The Great Resignation: Employee Engagement in a Post-Pandemic World

The Great Resignation has fast become kitchen table talk. The media talks of job vacancies going unfilled for months and productivity hitting the floor. How can organisations use employee engagement to stop your staff quitting their 9 to 5’s?

Whether or not you believe the hype, The Great Resignation has certainly given us pause to reflect on what we are looking for from work in a post-pandemic world. It’s no surprise that after 2 years of working from home, many employees are reluctant to return to business as usual.

As we begin to emerge from the pandemic, staff are demanding change. Balance, flexibility, and support are just some of the conditions staff are expecting. Employers that don’t cut the mustard? Left in the dust.

As the Great Resignation looms over our heads, organisations are asking how best to attract and retain the right employees. The simple answer is employee engagement:  Engaging with staff to create empowering workplaces that inspire, motivate and support people to want to give their best.

At Articulous, we have helped organisations of all sizes to meaningfully engage with employees, creating workplaces fit for the future of work. In this article, we’ll take you through employee engagement, and how at Articulous, we can help you make it look easy.

What is employee engagement (and why does it matter?)

An office space with workers sitting at large tables

“Employee engagement is a workplace approach resulting in the right conditions for all members of an organisation to give of their best each day, committed to their organisation’s goals and values, motivated to contribute to organisational success, with an enhanced sense of their own well-being”.

Engage For Success

Employee engagement is more than an annual survey or a one-off team building exercise. It’s an integral part of a business. As many organisations continue to struggle with low morale and increased staff turnover, others are integrating employee engagement practices to gain true buy-in for building and growing companies.

Imagine if you could tap into the hearts of your staff and give them the challenge of making your business more competitive.

Employees who are barely engaged, or worse, actively disengaged are like a lead balloon for an organisation, dragging their co-worker’s morale down. Employees who are meaningfully engaged however, can take the organisation to new heights.

As an organisation, it’s crucial to take stock of engagement amongst staff. Where are they on the engagement scale? To be considered safe, staff should be, at the very least, somewhat engaged. Anything less and you run the risk of falling victim to The Great Resignation.

Employee engagement in a post-pandemic world

So what does best-practice employee engagement look like as we begin to emerge from the pandemic?

No organisation is the same, so engagement will look different in each workplace. It’s up to the organisation (in partnership with their staff) to find out what engagement means to them.

At Articulous, we’ve noticed three themes cropping up time and time again that we think make organisations engaging places to work.

1.    Employee engagement is culture

Workplace culture should bring out the best in staff, and in turn, bring out the best in the organisation. Gone are the days of grey featureless office cubicles. Staff want a workplace culture based on:

  • Diversity and inclusion,
  • Positive physical environment,
  • Health and wellbeing,
  • Flexibility
  • team values

2.    Employee engagement is communication

The old cliché is true: communication really is key. Staff are tired of feeling like they’re just another cog in the wheel. They want to be part of the bigger picture. This means:

  • Open dialogue
  • Involvement in decision making
  • Having a voice and being heard,
  • Transparency around key business issues

3.    Employee engagement is cultivation

Job-hopping has become commonplace. Why? Opportunity, income, growth – the list goes on. Organisations that cultivate committed employees provide:

  • Opportunities for growth, training, and development
  • Meaningful performance feedback tied to their goals
  • Career progression
  • Career support

How to meaningfully engage with employees

Articulous managing director, Amanda Newbery, discusses methods for meaningful Employee engagement

Meaningfully engaging with employees doesn’t necessarily mean restructuring an entire business, (although in some cases, this might be the case). What it really boils down to is creating a culture where staff can share sentiment, and offer suggestions without any fear of negative reprisals.

So how might you do that? Here a few key tips we have learnt in our time helping organisations effectively engage with their employees:

1.    Keep the executives honest

Your executive staff members are human too. Just because somebody is skilled at their core function does not necessarily mean they are great communicators. Observe them in meetings:

  • Do they take feedback well?
  • Respond to questions?
  • Acknowledge comments?

Work with your executives on their interpersonal communication skills. If need be, invest in one-to-one style executive coaching to explore their strengths and their opportunities to improve and grow.

2.    Ask your staff what they think and feel

Always keep that line of communication open. Set up regular interactions where you give:

  • Information
  • Free advice
  • Opportunities to voice an opinion or make a suggestion

When you ask for something in return, it’s more likely your staff will happily comply. Set up information channels designed for asking for information and giving in return. Make interactions fun, not onerous.

3.    Find new ways to engage

There are a million and one ways to engage with your staff. Here are just a few things you can try:

  • Lunch and learn: To take it up a notch, create an opportunity for staff to lunch and learn — 1 on 1 — with the boss.
  • Walk a day in someone else’s shoes: A job swap program, which allows employees to spend time working in various offices or departments, can help them better understand the role different jobs have in driving company success – and can help them do their own job too!
  • Look at technology as an option for understanding your employees better. Your intranet may have a survey or polling tool, and there are many tried and tested survey tools online. Or, try Heelix, developed by a couple of Aussies, that gives real time insight into how your people feel via a smartphone application. Don’t be afraid of technology – it can do great things for you and your employee engagement!

If your organisation isn’t in a position to uplift your employee engagement practices, an engagement firm like Articulous can work with you to find the right approach. Find out what we can do for you.

4.     Tell people how their information contributes (or equally why it doesn’t)

You would be amazed at how often we see people forget this one! Tell people what happened with the information they gave, even if you didn’t use it. People want to know how their contribution shaped the conversation and, ideally, the decision. It’s a simple thing but one that really matters.

5.     Have an employee engagement strategy – and tell everyone about it

Tell your staff why you are asking them about how they feel or think about their work. Why does it matter, what’s the plan? It is human nature to wish to belong and people are far more willing to give if there is a belief it is for a greater cause.

The Wrap-Up: Employee Engagement in a Post-Pandemic World

The New Normal is here. How we live and work has fundamentally changed in the last 2 years. The result is a collective re-evaluation of what work means.

It’s no longer about work/life. Instead, it’s about life/work. Organisations must adapt.

Employee engagement will be how organisations weather the storm that is the Great Resignation. What this looks like will be different for each business, and it can be hard to get the ball rolling.

At Articulous, we thrive on engagement – community and stakeholder, employee, and customer.

As engagement experts we take a bottom-up approach, working with you to build a culture of employees who are engaged, driven, and who have the ability to make key business decisions. Find out more today.

Written by Shoshanna Berry-Porter
Shoshanna is a project officer with a varied skillset across marketing and communications and engagement. She has a flair for creating compelling narratives that resonate with audiences across platforms through text and design.