Employers are focusing on engagement strategies as COVID continues

This article was originally published on Employee Benefit News, written by Alyssa Place.

With remote work here to stay, employers are weighing what works and what doesn’t when it comes to building an engaging culture that supports employees at all levels.

While the majority of employees have embraced remote work, just 15% feel engaged with their work, according to Gallup. Disengaged employees are less productive and more likely to search for work elsewhere, which costs employers over $1 billion a year in rehiring costs, according to software provider Zenefits.

In order to retain employees, employers have been tasked with finding ways to support them through benefits, workplace communications and managerial support, says Anne Fulton, CEO of Fuel50, an employee engagement platform.

“The pandemic has lasted longer than anyone anticipated, so HR has a lot to consider when it comes to supporting employees,” Fulton says.

“It’s going to be about figuring out how we enable people to be at their best and to be productive and take care of their health as we did in the office.”

In a recent interview, Fulton shared how employers can approach another year of remote work and pandemic challenges, and the top benefits needed to keep employees at the top of their game during COVID-19 and beyond.

What have employers done right when it comes to the transition to remote work over the past year?

Organizations have shown incredible agility and they’ve done a phenomenal job of being responsive to their employees. They’ve had to make sure that they’re communicating with their team and adjust their cadence for remote work. There’s been some real innovation in the way the organizations are responding to their people. Employers are creating fun and engaging activities and they need to keep up that energy and focus, because this new reality is going to be with us for longer than anyone anticipated.

What benefits should employers implement to help their employees navigate another year of the pandemic?

Well-being is going to be a big frontier in 2021 and employers will need to create tailored, custom solutions, based on the individual needs and wants of every employee. We have to move away one-size-fits-all. With technology, that definitely doesn’t exist anymore because everything can be personalized.

Organizations should be creating benefits packages that are more focused on psychological well-being. One of the biggest challenges we’ve seen is addressing the mental well-being of the entire family. Providing psychological support and employee assistance programs where families can tap into support even for their children will be prevalent.

Also, make sure that you’re still providing career visibility to people so that they can still connect to learning and not feel like their career is on hold just because of COVID. Virtual coaching solutions and one-on-one-support is going to be needed for that. Workshops and learning around stress management and burnout and personal time management and productivity coaches are starting to become a reality for organizations.

Do you anticipate employers figuring out their “new normal” in 2021?

The pandemic is lasting longer than anyone anticipated. Remote work is going to continue to be a trend that accelerates, so organizations and HR have a lot to consider and have to look at new practices that are going to support their people through emotional burnout and other personal challenges.

We do have a new normal that we’re going to have to adapt to, but anticipating what that’s going to look like is still a little bit of an unknown. There’s going to be more hybrid models of working, where people work two to three days in the office and more people opt to work remotely. Workplaces are going to look different. 2021 is still going to be a transitional year.

Employee Benefit News (EBN) is the primary media resource that benefit professionals rely on to navigate the complexities of employee benefit planning and delivery. As the dynamics of healthcare spending continue to shift, and benefit plans grow more complex, Employee Benefit News is there with the current awareness and insight benefit managers need to select, communicate and manage benefit programs to their employees.

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