A survey by recruitment agency people2people has revealed that due to the current lockdowns, 1 in 5 employees have been asked to reduce their hours and/or take unpaid leave, and that over a third of Australian employees are worried about their job security and future job search prospects.
Mark Smith, Group Managing Director of people2people says, “The new lockdowns have seen millions of non-essential Australian workers forced to stay home. Although relief has been announced for SME’s, 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.”
The survey of over 1200 Australian workers also revealed that only 19 per cent were feeling more confident about the business landscape today than earlier in the year.
“At the start of 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’s top five tips for employees to navigate the current lockdown and combat fears include:
- 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.
- Regular contact: Create a short daily check-in with the team with a clear goal. Don’t just set up a meeting for a meeting to tick the box. Our 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 an agenda and stick to it.
- WFH & no email after hours policy: Remind your staff about your working from home policy and resend it to them all if you haven’t already. A key 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’. Also include keeping to your hours, taking regular breaks, staying in touch with colleagues and sick leave.
- 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 last year our working parents and clients with our very own school holiday cookbook. Get creative with how you can provide support in your online community. Slack or WhatsApp groups can be a quick and effective way to share tips and celebrate wins.
- 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. The only reason these policies and procedures work is if managers walk the talk.