Employees expect more from employers during and following COVID-19 and national protests and social unrest. What will you do to strengthen your relationship with employees?

Expectations are sky high

People have endured isolation and loneliness as a result of COVID-19 and increased their mandates that employers take a stand on important social issues in the wake of mass protests. In the face of confusion, difficulty and fear, they are looking for employers to provide leadership, stability and accountability.

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CHROs and other executives will need to think deeply about their role in creating and maintaining a positive, productive environment that can thrive both virtually and in-person.

This is imperative as companies demonstrating a strong employee experience consistently beat their sector on average by a clear margin of two to four percentage points (pp) across key performance metrics.

redefining experience

Getting the job done comes last
The mental and emotional fallout from isolation, along with the overload of responsibilities can tax employees. Research shows that more than half (62 percent) of employees report losing one hour of productivity per day due to COVID-related stress, and nearly one-third report losing two hours.
Integrity, respect and humanity aren’t nice-to-haves
The World Economic Forum, in a forthcoming study, states that employees will expect their employers to take responsibility for missteps and become better corporate citizens moving forward.
work won't be the same
As recent Forrester research shows, 41 percent of employees are now afraid to go to work as a result of the pandemic. Complying with new mandates and ensuring safety requires companies to rethink office layouts, the total number of employees permitted on-site at once and how to prevent the spread of the virus.
The Employee Experience Index


THE CHALLENGES and Responses

Employee morale wanes as businesses struggle to assuage employee concerns about safety and wellbeing, particularly as they face new impediments to their work and other anxieties, such as caring for and teaching children.
Flaws in internal communications following the move to digital often leave employees feeling out-of-the-loop. The communication that does come often feels hollow, hurting morale, as employees feel their employers are doing too little to address societal issues.
A disparate, virtualized workforce faces no in-person engagement to reaffirm their purpose or a sense of community, while companies struggle to share their internal corporate culture virtually.
Listen closely
BUild community
act meaningfully
Take the time to listen to your employees and understand their concerns. Engage them through digital focus groups, “ask me anything” leader sessions, or pulse surveys. This will help you uncover and address concerns in an agile way, as well as identify any roadblocks that may impede recovery.
Create ways for people to form internal communities that help them stay emotionally close to others and feel safe. Step back and address basic human needs that these crises have brought into stark relief instead of over focusing on career opportunities and other traditional HR and workplace functions.
Employees expect their companies to deliver real value, act responsibly, and do right by the community (which includes their staff). Brands that can put purpose behind impactful, ethical, and authentic action saw their value grow twice as much as average brands over their lifespan.Actions will be rewarded, words will not.
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