Employees Increasingly Say They Want a Voice in Return to Workplace Decisions, Are More Productive

Arlington, Va., September 16, 2020 – New national polling of the U.S. workforce finds the vast majority of employees remain skeptical that their companies can successfully manage through the ongoing pandemic. Research from Eagle Hill Consulting finds there continues to be low trust in leaders and managers to navigate the COVID-19 crisis (30 percent), similar to the March 2020 sentiment (32 percent).

Additionally, few (22 percent) believe their organization has a culture that fosters employee innovation and collaboration to deal with a crisis, as compared to 24 percent in the early days of the pandemic. Only about one-third (36 percent) believe their company has the resilience to withstand the pandemic, similar to the low level of confidence in March 2020 (35 percent).

As the crisis lingers, the research finds some areas of improvement. Employees are feeling more productive – up to 37 percent from 27 percent in April 2020. And nearly half of workers (46 percent) say they are increasingly attentive to customer needs, up from 37 percent. Connections to fellow employees is improving, up to 29 percent from 20 percent four months ago.

These findings are contained in the 2020 Eagle Hill Consulting Trended COVID-19 Employee Survey. This survey of U.S. employees has been fielded throughout the pandemic, with the first conducted from March 17-19, 2020, and the most recent conducted from August 13-17, 2020.

“This sustained low level of confidence in organizational leadership, resilience and culture is deeply worrisome,” said Melissa Jezior, president and chief executive officer of Eagle Hill Consulting. “The pandemic and its impacts aren’t going away anytime soon. Employers must find an approach that builds confidence in their workforce and shifts their culture if they hope to emerge intact on the other side of the pandemic. It is encouraging to see, however, that employees are finding ways to overcome the challenges of the pandemic – they are feeling more productive and connected as virtual work for many continues.”

“Another critical area for employers will be engaging employees on what returning to the workplace looks like. We found employees increasingly want a voice in the parameters around staying safe, and more workers want working from the office to remain an option. If employers don’t get this right, morale and productivity could take a big hit,” Jezior said.

As part of the research, Eagle Hill surveyed employees on what employers could do to make them feel safe in terms of returning to their workplace. The trended polling found that employees increasingly want to see temperature checks, a voice in decisions, returning to the workplace as optional, and more support.

  • Forty-two percent say take employee temperatures, up from 32 percent in April.
  • Forty-one percent say give employees a voice into ‘going back to work’ strategies and decisions, up from 31 percent in April.
  • Thirty-eight percent say make coming back to physical locations optional, up from 28 percent four months ago.
  • Thirty-five percent say provide relevant support and guidance based on employee risk profiles, up from 25 percent.

Other feeling safe factors in the workplace factors that have stayed stable since the early days of the pandemic are as follows:

  • Fifty-nine percent said provide hand-sanitizer, masks and gloves.
  • Fifty-eight percent said mandate that employees with any symptoms stay at home.
  • More than half (53 percent) said make COVID-19 testing available to employees.
  • Half (51 percent) said limit the number of people (e.g., employees/visitors) allowed in the physical workplace at any given time.
  • Forty-nine percent said require physical distancing in workplace design.
  • Forty-six percent said implement flexible sick leave and supportive policies and practices.

Additional findings of the 2020 Eagle Hill Consulting Trended COVID-19 Employee Survey are as follows:

  • Less than half (40 percent) believe their organization is proactive about addressing concerns for the health of their workforce.
  • Only about one-third (34 percent) say their company is proactive about addressing concerns for the economic health of their organization.
  • Employers are providing fewer updates to employees, down to 43 percent from a high of 55 percent in early April.
  • A majority of employees are burnt out (58 percent), up from 45 percent in the early days of the pandemic.

Review a timeline of U.S. workforce sentiment about the COVID-19 pandemic. Read about how employers can bounce forward and emerge stronger from the pandemic.

The 2020 Eagle Hill Consulting Trended COVID-19 Employee Survey was conducted online by Ipsos on March 17-19, 2020; March 31-April 2, 2020; April 8-10, 2020; April 14-16, 2020; April 28-30, 2020; May 12-14, 2020; May 14-18, 2020; June 11-15, 2020; July 9 –13, 2020; and August 13-17, 2020. Each online survey included more than 1000 respondents from a random sample of employees across the United States. The survey polled respondents on COVID-19 and its potential impact on their work experience and environment.

Eagle Hill Consulting LLC is a woman-owned business that provides unconventional management consulting services in the areas of Strategy & Performance, Talent, and Change. The company’s expertise in delivering innovative solutions to unique challenges spans across the private, public, and nonprofit sectors, from financial services to healthcare to media & entertainment. Eagle Hill has offices in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, Boston, MA and Seattle, WA. More information is available at www.eaglehillconsulting.com.

Media Contact:
Susan Nealon | 703.229.8600 | snealon@eaglehillconsulting.com | @WeAreEagleHill