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Employees who feel their employer cares about their well-being are more productive, engaged and creative. However, a global survey conducted last year revealed that only 40% of employees feel supported in the workplace.
Employers can address this issue in three essential yet often overlooked ways to show they care, supported by research.
Celebrate Employees’ Individual Strengths
It might sound simple, but team leaders who recognize and prioritize their employees’ unique strengths have a significantly more engaged workforce than those who don’t.
Celebrating employee strengths requires creating time and space for meaningful conversations to determine which aspects of the job inspire employees most. Managers should then distribute responsibilities to team members based on their individual strengths, so employees can spend more time doing work they find meaningful. Utilizing employee strengths in this way allows managers to individualize feedback, making conversations about setting goals feel inspiring, not intimidating.
Employees who believe their strengths are properly utilized and celebrated feel more respected by their employer, which increases productivity. Numerous studies have demonstrated that employees who feel respected are more creative at both the individual and team levels. These employees are also less likely to experience burnout because their interactions with supervisors and their work both feel meaningful.
Keep employees engaged and show that you care by keeping them informed. Employees should be kept in the loop about organizational changes as much as possible. Open communication gives employees the sense that they are involved in the company decision-making process, which fosters feelings of ownership over their work.
Setting clear expectations about workload and priorities also lets employees know exactly what is required of them, eliminating the unnecessary stress that accompanies guesswork. This is especially important for remote employees who, without clear expectations, are not only less productive, but 75% more likely to think about or plan for quitting their job.
In addition to discussing expectations, employers should constantly communicate about resources available to employees. A global Qualtrics survey conducted last year found that nearly half of all workers (46%) say their organization has not effectively communicated what mental health resources are available, if any. Another nationwide survey found that, while 85% of U.S. employers with more than 1,000 employees offer a wellness program, only 60% of employees at those companies know about it.
As we all continue to navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers must expect and be prepared for change. As the situation continues to evolve, so will the needs of your employees and your organization.
Flexibility shows that you view your employees as people with lives outside of work, which creates a company culture where workers feel seen and supported. Allowing workers to set their own schedules, for example, demonstrates that your organization recognizes that employees are individuals with unique needs.
However, being flexible does not mean lowering your standards. A company with strong core values that are positively communicating to employees will stay grounded during periods of change. Plus, flexibility has its perks. Offering employees flexible work arrangements to meet their individual and evolving needs lowers costs, improves job satisfaction, boosts productivity and increases attendance.