How To Rebuild a Feeling of Workplace Certainty After COVID
The COVID-19 pandemic has left many employees with a distinct lack of certainty in their lives and their workplace. Ezra discusses how managers and leaders can help to rebuild a sense of trust between you and your team.
Workplace certainty is about having peace of mind in the workplace. It’s about believing in your employer and trusting in their ability to continue providing you job security, but also to give you opportunities to advance your career in the future when appropriate. If you fail to provide this kind of certainty to your employees, then it will lead to them leaving your workplace in search of more security and potential for growth.
Unfortunately, between the COVID-19 lockdowns, country-wide layoffs, and general bad management practices, it’s becoming harder than ever to establish a sense of workplace certainty. In April 2020 alone, 79% of unemployed workers reported that they were on a temporary layoff. This is a staggering number of people and there’s a good chance that many of them will never return to full-time employment even after the pandemic is over. With all of these factors in mind, it’s no wonder that businesses are struggling to rebuild a feeling of workplace certainty.
But there are ways to establish a stronger sense of workplace certainty. A study by TINYpulse revealed that career advancement is one of the best ways to retain talent in your company. Around 70% of high-retention-risk employees commented saying that they’ll be forced to leave their organization in order to advance their careers. Other factors that were mentioned included learning, training opportunities, growth, and potential. But what exactly does this mean in terms of workplace certainty? And is it really as important as these statistics show?
Effects on a business
If workplace certainty is about having faith in your employer, then a lack of it would mean having no trust in business managers. This is a clear problem that has to be dealt with immediately. When employees stop trusting in senior members of staff, it can trigger a wide variety of different issues that ultimately lead to a less productive business and even employees leaving the company.
In fact, only around 50% of workers feel that they’re in good jobs. A lack of job satisfaction is often cited as one of the main reasons why employees will leave a company in the first place. But what causes them to leave? What are the exact factors that lead to them making a drastic decision like this?
If we relate a lack of workplace certainty to employees leaving, then we can extrapolate a few related causes.
Inc.com reports that 79% of employees quit because they’re not appreciated. This is closely related to workplace certainty. If an employee isn’t feeling appreciated, then it means that their talents aren’t being recognised and their skills aren’t being used to the fullest. This makes employees feel disconnected from the workplace and that their existence is just a statistic or number. It gives them no confidence that they’ll have a future in the workplace. Instead, they’ll lack a feeling of certainty in the workplace and won’t have peace of mind.
But this isn’t the only worrying piece of data to keep in mind.
In a separate study, it was revealed that around 83% of workers face stressful situations on a regular basis due to their workplace. The top six cited reasons for workplace stress were the following:
- Annoying coworkers – 11%
- Long or tiring commutes – 11%
- Working in a job that isn’t related to their degree or chosen career – 8%
- Poor work-life balance – 7%
- Lack of opportunity for advancement and promotion – 6%
- Fear of being fired or laid off – 4%
Among all of these cited reasons, the majority of them are related to a lack of workplace certainty. For example, 4% of respondents mentioned a fear of being fired or laid off as a cause for workplace stress. This is likely because they have no workplace certainty. They feel like they are easily replaced and they don’t feel like they’re an integral part of the team.
Similarly, 8% said that they were working in a job that isn’t related to what they want to do in life. Workplace certainty should give your team opportunities for advancement and to chase what they want to do. If they’re not given these opportunities, then it will cause a lot of stress because they’re stuck doing something they don’t want to for a long period of time.
So a lack of certainty in the workplace and stress are closely related. If an employee doesn’t feel like they have a safe and secure future working for you, then they’re going to look for other opportunities. This can quickly spiral out of control and employees will start leaving one by one to look for greener pastures.
So what exactly can you do to rebuild a feeling of workplace certainty?
- Statistics show that employees who feel they get to use their abilities and strengths are 15% less likely to quit their job. Workplace certainty here means being able to establish a sense of purpose so that you feel like a part of the time. It also helps if you show that you appreciate your staff.
- By offering more promotion and advancement opportunities, you create an atmosphere that encourages staff to stick with your business for longer because they have more chances to advance. This can greatly improve your workplace certainty because you’re giving your staff a path to advance through.
- Job flexibility is also another key consideration. 82% of employees said they’d be more loyal and less likely to leave if they had more flexible jobs. By offering opportunities to work from home, you can develop a stronger sense of workplace certainty to retain employees.
These are just a couple of suggestions on how you can rebuild workplace certainty. It’s all about being able to show your employees that you plan to keep them for a long time and that you appreciate their efforts. This helps them establish a sense of purpose which is incredibly important through these uncertain and unpredictable times.
Building a “certain” workplace
By having an objective outside opinion of how you run your business, introducing tools such as leadership coaching to your organization can identify the issues that your team is facing and help you to come up with a suitable solution that establishes a stronger sense of trust between you and your staff. While we’re still going to be living with the COVID-19 pandemic for a bit longer, it’s time we start focusing on how we can rebuild a sense of workplace certainty to give employees more stability and reduce their ambient stress, for both wellbeing and business productivity. And of course you can even do this while keeping social distance, thanks to modern solutions such as Ezra’s own coaching app.