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Employee engagement learnings from Covid-19 – and how they can be applied to the financial crisis

Many organisations are still recovering from the impact of Covid-19, and we’re now facing a new – but not unrelated – challenge, with potential recession in 2023.

The pandemic hit businesses hard, and the recession is likely to send further waves of uncertainty through sectors and industries of all kinds. But we learned a lot from Covid-19 when it came to employee engagement – and, armed with this knowledge, you can put your organisation in the best position to recover from a period of recession.

Proactive communication and transparency is key

Communication is at the very core of employee engagement. And, with employee engagement pivotal to business performance, it’s no surprise so many of the organisations that successfully made it through the pandemic were the ones that instilled effective and proactive communication practices.

You can help address employee concerns and anxieties by communicating with them more often. Be transparent and share all the information you can, including your future plans. With employees generally more geographically dispersed than they were three years ago, consistent communication is fundamental to help build and maintain strong working relationships.

Prioritise mental and physical wellbeing

Wellbeing is integral to the relationship between employers and their employees. With boundaries between work and home becoming increasingly blurred during the pandemic, many people experienced heightened stress – and some have since reconsidered continuing to work at all.

Promoting and addressing employee wellbeing can deliver mutual benefits, but ensure your workforce receives relevant wellbeing benefits that aren’t just a box-ticking exercise. When employee needs are met and authentically valued by your leadership team, it will strengthen their emotional connection to the organisation – and, as a result, they’re more likely to stick around.

For inspiration on wellbeing strategies your organisation can start implementing today, read our article, Easy initiatives you can implement to support employee wellbeing.

Be flexible – and adapt to changing circumstances

It’s inevitable that organisational circumstances will change – fluctuations are a normal part of business. But what about the changing circumstances of your people?

In recent years, organisations have had to become more flexible, especially with the popularity of working from home and people’s desire for a better work-life balance. As your business looks to the future, it’s important to consider expanding your flexible working policy to better meet the needs of what employees need at specific times.

Take, for example, an employee’s partner being made redundant by a company struggling during the recession. After finding a new job, their shift patterns are different – leading to complications with childcare, and meaning your employee’s work pattern has to temporarily differ. Be willing to do things differently when your employees face challenges in their lives. Adaptability is the foundation of an agile company that can withstand difficulties, and one its employees will want to stay with.

Embed regular employee listening

There can be many reasons your employees become less enthusiastic about work during the recession, but the worst thing you can do is guess why. During the pandemic, many organisations decided to read between the lines rather than asking employees directly how they felt and why. This significantly impacted morale, which led to burnout and high turnover of employees.

During the economic downturn, ensure your organisation actively learns about people’s problems and concerns, show empathy, and respond within a reasonable timeframe. Being proactive in how you respond is the best way to turn any employee into a more loyal (and more hardworking) one.


Manage change at your organisation throughout the recession and make smarter, data-driven people decisions with the WorkBuzz Platform.

Download our new eBook, Employee engagement in challenging times, and book a demo of our survey platform using the form below – or drop us an email at hello@workbuzz.com.

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