Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, I have been watching the gradual downhill slide of workforce engagement across all industries and sectors. This change in the workforce is palpable and is not one that has been beneficial to employers or employees. What has happened to cause this season of discontentment?

2020 left management teams and HR professionals scrambling to keep up with the everchanging recommended and required health and safety requirements. Employees and their families suddenly had the added stress of school closings, daycare challenges and living in isolation. Add to that the general stress of the daily news, controversy over masks, testing, vaccines and more, it is no wonder we are now sitting in what some call a “mental health crisis.”

2021 has brought new challenges with employers struggling to recruit and retain qualified employees. Employees are feeling pressure by mounting workloads and increased hours, and what I will call “pandemic fatigue” as even more news of another wave is reported.

In this writer’s opinion, there are two areas that employers must begin to examine to stop your workforce from becoming stagnant and come out strong in a post-pandemic economy.

  1. Succession planning. Succession planning is not just for your management group but your entire organization. Baby Boomers are making their exit plans. Close tothirty million baby boomers retired in the third quarter of 2020 according to a recent Pew Research Center analysis. According to statistics from AARP, 10,000 Baby Boomers are reaching retirement age each day. Do you have a way to capture that tribal knowledge? 
  2. Workforce engagement. Do you have a plan to not only recruit but to engage your workforce and ensure they are not only healthy and safe at work, but happy and engaged? Lack of engagement impacts the bottom line by increased absenteeism, inferior quality, lack of focus, slower production, and boredom. Much of this is caused by lack of effective communication.

These two issues are not projects to put on the back burner until next year but should be at the top of your workforce strategic planning list. Get your workforce engaged. Identify high-impact low-cost programs and bring some FUN back into the workplace.

Written by Blog Contributor: Pamela Watkins