No matter how big or small a company is, business owners worth their salt know that employees are the key to productivity and, ultimately, success.
According to the author of Happiness at Work, Jessica Pryce-Jones, “Happiness at work is closely related with greater performance and productivity as well as greater energy, better reviews, faster promotion, higher income, better health, and increased happiness with life.” Her team also conducted a study, and the research data revealed that:
- Employees who report that they’re happy at work take 66% less sick leave than unhappy ones
- Happy employees are 50% more motivated
Indeed, numbers from numerous studies show that employees who are satisfied at work can do a company good. Businesses with happy employees even outperform the competition by 20 percent. However, a 2020 report by McKinsey demonstrated what we’ve all been thinking about since the start of the pandemic: COVID-19 has affected employee morale in significant numbers.
If you’re seeing low morale in your company and if you’re in the process of making a plan to boost it, here are few important things you should consider acting upon:
Reassess your employee benefits programs, especially health care
As COVID-19 cases are increasing, many are concerned how to keep themselves and their loved ones safe and healthy. This can create a cloud of anxiety during the workweek. As such, addressing this issue should be one of your priorities.
The importance of having a comprehensive healthcare program at this uncertain time cannot be overstated. There are around 151 million Americans who depend on employer-sponsored health coverage. If you have been doubting the strength of your company’s health insurance plan for months now, it’s high time to take a step back and reassess what it offers.
Having comprehensive healthcare insurance can help your employees worry less about getting into debt when they get sick. It can also aid them with keeping their bodies in top shape so that they can avoid illnesses, complications, and risk factors.
Explore whether your company’s health insurance covers preventive care such as wellness visits to the doctor, immunizations, and screenings for blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Another aspect that you should also check is dental care. Good oral health can help prevent a whole host of serious health issues, including heart problems. While cosmetic dental work can be optional, see to it that your insurance includes emergency dental services should the need arise.
Don’t wait for your healthcare insurance benefits to become the reason employees are leaving. Better healthcare plans go a long way and can actually add a lot of appeal to working in your company, which can help you bring in new hires. In fact, according to a Monster poll in 2016, 86 percent of respondents say that when deciding to take a new job, affordable health insurance is an important factor.
Extend grace and flexibility
Work-from-home arrangements have blurred the lines between home and work life. As a result, some employees find themselves unable to sustain the previously manageable 9-5 schedule.
Before the pandemic hit the world, employees could sit at their office desks and work straight from the start to the end of their shift. Today, some employees may need to take care of their children and run their household while working. Others may need to begin working in the early morning or evening. If you can provide flexible working hours for your employees, it can help improve their focus and increase productivity.
In addition, if you find your employees responding late to your work emails and messages, consider giving them a grace period. It’s a tough time for all of us, and cutting everyone some slack in this unusual time can help you maintain employee satisfaction and loyalty.
Furthermore, flexibility at work also means slowing down on micromanagement and giving your employees autonomy over their work. Make sure to improve your employees’ access to essential tools and resources to enhance their virtual work environment and allow them to work independently or collaborate with their team as needed.
Celebrate your employees’ accomplishments
It’s no surprise that the pandemic has created several struggles for businesses worldwide. Given this challenging time, company leaders should aim to recognize and share wins and milestones more frequently.
We all know the power of having a job well done. Letting your employees have a clear sight of their accomplishments and the opportunities these achievements present can keep their spirits high and motivate them to push harder. Furthermore, celebrating wins with coworkers also creates a sense of bond and connectivity, which is essential in a time when physical distance is much more pronounced than ever.
Final Thoughts: The Basics of Employee Morale Still Apply
The pandemic has brought employee morale to an all-time low, but there are several things you can do about it. When in doubt, you can always check the fundamentals of keeping your employees happy. They are still and will always stay relevant.
Help your employees do more essential tasks and get rid of unnecessary, time-wasting ones. Give them the autonomy and agency they need. Connect with them and build loyalty and trust by taking the time to really talk and attentively listen to them. Reward good behavior and performance. Whenever possible, make the workplace fun.
Finally, focus on the fact that your employees are your people. As the famous quote goes: “If you take care of your employees today, they’ll take care of you in the future.”