In pandemic, concern for employees leaves lasting impact

The way organizations treated their employees in the first five weeks of the 2020 pandemic will likely have an impact on their brand for the next five years. And this, in turn, will affect everything from productivity and turnover to customer retention and recruiting.

In a pandemic concerns

Moving forward, the frequent questions from job candidates will be, “What happened to your organization during the pandemic?” And, “How did you take care of your employees, and what did you do to support them?” No doubt, a people-first culture will continue to pay dividends for organizations that took this approach before – and during – the crisis.

There are two ways to think about brand. There’s your external brand, the one we show to clients, potential customers, prospective employees. And there’s your internal brand that relies on the employee experience.

The tide has turned for consumers. When consumers seek out a product or service, they’re not only interested in what you’re selling, they’re also interested in the ethos of your organization. They are seeking transparency and openness. They’re buying your organization’s mission, vision, and values too. So, how do you sell that? Focus on employees first.

A lot happens when you take a people-first focus. Research has shown that when employee engagement improves, your bottom line improves too. That’s because people-centered Top Workplaces are more productive, attract the right talent, and have employees who want to stick around. This leads to better revenue, happier customers, and, in the case of public companies, improved market performance.

Organizational performance is driven by people. People are driven by emotions that are a direct result of their experiences. Your culture is the sum total of those emotions and experiences.

“The bottom line on this crisis is an important lesson in business: When the company takes care of its people, the people take care of the company,” said Josh Bersin, a human resources industry analyst.

Lisa Burke is a workplace improvement expert at Energage, a Philadelphia-based research and consulting firm that surveyed more than 2 million employees at more than 7,000 organizations in 2019. Energage is The Washington Post’s research partner for Top Workplaces.

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