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Employee surveys in connection with Covid-19 – potential impact on the results

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Brilliant Customer Experience Management

With the whole world in different stages of a pandemic, there will be an effect on individual’s perceptions of their own work situation and work climate. However, which aspects and in which way will differ from individual to individual and from organisation to organisation. We have collected our observations here regarding impact on the results of the employee survey in the future.

Almost all individuals have been forced to adapt in one way or another to some kind of change in connection with Covid-19. This will affect our perception of the work climate, and we can thus expect that a number of organisations will be observing changes in their employee surveys going forward. Examples of changes that might have an impact are:

  • Major change in the organisation’s economic situation (upwards or downwards)
  • Layoffs
  • Redundancies/notice
  • Several organisations have been forced to recruit new staff more quickly than usual
  • Organisations have not had sufficient resources to meet society’s/the market’s needs
  • Changed ways of working, for example, remote working
  • Many people have suffered personal tragedies

We have summarised some of our observations below:

Confidence in the management

How management teams have succeeded in managing the changes that have arisen in connection with the pandemic will probably be crucial for continued confidence in the organisation’s management team. There are already examples of organisations that have needed to let a large number of employees go, but which have succeeded in retaining a high level of confidence in the management through clear and honest communication. Brilliant’s studies show again and again that clarity, honesty and communication are formulas for success for a high level of confidence, and the future will show the extent to which organisations have succeeded in this. In the current situation of increased uncertainty, it is even more important for the management to communicate clearly how the organisation is being affected by Covid-19, and which measures are being taken to meet the challenges.

Leadership

Many managers have been forced to rapidly adjust both their own behaviour and their leadership. How this is done is down to the individual, but we can expect these types of major changes to have an effect, both positively and negatively, on how the leadership in an organisation is assessed. Many organisations have introduced regular status updates to a greater extent than previously, both at group- and individual level, which we are seeing have a positive effect on the leadership within certain organisations. Brilliant’s studies are showing that strong leadership is a prerequisite in enabling a sense of engagement. It is consequently very important to continually follow up and strengthen leadership.

Stress and balance between work and leisure

In terms of perceived stress and balance between work and leisure, there is a chance/risk of different individuals being affected very differently based on the changes we are now seeing – both positively and negatively. Many organisations are facing, or have undergone, redundancies and cutbacks, and other organisations are experiencing a higher workload than usual. Both scenarios can affect the perception of stress and balance. Simply the fact that many people perceive the future as unclear can contribute to an increased feeling of stress.

At the same time, there is a large proportion of employees who will probably feel that the changes are contributing to less stress. If you are working to a greater extent from home, you might not have to commute and are saving a lot of time every day. If you have a family and small children, perhaps you perceive the day-to-day logistics as easier to arrange. However, remote working might also be able to create digital stress. In organisations where you have to grapple with a large number of digital meetings one after the other, ”the breaks” might become fewer or be left out altogether. This can have an adverse effect on the work climate.

To conclude, we are perceiving that there can be both positive and negative changes within the area of ”stress and balance”, though the perception differs greatly between individuals and between organisations.

Engagement

Brilliant evaluates engagement through the two dimensions of energy and clarity. Succeeding in maintaining a high level of engagement during major change is important, but can also be challenging. As with other areas, we are perceiving here that engagement can be affected very differently for different individuals, as different things energise different people. Individuals who would very much like to work together physically, but can’t, can be adversely affected in terms of energy, while others gain energy through other parameters, which are either not affected by the changes, or perhaps even contribute to increased energy.

Brilliant’s analyses clearly show that an important parameter in retaining engagement is being able to feel that you are contributing to the organisation’s operations. This makes clarity particularly important, knowing what you should be doing and understanding how your own work is contributing to the organisation’s operations.

To note

The areas defined above are parts of the employee survey where we feel that the results can be affected by the changes in working conditions that can be derived from the pandemic and the organisation’s capacity to meet the new challenges. Other issues, including individual issues, can also be affected.

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