Through COVID-19 safety measures, many were separated from their loved ones and routines. This also impacted our personal lives as we began to work in dispersed locations and in isolation.
At least this is what employee engagement expert WorkBuzz uncovered in a recent study.
WorkBuzz spoke to 300 HR professionals between July and August 2021 across EMEA and APAC as part of its ‘The State of Employee Engagement 2021‘ report. The findings gave insight into the changes HR leaders have had to adapt to and the challenges they continue to face.
Employee engagement in 2021
Currently, 81% of office-based organizations are shifting to hybrid working, while 18% of businesses are allowing employees to have full flexibility and choose where they work.
On the back of this climate, 66% of those surveyed said that they are struggling to keep employees connected with each other and the company on an emotional level.
As a result of a lack of workplace interaction across the company, the study noted that a ‘them and us’ mentality can arise unless communication is carefully managed.
Steven Frost, founder and CEO of WorkBuzz, discussed the current situation: “With some employees returning to the office full-time, others choosing to stay remote and many doing a combination of both, there is a real risk of a fracturing workplace culture.
“We need to be careful not to create a two-tier system that ignores sections of the workforce.
“After all, if leaders aren’t conscious of adapting their communications and interactions to keep remote, office-based, and frontline workers’ needs in mind, people will begin to feel excluded and disengaged.”
With this situation in mind, it is unsurprising that the study also found that 57% of those surveyed were focused on improving employee engagement and the overall employee experience.
This figure was closely followed by a focus on supporting employee wellbeing.
Currently, one in two of those surveyed identified challenges with identifying and supporting wellbeing needs, nurturing the right culture, and collaboration when teams are dispersed.
As a result of this finding, Frost noted: “For most challenges, experienced leaders and HR professionals have a playbook – they’ve seen it before.
“But with hybrid working, many are chartering new waters, figuring out how to make it work most effectively, and adapting to employees’ changing expectations. This makes listening to their people even more important.”
In terms of addressing wellbeing and engagement issues, WorkBuzz recommends that businesses gather actionable data and feedback from employees so they can begin improving what they offer.
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