It’s been almost a year since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and everyone has felt the impact in their daily lives. In the early days, April 2020, we surveyed people of all walks of life to better understand how the pandemic affected them and their families; their views on government relief; and their top concerns both at work and at home. We found that hourly workers were hit hardest, anxious about exposure to the virus, and confused about what benefits were available to them.
Now, 10 months later, we decided to dig a little deeper. We released a second survey to understand how their outlooks have changed on work and the job market, what it takes to make workers feel safe on-the-job, and how their employers’ actions have impacted them.
We discovered that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted employee engagement and retention in a variety of ways and that there are a few key things employers can do to keep their best talent. Over time, focusing on engagement and retention can offer huge cost savings to employers in terms of avoided vacancy and recruiting costs, as well as higher productivity from more engaged and experienced employees.
At its core, this means an excellent COVID-19 response saves money and increases productivity by driving worker loyalty. Every manager needs to be aware of this connection and the steps they can take to retain workers during the pandemic.
Download the eBook for the full results, or keep reading here for a brief preview of our findings.
We asked the workers who took our survey to evaluate how well they thought their employers responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and compared those responses with other rankings of loyalty and engagement, including:
The results gave a clear picture of the connections between poor employer responses to COVID-19 and disengaged, unhappy employees and looming employee turnover.
Compared to our survey in April 2020, hourly workers are significantly more anxious now about catching COVID-19 at work. They’re also much more nervous about contracting the virus at work than the general public. This fear also has a strong connection to workers wanting to quit their jobs: approximately a quarter of hourly workers are considering quitting their jobs because of the threat of being exposed to COVID-19.
By providing simple guidelines, PPE, and benefits, companies can help make their employees feel safe coming to work. Those who already provide benefits like extra COVID-19 sick time and telemedicine are much more likely to have been labeled as responding well to COVID by employees. In addition, those who felt their employers responded poorly said that they would feel better with simple measures like limiting the number of employees or customers and providing better personal protective equipment.
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