With businesses across the UK continuing to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, we bring you some top tips on how to keep your employees engaged and your business moving.

“Take care of your employees and they will take care of your business, it’s as simple as that.”
Richard Branson

The current pandemic and ever-changing guidance on how we keep the population safe has had knock-on effects for business across the UK. Plenty of measures are beyond the control of business owners but there are some things they can still control – and one of those is keeping their employees engaged.

Keeping your employees engaged is a vital part of running any business, but it is especially important in this pandemic. Whether working from home or still going into a place of work, we will all have noticed the absence or decline of those all-important, day to day, face to face interactions. These ‘water cooler moments’ not only fulfil our necessity as humans for social interaction, but they’re often the catalyst for some of the best creative thinking.

Here at Ultimate Finance, our people are our most important asset and a key part of our strategy is rooted in our People Promise, to make Ultimate Finance a rewarding and progressive place to work. It’s something we work hard at and it’s a big factor when it comes to making decisions. That and making sure we listen to and action the feedback that comes in makes for a high level of engagement amongst our employees.

So, how have we kept our people engaged throughout the Coronavirus pandemic? Here are our top tips for keeping your employees engaged:

  1. Be human

In some respects, Coronavirus has been a real leveller – at times it has put people from different backgrounds and circumstances in the same boat. Within a business, this can have the effect of bringing everyone closer together. It’s key to keep communicating to develop this, but keep your communications ‘human’ – look at things from a people perspective and speak to them on a human level, in a tone of voice that says, “we’re all in this together!”

  1. Build trust

Back before we’d even heard of Coronavirus, one of our priorities when it came to internal communications was building on the trust employees had for our business. Being open and authentic is key, without it, you’ll never build the level of trust that’s so essential to really engaging with your employees. Once that trust is there, that’s when you’ll really start to see open and honest feedback come in from your people.

  1. Keep communicating

This is a tricky one and it’s easier said than done. It’s important to find the right balance in terms of how much and how often you communicate with your employees, but make sure you take the time to stay in touch. There’s a mountain of information available out there, but you don’t want your employees to become overwhelmed or dismissive – pick your key messages and make sure they land well. Don’t be afraid to mix up your communication channels either: email, video, all-hands call and internal social networks all have an important role to play.

  1. Feedback is key

The only way to really know whether your employees are engaged is to simply ask them. Employee feedback is crucial to any business and if you don’t already do so, you should put a regular mechanism in place for employees to provide genuine feedback. It’s then important to close that feedback loop by demonstrating that you’ve heard, sharing the results and how you’re going to action this feedback – even if the answer is ‘no’.

 

  1. Wellbeing and Mental Health

Never has mental health been more important – this goes for life in general, not just business. Put simply, engaged employees feel supported when it comes to their mental wellbeing, so make mental health a part of your internal conversation and remove any stigma associated with it. It’s then important to provide support for employees who need it. You could consider training someone up as a Mental Health First-Aider, starting an Employee Assistance Programme or making use of the excellent free support provided by charities such as MIND.

In these challenging times, people want solidity, and they want reassurance. As a business owner, this is something you can do for your employees – show them you’re a business that cares and they’ll reward that not just with loyalty, but often by going above and beyond. That’s what we’ve found, and we couldn’t be prouder of our people because of it!