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Adjusting to the new normal in employee engagement

For your employees

As the smoke clears and the ground under our feet begins to stabilise – even if only temporarily – we’re starting to see what a post-COVID normal in our workplaces may look like. While this is sure to vary between industries and geographies, there will be a number of impacts that are sure to be experienced universally.  

One of the areas of work that will undoubtedly be impacted is employee engagement and recognition. With things like remote working looking set to stay as a feature of many workplaces, recognising staff performance and keeping morale healthy will be a significant challenge for employers. Adjusting to this so-called ‘new normal will be important in order to retain employees, keep productivity levels high and protect against burnout. 

Now is the time to take the temperature of the flexibility you offer at your workplace – as well as your customers, partners and suppliers – and what you need to consider when it comes to making this work. 

The agility of your workplace

In a recent forum on edtech and COVID-related change in schools, Allan SheffieldManager of School Information Systems at Brisbane Catholic Education, shared some interesting findings he and his colleagues learned from their switch to remote learning (i.e. working from home for students, if you will): 

“During COVID, it was really interesting to see some of the analytics about when students were connecting to the technology and when they were choosing to workWe saw that they were connecting at times that suited them, or their family and the other things that are happening in their lives.”  

It might be worth considering if the same agility can be applied to the way your office or workplace operates.  

Do your staff need to be reporting for work at 8.30am if their clients or suppliers are operating under restricted hours?

For instance, what kind of changes are taking place among your customers, partners and suppliers? Do your staff need to be reporting for work at 8.30am if their clients or suppliers are operating under restricted hours? Is the concept of asynchronous communications something that can be implemented in your workplace?  

Allowing room for your employees to manage their time in a way that enables them to carry out their roles more effectively, and respects non-work challenges they could have away from work, may lead to increased productivity and greater overall satisfaction and engagement with you, their employer.  

Focus on mental health

One of the most widely recognised impacts of COVID-19 has been its adverse effects on mental health. An ABC report as recent as March 2021 highlighted the impacts of the pandemic on mental health services in Queensland: 

Children and young people are faced with six to nine-month waitlists to see psychologists and psychiatrists,” the report notes. “Queensland doctors also reported a 30 per cent spike in people seeing their GPs for mental health problems… and the mental health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic saw calls to Beyond Blue increase by 42 per cent nationally.”  

Whether your staff continue to work remotely or come back to the workplace (or a mix of the two), checking in on the mental health of your employees, and their families, needs to become part of your new normal in employee engagement.  

Directing employees to company resources to help them deal with mental wellbeingor offering support to employees who are dealing with kids or other family members dealing with mental health issues, will play a huge role in increasing employee satisfaction and engagement.  

Ensuring people working remotely aren’t being adversely impacted by feelings of isolation or loneliness is fast becoming a huge component in fostering positive employee engagement.     

Mobility and salary packaging

A 2020 report undertaken by the McKinsey Global Institute on what the post-pandemic workplace may look like, found that safety is set to take priority over cost and efficiency. 

 “Cost and convenience have traditionally played key deciding roles when customers choose transport modes,” the report says. “Now reducing the risk of infections is the top reason many travellers make those choices. Transport options that guarantee physical distancing will win out over others. In this environment, the use of private cars or biking, walking and shared micromobility could outpace public transport.” 

Assessing the suitability and the range of salary packaging options available to your employees is an ideal way to adapt to the new normal in employee engagement.  

Looking at the different ways of packaging up a novated lease may give your staff greater flexibility in their choice of vehicle – something that’s as useful on the weekends as it is for during the working week – and may also be a way to put more money in an employee’s hands without signing off on a salary increase 

In doing so, you could also play a part in encouraging your people to spend more time in the workplace and respect their concerns about using public or shared transport to get there. 

In conclusion

The impacts of COVID-19 have already prompted fundamental changes to the way many businesses operate, many of which are here to stay. These changes will impact employee satisfaction and engagement with their workplace.  

Adapting how you reward and recognise your employees, as well as providing a workplace that caters to the increasing demands people find themselves in away from the workplace, will have a powerful impact for the better when it comes to staff satisfaction and engagement. 


Talk to LeasePlan about how we can help you to improve employee engagement. 


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