Since the beginning of the pandemic, keeping teams connected, communicating, and collaborating has been on everyone’s radar screens, especially as remote work becomes more entrenched. And yet, almost a year into the pandemic, cohesion remains a challenge, and as a result, employee productivity remains a top concern for company leaders.

As the old saying goes, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result. Some recent employee survey data suggests that after months of struggling, something is about to give.

According to Reward Gateway, a firm specialising in employee recognition and rewards, the majority of employees surveyed in the US, UK, and Australia are planning to change jobs.

Employee turnover can be extremely costly – on average, the costs of filling a position are estimated to equate to a third of the salary of the role that’s being filled.

However, according to the Reward Gateway survey, the reasons behind employees’ plans to depart aren’t related to better pay or a bigger benefits package. Employees cited being underappreciated and a lack of recognition for their work (30%), a lack of support (26%), and reduced connection to the company (23%) as the primary reasons behind their plans to depart.

And yet, company leaders worry about productivity, leading some to pursue using employee monitoring software and activity metrics to measure their team’s activity – likely adding to the impetus for employee departures.

However, the keys to increasing productivity can be found within the three factors we just mentioned: appreciation and recognition, support and connection to the company.

Let’s break it down:

  • Appreciation and recognition – In addition to simply making people feel valued, appreciation and recognition provide important signals that shape behavior by reinforcing priorities, helping employees stay focused on key objectives.
  • Support – Support from one’s manager and other leaders is always important and is historically a key driver of employee engagement. The additional pressures the pandemic has inflicted and the fact that many are working remotely have increased the importance of employee support by an order of magnitude.
  • Connection to the company – Connection to the company and one’s peers is another perennial component of employee engagement that is also under extra pressure in today’s world of social distance and remote work. Leaders need to double down on communication, ensuring employees have a clear view of the big picture. However, leaders also need to help employees recapture “watercooler” moments and simply connect as they did in the office. Making time just to catch up with each other on a personal level is vitally important.

In addition to improving productivity, don’t overlook the importance of these three things to overall employee engagement and retention. Prioritising recognition and fostering peoples’ connections to each other and the company is cheap and simple to do – and are easy to repeat. Ensuring managers are supporting their employees fully may require leaders to actually survey or otherwise assess teams – employee feedback is crucial for this – but in the meantime, smart leaders can act quickly by creating guidance for their managers, and bringing teams together (even virtually) so employees have the opportunity to hear from divisional and departmental heads.

The new Covid Culture Check survey we developed is the perfect tool to check in with employees and gauge how they are feeling, and assess the cultural health of teams, departments, and the company as a whole.

Current Engagement Multiplier clients can access the Covid Culture Check survey in their dashboard, or they can request to have it added to their next scheduled Benchmark Assessment. An accompanying success guide provides additional guidance on interpreting and responding to survey results.

Companies new to Engagement Multiplier are invited to use the Benchmark Assessment and Covid Culture Check together, at no cost, as part of the company’s “Purpose Before Profit” pandemic recovery initiative, which includes access to the Engagement Multiplier platform and tools such as Secure Follow-Up. Those who are interested can learn more or claim their free surveys here.

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For more information on improving company culture and avoiding a culture crisis in your company, download our latest white paper: New Threats to Company Culture Post-Covid.