Sustaining Employee Engagement During COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, workers have felt the toll of ongoing restrictions and a seemingly unending hiatus to life as we knew it. What was assumed at the beginning of 2020 to be a momentary pause to day to day life has become an uphill battle that continues to stretch in front of us. While workers have struggled in many ways to adapt to this new working environment, perhaps the biggest challenge has been maintaining high levels of employee engagement.

As a small business owner, identifying when your workers seem disengaged or disinterested is crucial to raising staff morale and creating an overall positive working environment at your service station. If you’re wondering how to keep your team’s attention, a few key practices can make a big difference as we continue to navigate this uncertain time.

Lead With Empathy

If COVID-19 has emphasised anything for business owners, it’s that leading with empathy is essential. The pandemic has created significant hardships not only for the physical health of many, but has taken its toll on global mental health as well. Feelings of hopelessness, disinterest, and anxiety have become prevalent among workers in the last year. Many of these feelings contribute directly to disengaged behavior in the workplace.

Taking the time to listen to your staff and hear their complaints, concerns, and feelings is critical in order to send a message of mutual care and respect. The more validated and heard an employee feels, the more likely they are to remain engaged on the job.

Lead By Example

If you observe a lack in engagement from your team, it can feel tempting to pull back as well. However, the opposite is likely needed. Continuing to invest in your staff shows them that they are valued. In turn, this helps to boost morale and keep employees motivated.

The less invested your staff feels you are in your petrol station, the less motivated they’re likely to be to meet high workplace standards. Now more than ever, leading by example is critical to retaining employee engagement throughout whatever may come.

Make Time To Connect

For many of us, this pandemic has increased feelings of loneliness and isolation, not only in our personal lives, but our professional lives as well. The more isolation workers feel, the less likely they are to make their best efforts to stay engaged. This is why making direct efforts to keep connected to your staff is in the best interest of not only their wellbeing, but their productivity as well.

Take the time to reach out to employees. Hear their thoughts and suggestions, and catch up with them about more than just on the job concerns. Real connection takes effort, and many times it is on business owners to begin the habit of reaching out.

Express Appreciation

Global pandemic or not, it’s always important not to let good work fly under the radar. Rewarding high workplace engagement and performance is important to maintain it. Your staff should never feel as though what they do goes unnoticed.

From customer service, to cleaning, to forecourt and tank maintenance, your petrol station would be unsuccessful without the great work of your team. Expressing your appreciation regularly lets your staff know that their day to day investment in your business truly matters.

Keep Work Interesting

If day to day operations at your petrol station have slowed since the beginning of the pandemic, it may be easy for team members to feel bored or inactive during shifts. Part of what supports a healthy, fulfilling work environment is ensuring that employees know what is expected of them, and are satisfied with their workload.

If aspects of customer service have fallen off as a result of COVID-19 restrictions, it’s important to ensure that a replacement for this time has been integrated. Provide task variety for employees, and allow them to make suggestions as to what kind of daily work items they feel could boost interest in their positions. Allowing your workers to tailor their daily tasks to their strengths will help keep them happy and engaged as other areas of the job continue to be limited by the pandemic.

Overall, many things have become more difficult as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. When it comes to small businesses such as petrol stations, maintaining workplace morale and engagement is a present concern. While this disengagement may be seen in your staff, it’s on owners to make the first changes to ensure that the workplace is fostering job satisfaction. By following a few simple guidelines, you can help ensure your team doesn’t lose focus as the year goes on.

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