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Are your employees worried about a second wave? Here’s how employee surveys can help


For many workplaces, the uncertainty of a second wave of COVID-19 is having a significant impact on employee stress levels, creating negative effects on productivity and engagement. Even as restrictions begin to ease, employees might still be experiencing exceptional levels of anxiety related to job security and workplace safety measures.

In an attempt to ease such concerns, many leaders have communicated with employees early and often during the crisis, and continue to do so. While communications thus far may have effectively conveyed the organization's plans and protocols, employees working remotely may feel they lack opportunities to safely voice their concerns. Those who have continued to work onsite may feel that communications have not been effective. Furthermore, employees who were temporarily laid off may have missed the messaging issued by leaders during their absence. Regardless of the situation, many employees may be feeling the need to be heard, especially with a second wave.

How can an employee survey help with COVID-19 recovery and resilience moving forward?

Surveying employees at this critical juncture—when many organizations are reopening, maintaining remote working conditions, or rethinking and redesigning their business models and workplaces—can help leaders find optimal ways to integrate employees into a changed environment.

The BDO COVID-19 Employee Pulse Check—an anonymous short survey designed to gauge employee thoughts, feelings, and fears—can help strengthen your organization in three key ways.

1. Showing employees you care.

A survey serves as an important listening tool. Many of your employees have likely had to shift gears abruptly and may be facing increased distractions and disorder in their daily activities. Some are sharing their space with other family members, others are worried about personal or family health issues, and still others are adjusting to the novel routine of remote work—along with the notion that these arrangements can go on indefinitely.

Taking the time to create and publish a survey, as well as encourage responses, demonstrates to employees that their personal experiences are important. Learning about the individual circumstances affecting them shows employees that you are committed to their well-being.

2. Gaining insights on how to support employees.

Employers who are preparing to welcome employees back to the workplace need to ensure that workers are comfortable with the return. Where employees have continued to work onsite, employers need to know whether the measures in place have been adequate. Furthermore, employees may now face new challenges related to caretaking and commuting that influence availability, motivation, and performance.

How confident are your employees about ongoing and future safety policies and protocols? Are there logistical and practical issues that will impact a return to the workplace? By surveying employees anonymously, leaders will be better able to recognize what is working well (and what is not), address employee concerns about inadequacies and lifestyle constraints, and alleviate related anxieties and fears. Survey results will help to determine how best to support employees moving forward.

3. Improving employee engagement over the long term.

Surveying provides an opportunity to better appreciate the personal experiences of your employees and thus allows you to discern information to help navigate the COVID-19 crisis. Research shows that this level of understanding may predict how well your organization will fare during tough times. Studies have also shown that favorable job attitudes can have a stronger relationship to organizational outcomes in bad economic times than they do in normal or good times, which makes understanding employee outlook an important endeavour.

Getting feedback from your employees is not only an act of compassion (whereby empathy will improve long-term employee morale and engagement)—it's also a source of essential business intelligence to support decision-making during an economic downturn.

Why is now the right time to survey your employees?

When employees are experiencing fear, anxiety, and uncertainty, they may feel less inclined to voice their needs. Conducting an anonymous employee survey now is an opportune way to inform your decisions and avoid blind spots. Surveying can in turn increase engagement and maximize resiliency.

From a practical perspective, acting now may help improve employee productivity and decrease unwanted departures. It will also allow you to celebrate achievements and recognize positive behaviours and outcomes in real time.

The BDO COVID-19 Employee Pulse Check survey advantage

While many surveys on the market may address an employer's imminent data collection needs, the BDO COVID-19 Employee Pulse Check goes beyond simple information gathering. In addition to providing employers with a report that includes analysis and recommendations, our professionals will conduct a customized in-person or virtual session with your leadership to provide guidance and recommended action plans.

Contact us to learn how we can help:

Marc Fournier, National Leader, People Advisory

Deann Young, Vice President, People Advisory

Kerry Graydon-Tsang, Manager, People Advisory

Anna Giampà, Director, Strategy Advisory Services

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