to our industry colleague, Zbig Skiba of Skiba Associates for his insights to this issue.

According to Gallup’s July 2020 employee engagement poll, 13% of employees are actively disengaged and 47% are not engaged.  Actively disengaged employees “have miserable work experiences and spread their unhappiness to their colleagues.”  Not engaged employees “are psychologically unattached to their work and company” and “on the lookout for better employment opportunities.”  The results are decreased company performance, higher turnover, and diminished profits, not to mention a poor work environment for everyone in the organization.  According to a recent Forbes article, the cost of a disengaged employee is 1/3 of their salary.  Take a minute to do the math of 13% + 47% of employees X 1/3 of average salary and pay attention to the resulting potential cost of disengagement, without even considering the high cost of turnover.

The COVID economy adds complexity to keeping employees engaged in a work from home situation, as well as some or all of employees re-boarding, currently or in the near future.  Decreased in-person interaction makes it more difficult to communicate and maintain bonds (we will submit, however, that it isn’t impossible to have good communications in a virtual structure.)  Innovation has the potential to decline due to a lack of casual exchanges that spark ideas.  Disruptions at home create additional stress that can negatively impact work performance.

In order to combat these issues, there are some key factors that must be understood and practiced to minimize the impact of COVID on the work environment and resulting economic challenges that your organization will face.  They are:

  • Purpose: Why do we exist?  Who are we?
  • Contribution What value do I provide to my organization?
  • Team Do I enjoy working with my team?
  • Energy Do I have the energy to perform at a high level?
  • Compensation How am I rewarded for my efforts?  This includes money and more intrinsic rewards such as feeling valued, involved, engaged!

In our next Power Idea, we will discuss each of these factors in greater detail and will be offering a self-coaching guide to give you a method for evaluating the level of engagement/disengagement in your organization.

Stay tuned!