A recent survey by recruitment agency people2people found over one-third of Australian employees are worried about their job stability due to the current lockdowns. One in five of the workers surveyed reported employers asking them to cut their hours or take unpaid leave while the lockdowns are in place.
Group Managing Director of people2people Mark Smith says, “The new lockdowns have seen millions of non-essential Australian workers forced to stay home. Although relief has been announced for SMEs, at times like these, it can do little to reassure employees of their current job security coming out of lockdown and or future employment opportunities if redundancy is inevitable.”
Only 19 per cent of the 1200+ people who participated in the survey reported feeling more secure in their job than earlier in the year.
“At the start of the year, business confidence had returned to an all-time high since the start of the pandemic. Although the 2021 recovery hasn’t been as smooth as predicted, business confidence is expected to return to high levels and drive growth across Australia once the Delta variant is controlled. I urge employers to show empathy, transparency, and a greater appreciation for employee welfare as we work through the current restrictions,” said Mark.
Mark has provided five top tips for employers to consider to ease employee concerns during the lockdowns:
1. Employee Retention: This should be the number one focus in 2021. We are currently experiencing rising salaries due to an incredibly short talent market. Now more than ever, it is time to take care of your employees and make them feel valued and supported, especially those juggling lockdown, work, and school holidays.
2. Regular contact: Create a quick daily check-in with the team with a clear goal. Don’t just set up a meeting for a meeting to tick the box. people2people’s recent data has shown that up until the recent lockdown that the number of meetings in 2020 versus 2021 had increased by 17%, with the time spent in meetings up 18%. Have a schedule and stick to it.
3. WFH & no after-hours email policy: Remind your staff about your working from home policy and resend it to them all if you haven’t already. A vital point of this should include no emailing outside of work hours to avoid promoting the idea that success comes with working longer hours or ‘always being on.’ The policy should also include keeping to your hours, taking regular breaks, staying in touch with colleagues, and sick leave.
4. Convey digital company culture: At people2people, we have a ‘TV channel’ where we celebrate wins from our people in real-time. We also have a WFH playlist and have provided our working parents and clients with our very own school holiday cookbook. Get creative with how you can give support to your online community. Slack or WhatsApp groups can be a quick and effective way to share tips and celebrate wins.
5. Lead by example: If managers don’t live by the policies, boundaries, and expectations they deploy to their staff, how are they expected to follow them? These policies and procedures only work if managers walk the talk.