Recognition most effective way of re-engaging workforce

More recognition would be the most effective way to re-engage the workforce following the coronavirus pandemic according to a survey from engagement software provider Achievers.

Thirty-four per cent of UK respondents to the survey said they did not feel recognised for the work they have done during the pandemic. Fifteen per cent of all respondents, meanwhile, said the last time they received formal recognition from either a manager or a peer was more than a year ago.

The study also found that while 77% of respondents are more likely to provide honest feedback in a survey than to their manager, a very small number of organisations conduct engagement surveys more than once a year, with 33% carrying them out every year or less frequently and 46% doing them annually.

As well as appreciation for their contributions (selected by 37% of UK respondents), work-life balance (33%) and health and wellbeing support (26%) were also high on the list of areas that would make employees feel more supported at work during the pandemic.

Lord Mark Price, former MD of Waitrose and founder of Engaging Business, told HR magazine: “Employers should evaluate the workforce and reward and recognise the hard work their employees have put up with over the past six months.

“Reward and recognition go hand in hand – if your workforce isn’t paid a fair salary, no amount of recognition for a job well done will be enough to make employees forget they are not being paid enough. Review the salaries and see if you can improve on them.”

In the event of a pay freeze, Price said employers should look at other options to help improve workers’ work-life balance.

“Now that they are at home, or their childcare has changed, how can employers make their workforce happy in their jobs? Allowing flexible working could be a start. By recognising an employee’s needs as well as their hard work, you will re-engage them and forge a healthier relationship,” he added.

Achievers' research also found that most senior level staff feel very well aligned with company values, compared to managers and junior staff, signalling a disconnect within organisations.

Speaking in the report, Achievers chief workforce scientist Natalie Baumgartner said the data showed that culture alignment had largely changed for the worse during the pandemic, with most organisations struggling to maintain culture continuity thus far.

“Challenges with work-life balance and wellbeing were commonly reported, among other areas of risk. There were, however, also areas of success – work flexibility and manager contact were bright lights in a murky reality,” she commented.

The 2020 Culture Report: Culture Continuity and employee engagement during COVID-19 surveyed 1,140 respondents in the UK, US, Canada and Australia in June 2020, across all levels of organisations from C-suite to junior individual contributors