3 Tips for Improving Employee Experience at the Height of COVID Fatigue
Business leaders know the value of being able to adapt to unexpected changes and remain resilient. But as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, finding solutions to combat fatigue and improve employee engagement is proving increasingly difficult — especially for teams with large numbers of deskless or hourly workers.
At the 2021 Employee Engagement Summit, Joe Ross, Chief Product Officer at WorkForce Software, explained how recent events created an opportunity to remake the workplace in a more resilient and respectful way to employees.
In his session, At the Height of COVID Fatigue: How Improving Engagement for the Deskless Worker Supports Your Ability to Sustain Continuous Change, Ross discussed how post-pandemic forces are shaping the global workforce.
Here are three insights and takeaways from his discussion on how employers can better support workers and build “a culture of empathy” that extends beyond work:
1. Provide Employees with the Right Tools to Do Their Jobs
Despite 2.7 billion employees working in fields like hospitality, manufacturing, retail, and service industries outside of traditional office spaces, deskless workers still only receive 1% of IT spend.
That’s beginning to change.
“[The COVID-19 pandemic] shined a light on the increased and hidden challenges we already had and made them more relevant, providing a real sense of urgency for finding a workable solution that would better prepare us for a world where remote work and constant change is the new normal,” said Ross.
According to Ross and others, organizations are beginning to realize the benefits of investing in technology — particularly the “new generation” of modern workforce management — for deskless workers and see it as a selling point in the war on talent, preventing burnout, retaining employees, and closing the workforce experience gap.
“When the right technology solution is used to support the whole employee and drive alignment between the business, operational, and HR strategy, employee experience and the resulting engagement gets the attention it needs and allows you to sustain greater agility in response to that change,” he said.
2. Listen to Employees and Give Them More Control Over Their Schedules
According to the CDC, fatigue in the workplace is “commonly associated with shift work, long work hours, and the resulting sleep impairment.”1 But other factors — including stress and health problems — can also impact fatigue.
“In the past, workforce management lacked compassion, and was built on a culture of command and control, putting the needs of the corporation first and often at the expense of its employees,” said Ross. “[Now], employees expect to be valued, heard, and have control over their work/life balance.”
By giving employees more flexibility and power over their schedules, whether that’s through accessible, easily modifiable calendars, streamlined processes for initiating shift swaps and time-off requests, or survey capabilities to do a pulse check if employees work longer hours than normal or too many days of consecutive overtime, employers can foster a better work/life balance for their employees.
3. Engage Employees at Every Moment in Their Career Journey
Each day is filled with new challenges, as well as unique opportunities to engage employees and let them know they’re supported at work.
“Technology is amazing in that it can help make managers more productive in the moment,” said Ross. “But at the end of the day, it’s human interaction that really will drive that level of empathy and the kind of engagement that will have the most meaningful impact on employees.”
During these virtual times with limited in-person engagement, that can be difficult for superiors to capitalize on without the right technology in place.
But Ross says that by focusing on the above suggestions and steps, which can be facilitated through the WorkForce Suite, employers can capitalize on the moments that matter and improve employee engagement, even when they’re not face to face.
“What we’re doing is really trying to empower the managers to be more productive in the moment by using technology, so that they can reach out to the employees in those moments that matter most to engage them and have that human face of the company that we all so desperately need,” he said.
Watch the full on-demand virtual session for more insights and learn how WorkForce Experience can help you communicate with, engage, and support your employees throughout every step of the employee journey.
- O’Connor, Mary B. and Imelda Wong. “COVID-19 and Workplace Fatigue: Lessons Learned and Mitigation Strategies.” blogs.cdc.gov. January 13, 2021
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