Pandemic Stress and Employee Disengagement

Pandemic Stress and Employee Disengagement
May 31, 2020
Author: Amir Baddour
Source: Rasd

The coronavirus pandemic has affected every part of our society and is challenging our social nature through the adoption of distancing measures. It has profoundly altered the way people work and communicate within an organizational context.

According to a study published by Harvard Business Review, 38% of workers said they became frustrated and disengaged due to anxiety caused by the introduction of new processes. The same study showed that 71% of executives rank employee engagement as ‘very important’ to achieving organizational success.

As professionals adjust to new ways of working and grapple with stress and anxiety, employers ought to recognize the risks that work-related stress can pose on employee mental health and engagement.

The “New normal”

About 1 of every 4 company posts on LinkedIn mentions the COVID-19. Similar content on LinkedIn had below average engagement numbers in January 2020 but steadily increased as the virus spread, and social distancing measures were adopted. By April, company posts had above average engagement across the world with 30% more engagement vis-à-vis other category posts. In specific parts of the world like in the Asia-Pacific region, “work from home” (WFH) posts experienced a 165% increase in engagement compared to other posts.

This is a mere reflection of the “new normal” and how it will likely compel organizations across the globe to adapt their employer branding and communication approaches.

 Rasd Leadership Consulting

As we look to the future with the recognition that innovation is the only way forward to adapt to this new normal, it is important to recognize that innovation is the fruit of continuous collaboration. It cannot be achieved without a motivated and engaged team.

“Turned on people figure out how to beat the competition. Turned off people only complain about being beaten by the competition” – Ben Simonton.

Until there is a definitive remedy for the coronavirus, leaders will need to understand what their employees are going through, identify how they are impacted, and learn about what gives them hope.

Here are some of the tools that Leaders and HR Executives can utilize to set their priorities moving forward in line with the needs of their workforce:

  • Pandemic Experiences & Perceptions Survey

This survey measures employees’ experiences working during a pandemic, the extent of workflow disruption, the extent to which employees felt at risk, the impact on work life balance, employee perception of immediate and overall leadership, what would help employees and what gives them hope.

  • Maslach Burnout Inventory

This tool measures individual work-related stress as defined by the world health organization (WHO). It has versions that are adapted specifically to front-liners within the healthcare industry sectors.

Bringing it all together

With potential implications for employees’ health, well-being, and work engagement, leaders with a better understanding of the psychological perspectives of this “new normal” are more likely to anticipate issues and manage their workforce accordingly throughout this difficult period. Every person and organization will be affected differently and while no person can predict how long our current situation will last, one thing remains certain; maintaining people’s engagement is a key part of recovery.

“To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.” – Doug Conant, CEO of Campbell’s Soup

To learn more about Rasd Leadership Consulting and our innovative approach to assessments, please send your queries to

Sources: LinkedIn, Harvard Business Review, HRD Connect