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Employees go underappreciated in pandemic

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Employees are dissatisfied with the amount of employer recognition they are getting during the pandemic.

On 4 April 2021, HR magazine asked our LinkedIn followers if they felt their employer has recognised the extra effort they have been putting into their work during the pandemic.

Almost half (46%) of those responding said no, and 12% said they do occasionally highlighting a thirst for more recognition from the workforce.

Helen O’Leary, people business partner at careers platform Qualio, commented on the poll and said whilst she was interviewing, she was shocked by how many companies aren’t placing employee engagement and wellbeing anywhere near the top of the agenda.

She said: “It’s unsurprising that more people are responding no to this, when it’s being widely predicted that employees will be moving on mass to other companies when the economic situation improves.”

In response to the findings Alan Price, CEO of BrightHR, said employers must be especially wary not to undervalue their staff as over half (51%) of furloughed UK employees are considering a career change.

Price added that as the post-pandemic looms, employers should be prepared for staff considering what their futures will look like.

He told HR magazine: “This may only be exacerbated if they do not feel they have been appreciated during the pandemic.

“In response to this, HR could encourage staff to come forward if they feel the company could be doing more to support them, such as ensuring bonuses are paid if possible or considering other ways to keep employee levels up in the company.”

A key thing to consider in the months ahead, he said, will be the company line on homeworking.

He said: “If staff want to continue working from home, placing a blanket ban on them doing so may make them feel that their efforts whilst at home have gone unappreciated.

“Employees will likely have picked up extra work due to the pandemic situation, after all, if employees have been furloughed or made redundant, it only makes sense that this will have put pressure on colleagues.”

Wendy Muirhead, vice president at Ceridian Europe, said employees want to feel valued and recognised for what they contribute to their organisations.

Speaking to HR magazine she said: “Employees look to their managers for the motivation, communication and relationship building that keeps them engaged in their jobs.

“The organisations that drive forward successful recognition programmes do so strategically – after all, it’s more than just checking a box or celebrating Employee Appreciation Day once a year.”

Muirhead said employee recognition programmes should also align with the company’s values, reinforce organisational purpose and help to build culture.

“The act of recognition should be frequent, personal, and facilitated at all levels and in every direction, not simply relegated to manager-to-employee acknowledgement.

“Developing recognition programs to reward hard work, boost engagement, and drive workplace productivity has never been more important than during times of uncertainty,” she said.

HR magazine polled people's attitudes to recognition on LinkedIn from 4 to the 6 April 2021 receiving 1,389 votes.