The Season of (Employee) Discontent

The Season of (Employee) Discontent

 

The Season of (Employee) Discontent

The work-from-home model has become the new norm during the Covid-19 pandemic and while we have all had some time to adjust, have you been wondering how happy and engaged your employees really are?

Well, based on the findings of a study by Hays Canada, the answer is, not very.

According to the article, “49% of employees were seriously considering leaving their job”.

While these numbers are disturbing enough, in some ways, they are understandable. What’s truly shocking is that over half of the employers are doing nothing to help or keep their employees engaged!

Even during “normal” times, I heard similar complaints from candidates who were considering other work opportunities, things like lack of encouragement, direction or personal reward in their workplace are issues regardless of the pandemic, it seems.

Rewards, of course, take many forms.  Whether it’s recognition for going above and beyond, a high-five for a job well done, additional training, opportunities for growth or just a free pizza lunch; it doesn’t take that much to make an employee feel valued.

Even employees that are used to, and thrive, working from home, still want to know their work is appreciated and recognized.

While there are many benefits to working from home, it can, and has been, an extremely difficult transition for many employees.  They can feel that they have been cast adrift and now have to grapple with the challenges of the “new normal” – while worrying about the economy, their job security and learning to separate work and home – while at home!

As an employer, meetings on Zoom and counting keystrokes are not enough to ensure happiness or engagement. If you had thought it was, I urge you to think again.

A great number of employees feel isolated and uncertain about their future, making them more likely to look elsewhere for employment.

Please don’t discount the emotional and social aspect of employment.  A major part of working for any company is feeling that you’re part of the team, that you’re working towards a shared goal and that you feel like you belong! If we take that away, and what do we have left?

So, why do so many employees stay if they aren’t wholly satisfied with their situation? More often than not, this boils down to them liking their team, or manager, and a desire to stay loyal. If that’s doesn’t exist, or it’s taken away, it certainly makes it easier to leave.

So, what’s the solution?  Well, that’s the tricky bit right there, because there isn’t one solution that works for every organization or employee. What we do know is that management needs to learn how to keep their remote employees engaged, and quickly.

While staff turnover is simply part of running a business, if you want to better your odds of keeping your employees feeling like they’re part of a team, let’s get a little creative.

This article, from event site TeamBuilding, has some unique ideas to maintaining high spirits among staff. Whether it’s a couple tips and tricks on how to best celebrate employee birthdays remotely or a special ‘channel’ dedicated to celebrating small wins, there’s a multitude of ideas that would benefit any company’s culture.

On a more serious note, while considering ways of keeping your employees engaged – and employed with you – please don’t forget the very real impact Covid-19 has had on mental health for a great number of people. As CAMH acknowledges in this article, social isolation weighs heavily on everyone, some undoubtedly more than others. Keep an eye on your employees, some may be at risk of experiencing difficulties with their mental health and others may have previous difficulties amplified due to, well, everything that’s happening.

It’s the season of (employee) discontent.  We’re all experiencing this and it’s important that we encourage each other.

This too shall pass, so lets try and be there for one another, it’ll make our post-covid world that much better!

Pam Inglis, Manager Recruiting/Senior Consultant, Rostie & Associates

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