Measuring Employee Happiness in a Covid-19 World

A few months ago, the measure of employees’ happiness didn’t include the term “social distancing,” but many of the same factors that make a workplace attractive still apply in a Covid-19 world.

Although the traditional measures of workplace happiness – such as satisfaction, engagement and morale – are still relevant, they have taken on new meaning.

Top of mind these days is health and well-being, which remains a priority for employers and employees alike, with mental health and psychological safety proving just as important as keeping employees physically safe.

Global analytics firm Gallup has been closely monitoring and measuring the impact of Covid-19 on the workplace and employee happiness.

Among Gallup’s findings: helping employees remain productive and engaged during the pandemic means meeting four key needs: trust, compassion, stability and hope. That’s because record-level disruption means record-level stress as an entire workforce tries to grapple with an unknown future. 

Communicating frequently with employees, being transparent and having a clear plan of action in response to the coronavirus are all ways to help workers cope. In fact, employees who strongly agree that their leader makes them feel enthusiastic about the future (Gallup’s measure of hope in the workplace) are 69 times more likely to be engaged in their work.

Creating that hope also means investing in the future – and in their employees. Organizations that have made a strategic investment in employee development report 11% greater profitability and are twice as likely to retain their employees. Further, providing ongoing training opportunities can gives employees confidence that they remain relevant, while boosting their job satisfaction, one of the traditional measures of workplace happiness. 

This aligns with a recent review of eLearning amid the pandemic, which found there was a more individualized focus on participants, along with greater connection and intimacy. Indeed, as many people participate in remote education from their homes, a sense of inclusion is rapidly created.

And while virtual learning must be emphasized during the crisis, companies should also encourage open learning and peer-to-peer learning with other employees. This requires investing in the right learning technologies, but equally important, requires creating a culture where open feedback and dialogue, as well as collaborative decision-making are encouraged.

Providing flexibility and self-determination in the workplace has always been important measures of employee happiness, but the ability to continue working from home even after the pandemic may soon top that list.

Even as work and life have become blended for many people, more than half of at-home workers say they would prefer to continue working remotely as much as possible once restrictions on businesses and school closures are lifted. 

Finally, the potential for low morale spurred by feelings of isolation and loneliness is at an all-time high these days, which is why the need to stay connected with employees has never been more important. 

Xpan develops digital learning solutions for companies globally. From design to deployment, our team is making heroes of Learning and Development Officers and contributing to the worldwide number of individuals improving their workplace experience (and lives) with better learning.

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