Coronavirus boosts engagement as employers pay more attention to people’s needs

?UK employees were more engaged at work in July than they were pre-coronavirus in January this year, rising by 0.5%.

This is according to a report from Peakon, which analysed 10 million survey responses collected by clients of its employee engagement platform.

During the height of the pandemic, global engagement rose by 2% over the same six months.

Employers’ efforts to protect and support staff in this time have not gone unnoticed and are helping drive engagement.

Though HR leaders have been urged to prepare for potential winter burnout, Peakon’s analysis suggests that the effort many employers have put into supporting the mental wellbeing of employees could pay off.

Scores agreeing with the statement that “My company really cares about my mental wellbeing” rose 7.2% in the UK between January and July.

Speaking to HR magazine, Rick Kershaw, chief people officer at Peakon, said that the circumstances seem to have “shaken awake” employers across the country.

He said: “It appears that employers understood the potential impacts on employees’ mental health and took steps to mitigate these.

“Many HR leaders gave extra support to managers too – encouraging them to talk to their teams more often and actively listen to their concerns. These actions helped companies to nurture a culture of care, and shared responsibility, which as Peakon’s data demonstrates has made a real difference.”

Being given the choice to work remotely when they’d like to (Up 8.5% in the UK) also scored favourably for employees.

In global responses to the increased remote work scores, 25% of all comments used positive words like “love, happy, enjoy" and "satisfied” in relation to their work.

Scores agreeing with the statement that “My physical work environment contributes positively to my ability to do my job” also increased by more than 8% from UK respondents in this period.

Kershaw added: “As we emerge from the pandemic, whenever that may be, employers mustn’t retrace their footsteps. Mental health support isn’t just something to be offered during a crisis – it must be there all year round, every year.

“Employers will need to continue listening to their employees, and responding to their concerns.”