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Navigating a World of Work: Strong Sentiments From 1,350 Employees and Their Expectations From Their Company and Leader

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Michel Falcon and Shane Skillen surveyed 1,350 employees to better understand how they are feeling during COVID-19, what their expectations are and what matters them the most returning to their workplace.

These sentiments have been collected and packaged into a playbook with recommended best practices. Organizations can leverage this document to help design their relaunch efforts to maximize productivity, influence employee engagement and rebuild their company culture.

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Navigating a World of Work: Strong Sentiments From 1,350 Employees and Their Expectations From Their Company and Leader

  1. 1. Navigating a World of Work STRONG SENTIMENTS FROM 1,350 EMPLOYEES AND THEIR EXPECTATIONS FROM THEIR COMPANY AND LEADER
  2. 2. TABLE OF CONTENTS ABOUT THE PLAYBOOK ..................................................................... 3 INTRODUCTION TO FINDINGS AND BEST PRACTICES …………... 4 12 KEY DISCOVERIES …………………………………………………… 5 1) What is your current job status due to covid-19? ………..... 5 2) If you are no longer working, what are your plans for when the economy reopens again? ……………………………. 5 3) If you are unemployed or are underemployed, how much do you want to go back to work?.…..…………………… 7 4) What are you enjoying about being out of work? ………...... 7 5) Top 3 answers to “what are you not liking about being out of work?” ………………………………………………. 8 6) If you return to your former employer, what do you expect to earn? …………………………………………………… 8 7) If returning to your former employer, what are your schedule expectations? ……………………………………. 9 8) [For sales professionals only] after the covid-19 crisis, would you accept a lower base salary and higher commission? ………………………………………. 10 9) What are you expecting in the first 30 days of employment when you go back to work? …………………. 11 10) When you return to work, what do you expect your leader to communicate to you during the first all-hands meeting or town hall? ………………………………………….. 12 11) Would you report your employer to the authorities if there was inadequate social distancing and other regulations? ……………………………………………… 14 12) How has the importance of these things changed for you pre/post Covid-19? ……………………………………. 15 CONCLUSION ………………………………………………………….... 16 @SHANESKILLEN @MICHELFALCON
  3. 3. ABOUT THE PLAYBOOK We set out to create a playbook for organizations in North America to help them reopen their business, influence employee engagement, rebuild their company culture and achieve maximum productivity. In this study, we surveyed 1,350 employees in customer service, sales and marketing departments of small, medium and large-sized organizations across dozens of industries. The data only experienced a 2.67% margin of error 19 times out of 20. SHANE SKILLEN Shane Skillen is the CEO of Hotspex, a market research company working with 15 of the top 20 global advertisers. With offices in Toronto, New York and London, his firm uses technology and behavioral science to drive insights for their clients. @SHANESKILLEN @SHANESKILLEN @MICHELFALCON MICHEL FALCON Michel Falcon is an entrepreneur, company culture, employee engagement and customer experience expert, author and keynote speaker. He has been hired by brands such as McDonald’s Canada, Verizon Wireless, Electronic Arts, Alfa Romeo and other globally recognized brands. @MICHELFALCON
  4. 4. INTRODUCTION TO FINDINGS AND BEST PRACTICES HELPING LEADERS UNDERSTAND HOW TO RELAUNCH THEIR WORKPLACE STRATEGIES. As an employer, you’ll need to depend on your employees more than ever before to relaunch your company successfully. After being declared a pandemic, Covid-19 left employees feeling uncertain and worried. But it also left them with a hint of hope and excitement that they’d be back in the workforce soon enough. As time passed, questions began to percolate. Would employees return to their former employers? What would be the new expectations of their role, salary and schedule? Would employees report the company to authorities if government-imposed regulations were not abided by? What do they want to hear from their leadership team upon returning to the office? These are some of the questions we set out to find answers to. Every company wants to successfully welcome back their team members, rebuild their company culture, achieve productivity and increase the likelihood of a strong reopening. This playbook will help you in these efforts. Along with data-backed research, we are providing you with a list of best practices to help your company overcome any challenges that it may face. We suggest following the action items listed below to attain great results: • Share this report with your management team and discuss each finding. • Create a “task force” team made up of a few key individuals within your company/department who can answer important questions such as, who will do what and by when? • Start considering your reopening plans immediately. • Use different reopening models based on your industry’s government guidelines. @SHANESKILLEN @MICHELFALCON @SHANESKILLEN @MICHELFALCON
  5. 5. When asked how they selected their responses, we heard the following statements: • This country will never be the same after this pandemic. My particular line of work is and will be forever changed and potentially unnecessary.” • “Because the owner of my company promised to keep me.” • “I don’t believe the company will survive this.” Find affordable learning resources on different topics to fulfill your employees’ learning desires. Look into the affordability of subscriptions to digital learning platforms, such as LinkedIn Learning or Masterclass.com. To get a better sense of which employees will return back to your company, send out an anonymous survey to your workforce to gauge their desire to return. This will give you a broad overview to analyze. Furthermore, leverage your management team and peers to have one-on-one conversations with team members within their departments. After conducting both practices, you will have a very good understanding of how to proceed with labour and workforce management forecasting. 12 KEY DISCOVERIES WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT JOB STATUS DUE TO COVID-19? Of the 1,350 respondents, 43.3% had lost their job, experienced reduced hours and pay or were fearful that they would lose their jobs imminently. An interesting finding was that 8.9% of those surveyed were actually working more than they were prior to the pandemic. IF YOU ARE NO LONGER WORKING, WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR WHEN THE ECONOMY REOPENS AGAIN? BEST PRACTICES 48.1% WILL RETURN TO THEIR FORMER EMPLOYER 38.1% FIND A NEW EMPLOYER 17.1% GO BACK TO SCHOOL @SHANESKILLEN @MICHELFALCON
  6. 6. Healthcare: The heroism and job stability displayed during this pandemic is a motivating factor for younger professionals who want to pursue a career in healthcare. IT: Respondents feel that advancing technologies and an increase in a digital-first world will provide higher pay and job stability. Education: Respondents recognize that there is a shift happening in education. The way it is being delivered through this pandemic makes people question the viability of charging students premium pricing and whether this new model will provide a stable career. This is also supported by Scott Galloway, a professor of marketing at the New York University Stern School of Business. Restaurants, bars, food services: The uncertainty of how dining, stadium and event restrictions will impact the guest experience and income potential has raised big concerns for employees in these industries. Retail: Employees in these industries are concerned that mall and retail closures will happen. As a society, we are now more inclined to purchase things online and this is being recognized by frontline employees. Our playbook strongly recommends that you survey your current and furloughed team members immediately to better understand their sentiment towards their industry. Your current team members will likely come back to help support their livelihood, but what type of employee morale and engagement are they returning with? Once you’ve gathered this employee intelligence, critical decisions need to be made. How do you rebuild your team in order to maximize productivity to serve your clients, customers and guests? BEST PRACTICES IT +16% EDUCATION -27% RESTAURANTS, BARS, FOOD SERVICES -35% RETAIL -89% INDUSTRY SENTIMENT We asked all respondents to share which industry they are currently in and which one they aspire to join as they advance in their careers. Based on our findings, we anticipate that healthcare, IT, education, hospitality and retail will be the most affected. HEALTHCARE +8%
  7. 7. To experience a strong resurgence in your company and maximize operations, you need to establish a sense of stability. Employee morale and engagement are the leading factors to finding success. You cannot reopen your business with team members who are unsure of whether they even want to remain with your company or in a particular industry. Our recommended approach is to re-interview every employee within your company and department. This will help you understand the sentiment your team members have towards your company, industry and their role within the organization. Some interview questions to consider asking your returning or new employees include: • Why have you chosen this industry? • Do you see yourself building a career within this industry? • Are there other industries that are attractive to you? If so, which ones? • What are you most excited about in working here for the next 12 months? Based on your findings, ensure that you are creating a team made up of individuals who want to return for the right reasons. Reasons other than a temporary income. When asked how they selected their responses, we heard the following statements: • “I need an income.” • “I recently graduated and want to use my degree.” • “I’m bored.” IF YOU ARE UNEMPLOYED OR ARE UNDEREMPLOYED, HOW MUCH DO YOU WANT TO GO BACK TO WORK? Respondents were encouraged to select multiple topics. Some of the most notable responses included: • More sleep. • More time with family. • More time to exercise. • Less stress. “Very much want to get back to work or work more” BEST PRACTICES WHAT ARE YOU ENJOYING ABOUT BEING OUT OF WORK? 60.1% 19.9% "Somewhat" @SHANESKILLEN @MICHELFALCON
  8. 8. We believe that employees will return to their workplace with a higher priority on work-life balance, as well as both mental and physical health. Our recommendations include: • Do an analysis of the viability of developing a flex work and or four-day work week program. • Provide your team members with access to mental health, wellness and sleep apps like Headspace, Breath, Calm and The 5-Minute Journal. • Partner with local gyms and health clinics to provide remote services, which have proven to be popular during Covid-19. Give your employees and their families access to these programs. The most popular response for enjoying time away from the office was “the feeling of safety and protection from Covid-19”. We found this to be interesting as 60.1% of respondents “very much want to get back to work or work more.” This concludes that the workforce has grown impatient with stay-at-home measures, reduced income or loss of income. After months of career disruption due to Covid-19, they expect to start work with accessibility to PPE and physical distancing efforts. BEST PRACTICES TOP 3 ANSWERS TO “WHAT ARE YOU NOT LIKING ABOUT BEING OUT OF WORK?” NO MONEY BOREDOM SPENDING TOO MUCH TIME WATCHING TV/SCREENS IF YOU RETURN TO YOUR FORMER EMPLOYER, WHAT DO YOU EXPECT TO EARN? I expect to earn more I expect to earn the same I expect to earn less 39% 23.9% 37.1% @SHANESKILLEN @MICHELFALCON
  9. 9. Organizations and industries will experience different customer return rates. According to a recent survey conducted by Deloitte, consumers intend on purchasing from the following categories: BEST PRACTICES APPAREL AND FOOTWEAR -27% We asked respondents to check all that apply and the top 5 responses we received were: IF RETURNING TO YOUR FORMER EMPLOYER, WHAT ARE YOUR SCHEDULE EXPECTATIONS? SAME PAY SAME SCHEDULESAME HOURS SAME SENIORITY PROVISIONS OF PPE TO KEEP ME SAFE ELECTRONICS -17% PUBLIC TRANSIT -60% EVERYDAY HOUSEHOLD GOODS +25% MEDICINES +11% This is a sensitive observation and has a connection to your employees’ morale, income and productivity. The majority of employees expect to return to the same level of pay and working hours they had prior to the pandemic. Customer return rates may have a deep impact on how their expectations will play out. As the employer, it is imperative to be transparent with your employees. Share information openly, such as when you expect customer return rates to increase. Work closely with your team and analyze how your customers may behave in the weeks and months after restrictions have been lifted for your particular industry. Continued on page 10 @SHANESKILLEN @MICHELFALCON GROCERIES +40%
  10. 10. We believe the following: • With proper physical distancing measures in place, hair salons and similar personal service locations will likely experience an immediate upsurge in customers requesting services. • The finance and banking industry may also see a spike in retail traffic. Consumers will feel more comfortable to move about their environments freely and with less fear. • Industries that may have a slower and consistent return to normalcy, include restaurants, bars and food services. Leverage the three use cases below to help you understand how your scheduling and labour costs can be forecasted. Use case #1: a V-shape customer return rate is when customers return to normal or higher rates nearly immediately. Use case #2: a U-shape customer return rate is when customers return at rates 25% less than pre-Covid- 19. Use case #3: a L-shape customer return rate is when customers return at rates 26+% less than pre-Covid- 19. Along with your management team, identify which use case your industry falls into and understand how this will impact your workforce management requirements, sales forecasts and labour percentages. REVENUE PROJECTIONS LABOR COSTS FIXED COSTS V-SHAPED CUSTOMER RETURN RATE U-SHAPED CUSTOMER RETURN RATE L-SHAPED CUSTOMER RETURN RATE [FOR SALES PROFESSIONALS ONLY] AFTER THE COVID-19 CRISIS, WOULD YOU ACCEPT A POSITION WITH A LOWER BASE SALARY AND A HIGHER COMMISSION? “Yes, I would accept that."52% 48% "No, I wouldn’t accept that." @SHANESKILLEN @MICHELFALCON Edit this chart as you see fit for your organization and review this forecast every three months.
  11. 11. If your company employs sales professionals and anticipates to return to U-shape or L-shape customer return rates, explore a compensation package that offers a lower base salary to manage your labour and wage percentage, and supplement it with a higher commissionable salary. This new compensation model is optimal for a company that needs to manage its labour costs. It aligns well with employees who voted “very much want to get back to work or work more”. These employees are enthusiastic about getting back into the workforce and appear to have a high morale. BEST PRACTICES • “To rearrange my office environment.” • “For management to check-in with me regularly to see how I’m doing in and outside of the workplace.” • “I want long-term measures to be put in place to provide the necessary precautions against a possible resurgence of the virus.” • “Provide PPE.” • “Physical distancing, daily sanitizing and disinfecting.” • “I want my employer to focus on onboarding and setting expectations. I want to know what success looks like very clearly, so I can set myself up for it. Financial security is top of mind and I want peace of mind that my finances and professional career are stable throughout the pandemic.” WHAT ARE YOU EXPECTING IN THE FIRST 30 DAYS OF EMPLOYMENT WHEN YOU GO BACK TO WORK? The results of these verbatim responses resoundingly describe a sentiment that revolves around feelings of safety in the workplace. This is not a surprise, as the most popular response to enjoying time away from the office was “the feeling of safety and protection from Covid-19”. Companies of all sizes are encouraged to: • Purchase air purifiers for every 1,000 sq ft of open office space. • Install touchless or automated door openers. • Purchase PPE such as gloves, facemasks, face shields and gowns where necessary. • Supply cleaning and sanitizing products. • Develop physical distancing operating paths. o Banks have done this successfully by limiting the number of clients who can enter their branch. They have visible markers on the ground and have employees navigating traffic. BEST PRACTICES @SHANESKILLEN @MICHELFALCON
  12. 12. • “I hope my leader discusses safe measures the company will take to ease into normalcy.” • “Thank you for coming back.” • “How to be safe and not spread the virus, as well as how to follow new guidelines.” WHEN YOU RETURN TO WORK, WHAT DO YOU EXPECT YOUR LEADER TO COMMUNICATE TO YOU DURING THE FIRST ALL- HANDS MEETING OR TOWN HALL? Most employees who were surveyed responded with answers related to PPE and new regulations. We believe that your employees will fall within one of three categories. BEST PRACTICES LOYALISTS These team members are ones that you should include in your relaunch plan. They believe in your company’s purpose, leadership and see a long-term career within your industry. They will return back to your business with great enthusiasm, high engagement and productivity. STRADDLERS These employees need their spirits lifted. They need to be presented a path to success and will likely need regular one-on-one conversations with managers during onboarding, especially within the first 30 days. DEFECTORS These employees have already decided that they will not be returning to your organization. They will pursue another career, join another organization or go back to school. All leaders, from all industries and sizes of companies, need to create a communication plan to disseminate to their teams. This will impact morale, reignite company culture and influence productivity. This is critical to reopening your company as smoothly as possible. No one wants to be led by a pessimist and a high level of communication instills confidence and optimism. Speak openly about how finding solutions to turbulent events creates growth and opportunity in one’s career. As Franklin D. Roosevelt said, " A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.” @SHANESKILLEN @MICHELFALCON
  13. 13. 5-STAR RELAUNCH COMMUNICATION PLAN • The Leaders Role ⚬ A sincere welcome back message and gesture. ⚬ What decisions did the company make and why? ⚬ How are you, the leader, feeling? What are you grappling with? Your team members will appreciate the candor and it will inspire them to get in touch with their own feelings. • Financial ⚬ What is the financial position of the company? We recommend speaking to this because employees will need transparency in order to feel secure. ⚬ Which government loans did your organization apply for and receive? Which were you declined for? You don’t want your team members thinking, “Why aren’t they bringing us all back? The government is providing loans.” • About Them ⚬ Speak directly to how your relaunch efforts will impact their career. ⚬ Discuss pay, schedule and seniority. ⚬ Share how this may affect their training and development opportunities in the near-future. • Future Outlook ⚬ Describe what you believe the next 12-24 months will look like for the business and industry. ⚬ In easy-to-understand terms, share new KPIs and forecasts. ⚬ Present a plan to achieve these new goals and share what you believe each department needs to do to achieve these targets. • Q&A ⚬ We recommend asking your employees to submit questions beforehand while also fielding questions without being briefed. Within this communication plan, which can be done in-person with appropriate physical distancing in place or even done virtually, we suggest speaking to a minimum of five topics to preemptively answer questions your returning employees may have. 36.2% 20.5% 20.9% 22.4% @SHANESKILLEN @MICHELFALCON
  14. 14. WOULD YOU REPORT YOUR EMPLOYER TO THE AUTHORITIES IF THERE WAS INADEQUATE SOCIAL DISTANCING AND OTHER REGULATIONS? Definetly not Maybe Probably Yes, definetly 36.2% 20.5% 20.9% 22.4% Strictly following government guidelines and providing clear channels of communication for your employees to share their feedback is imperative to instill a company culture of trust and safety. Ensuring that you adhere to regulations will limit the likelihood that your company becomes a negative case study for reopening and within the media. BEST PRACTICES @SHANESKILLEN @MICHELFALCON
  15. 15. HOW HAS THE IMPORTANCE OF THESE THINGS CHANGED FOR YOU PRE/POST COVID-19 PROVISION OF HAND SANITIZER STATIONS THROUGHOUT THE WORKPLACE MUCH MORE IMPORTANT TO ME THE SAME MUCH LESS SAVING IN GENERAL SOCIAL DISTANCING WHILE ON PREMISES DOORS THAT OPEN THAT YOU DON'T NEED TO TOUCH HOW AIR FLOWS AROUND YOUR WORKPLACE HEALTH BENEFITS ABILITY TO WORK REMOTELY SAVING FOR RETIREMENT WORK LIFE BALANCE PLEXIGLASS BETWEEN WORKSTATIONS/SEATING A PENSION VARIABLE COMPENSATION BEING FRIENDS WITH CO- WORKERS VACATION TIME A LUNCH AREA TO EAT IN ASSIGNED SEATING EMPLOYEE PARKING MEALS WITH CO-WORKERS 62% 29% 5% 57% 36% 7% 54% 32% 9% 51% 34% 9% 50% 44% 6% 49% 36% 8% 48% 39% 8% 45% 36% 8% 43% 33% 10% 43% 46% 7% 35% 45% 9% 34% 42% 9% 31% 48% 15% 26% 48% 17% 25% 37% 17% 24% 44% 19% 23% 41% 23% 20% 49% 16% The employees who left your organization aren’t necessarily the same ones that are returning. Priority in regards to their career, workplace and safety have changed noticeably as represented in the chart below. Review this document closely and identify the top three categories that you believe you can positively impact within a 30-90 day period. These efforts will not go unnoticed and will have a direct correlation to your employee’s performance. BEST PRACTICES @SHANESKILLEN @MICHELFALCON
  16. 16. CONCLUSION @SHANESKILLEN @MICHELFALCON Ensuring that our team members return with high employee engagement and are able to operate within a safe environment will be imperative to rebuilding our company culture. These efforts will increase the probability that our businesses rebound with minimal disruption in order to serve our customers and generate the required revenue to operate until we return to normal capacities. All businesses will need to find a balance between building employee- facing strategies for today, planning for short and medium-term operational outcomes while also managing new customer experiences. Following the best practices in this playbook will help build a refined foundation for your organization. For media and podcast appearances contact michel@michelfalcon.com and shane.skillen@hotspex.com. For Michel Falcon to host virtual team webinars for your company contact theresabeenken@nsb.com (CEO, National Speakers Bureau & Global Speakers). MEDIA AND VIRTUAL PRESENTATIONS
  • maverick77

    May. 22, 2020
  • RossShafer

    May. 21, 2020
  • MarcelaDeBrito

    May. 19, 2020
  • MichelFalcon85

    May. 17, 2020
  • SophieStephenson7

    May. 17, 2020

Michel Falcon and Shane Skillen surveyed 1,350 employees to better understand how they are feeling during COVID-19, what their expectations are and what matters them the most returning to their workplace. These sentiments have been collected and packaged into a playbook with recommended best practices. Organizations can leverage this document to help design their relaunch efforts to maximize productivity, influence employee engagement and rebuild their company culture.

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