It probably comes as no surprise that today’s employee engagement trends are volatile – a reflection of the unprecedented times we’re living in.
In early May, following employers quick response to COVID-19, Gallup reported a record rise of engaged employees – those who are highly involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace. Just a month later, following the killing of George Floyd and subsequent protests and riots, reports showed the most significant drop in engagement since 2000 (when they started measuring) – a 7% decrease. Most recently, Gallup shared June’s employee engagement declines were short-lived, reporting a new all-time high.
Do you have whiplash from the employee engagement roller coaster yet? With all of the ups and downs, you may be wondering what you can do to support employee connection, engagement, and wellbeing at your credit union. Consider these areas of focus:
- Communicate, communicate, communicate!
In June when Gallup saw a dramatic drop in engagement, communication was cited as a key factor. Employees said they felt less informed by their leaders and uncertain about the future of their company and role. As with any organizational change, communicate an update on your strategic plan, equip leaders with information, and give employees a space to ask questions. Tip: If your teams are disbursed or practicing social distancing, consider recording a video to make it more personal.
- Recognize employees
With competing and shifting priorities, it’s easy to focus on what’s next and miss opportunities to recognize and celebrate employees. Ask employees and leaders to nominate peers who make a meaningful impact for members or co-workers. Don’t miss opportunities to celebrate a milestone work anniversary or the birth of a new baby, either. These stories and moments illuminate your values and culture, giving a dose of the humanity we all crave. Tip: Create a new award that recognizes an employee or team for change adaptation or innovation. Highlight the award(s) and recognition story on your intranet or at your next all employee meeting.
- (re)Set clear expectations & check-in frequently
The financial landscape has changed so much since January, and chances are so has your credit union’s business plan and goals. Encourage weekly check-ins for employees and managers to connect personally, discuss work priorities and professional development. These conversations should focus on current challenges and opportunities, but it’s also important to revisit job duties and performance goals to ensure alignment. Tip: Ask about work arrangements and processes, and be prepared to take action (especially if there are roadblocks prohibiting an employee from doing their job.)
- Invest in your managers
Leaders are people, too. Gallup reports that leader and manager engagement is especially susceptible, likely due to juggling business and people priorities. Research shows that if a manager feels disconnected, their teams are also likely to exhibit lower levels of engagement. Equip your leaders with resources and tools to more effectively connect with employees and manage their teams. Tip: Manager oversight of process improvement, policy updates and procedure management may have taken a back seat recently. Re-assign these duties or set aside time to focus in these areas.
- Advocate for employee wellbeing & assistance
Employees are working more, taking less time off, and feelings of fear, divide and loneliness are at all-time highs. Now more than ever, credit unions can live the people helping people philosophy by advocating for employee wellbeing. A Portland-area credit union encouraged employees to take a personal wellness day if they need it. Another credit union hosted virtual appointments with a counselor through their employee assistance program (EAP). Tip: Consider what you can do to help the wellbeing of your employees, and be sure to remind them of any resources available through your benefits program.
Hang on tight!
This roller coaster is just getting started. With many school districts moving to blended or virtual learning this fall, COVID-19 cases on the rise, societal unrest around race relations, and a presidential election looming, it’s likely this isn’t the last up or down we’ll see in employee engagement data. Credit unions are uniquely positioned to respond to these unprecedented events, and can take action to enhance employee connection, wellbeing, and engagement. How are you engaging your employees? Comment below!