Keep Employees Productive During a Challenging Time
There’s no disputing that 2020 and 2021 have been especially challenging. Life during a pandemic has been emotionally draining and physically isolating. Some people have experienced anxiety and they’re experiencing new anxiety as restrictions are eased and the world begins to open up. Layer work on top of all of this and it’s not surprising that productivity may be negatively affected. So as a business owner, what can you do to help keep your employees productive during such an unprecedented time?
Support them with Employee Benefits
Your employees will have a hard time focusing and being productive if they are grappling with physical or mental ailments. As a business owner, one of the most important ways you can help keep your employees productive is to support them with employee benefits. Having the tools to address the issues they are facing can have a very real impact on productivity. An employee benefits plan has those tools.
Employee and Family Assistance Program
An Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) acts as a support service for employees who are dealing with stressful situations or personal issues. Confidential, free, short term counselling is the foundation of an employee and family assistance program. Available 24/7, with various ways to access counselling, support and assessments, the employee and family assistance program provides comprehensive support.
In addition to telephone, video and in-person counselling options, online resources are also available. Online resources typically include articles, podcasts, videos, toolkits and more. Topics address common personal issues as well as issues related to current events (such as the COVID-19 pandemic). Examples of other topics addressed range from marital support, childrearing and supporting elderly parents to finance, grief, stress and anxiety issues. This type of program helps remove the barriers that can often discourage a person from getting help when they need it.
Studies are clear that employees who are experiencing stress, depression and other mental health issues are less productive and absent more often. Providing support to help address these issues is a win/win: it helps employees feel better and it increases productivity in the workplace.
Extended Health Benefits
Extended health benefits are an important way to support the physical health of employees. Benefits such as prescription drug coverage mean employees who are prescribed prescription medication are more likely to actually take the medication. Without coverage, some employees may choose not to fill their prescriptions, leaving health issues untreated. Untreated health conditions can lead to more health conditions and an overall decrease in productivity.
Other extended health benefits such as coverage for paramedical services are also an important way to keep employees productive. Registered massage therapy, chiropractic treatments and physiotherapy can help address physical discomfort and reduce stress. Coverage means employees may actually get the help they need, so they can focus on their work.
Focus on Employee Engagement
One of the most important ways to keep employees productive is to keep them engaged in the workplace. Employees who feel connected to the workplace are happier to be at work, more focused and more productive. This is especially important during a pandemic when many people are working remotely. There are a number of ways to promote employee engagement, and most are inexpensive.
- Recognize – Let employees know that you see them and appreciate what they’re doing. Recognition doesn’t have to mean monetary rewards – it can be as simple as thanking an employee for their hard work on a project. Or celebrating years of service with cake. Or profiling the accomplishments of the team on a corporate intranet or company website or social media feed. The simple act of being recognized can go a long way.
- Communicate – Keep an open line of communication with your employees. Try to convey to them the “big picture” for your company and how their work is contributing to it. Communicate with them about their employee benefits so they know what support is available and why it’s important to get the support they need.
- Listen – Take the time to listen to what your employees are telling you. It can take a lot of courage for an employee to speak up about the workplace or the company – don’t brush it off. Solicit feedback and evaluate suggestions – employees who feel like they are heard are a lot more engaged in the workplace.
- Build a team – If you want your employees to feel engaged in the workplace, they need to feel like they’re part of a team. Host events (virtual or in person when possible) to help employees connect and have fun together. Lunchtime celebrations for birthdays, after work running clubs or friendly team competitions are just a few ways to foster a team environment. Every workplace is different – what’s important is to find ways to make everyone feel like they belong. This increases productivity because employees want to do their best to help their team.
Promote Goal Setting
Much research has been done regarding employee productivity and goal setting. It turns out, having high, hard goals with a specific plan on how to achieve them can have a very real impact on productivity. If you’re not already doing so, consider including goal setting as a component of performance reviews. This way every employee will have specific, measurable goals to guide their performance.
Good Advice is Key
Do you have the right employee benefits to help keep your employees productive? Do your employees have tools, information and support to get the help they need? Review your options with one of our licensed advisors on the phone, or contact us for a comparison quote.