As COVID-19 lingers, workers have mixed views on employers’ response to the pandemic, new Eagle Hill Consulting research finds

Employee confidence in organizational leadership drops; fewer say organizations have the resilience and culture to navigate through the crisis
Most employees say employers have improved flexibility and remote work in response to COVID-19

Arlington, Va., February 3, 2022  A new national survey of working Americans gives a mixed report card for how employers are navigating through COVID-19 as the pandemic enters its third year. On one hand, employees say employers have made substantial improvements when it comes to flexibility (66 percent) and remote work (57 percent). Yet, employee confidence in their organization’s leadership and culture have dropped since the early days of the pandemic. 

This new Eagle Hill Consulting national survey finds that only 29 percent of U.S. employees say that their organization has trusted leaders and managers to navigate the COVID-19 crisis, down from 32 percent in 2020. Few workers (20 percent) say that their organization has a culture that fosters innovation and collaboration to deal with this global pandemic, down from 24 percent in 2020. 

This workforce sentiment comes as the country continues to battle Omicron variants, and as employers continue to face acute labor shortages due to factors like the Great Resignation and employees out sick or facing long COVID

The 2022 Eagle Hill Consulting COVID-19 Workplace Survey measures employee sentiment on a multitude of pandemic issues and was conducted by Ipsos in January 2022 among 1001 employees across the U.S. It follows the 2020 Eagle Hill Consulting COVID-19 Workplace Impact Survey conducted by Ipsos in March 2020 that included 1,032 U.S. employees. 

“The pandemic forced employers to pivot their business and workforce strategies almost overnight, and some of those changes are resonating well with employees,” says Melissa JeziorEagle Hill Consulting president and chief executive officer. “For example, employees long have been advocating for more flexibility and remote work, and the pandemic forced the issue for employers.”

“But even with some improvements, employees still have low confidence in organizational leadership and culture,” Jezior said. “These are difficult issues to address, without quick fixes, and they require rebuilding trust and improving employee engagement. Employers are wise to build on the positive changes implemented during the pandemic to set the stage for addressing any trust, confidence, leadership and culture concerns across an organization.” 

When asked about employer improvements in response to the pandemic, employees reported the following:

  • Sixty-six percent say employee flexibility and has improved, with Gen Xers agreeing at a higher level (70 percent).
  • More than half (57 percent) say that remote work has improved, and this sentiment is higher among Gen X (62 percent). 
  • Fifty-two percent agree that efficiency has realized improvements.
  • Half (50 percent) say there have been improvements in innovation and productivity.
  • Less than half (47 percent) have seen revenue improvements.
  • Forty-six percent agree that employee satisfaction has improved.
  • Less than half (42 percent) agree that there have improvements to the organization’s culture, with this sentiment lowest among Baby Boomers (38 percent).

The research also finds: 

  • Less than one-quarter (20 percent) say their organization has a culture that fosters employee innovation and collaboration to deal with a crisis, down from 24 percent in 2020.
  • Only 29 percent of employees say they have trusted leaders and managers to navigate a crisis, down from 32 percent in 2020. 
  • Forty-six percent say their organizations were quick to make changes to changing realities, about the same as in 2020 (45 percent). 
  • Twenty-eight percent say their organization is proactive about addressing concerns about the economic health of the organization, down from 31 percent in 2020. 
  • About one-third of workers say their organization has the resilience to withstand this crisis, down from 35 percent in 2020. 
  • Few organizations (21 percent) are providing customers with regular updates, but 42 percent are providing employees with updates, down from 27 percent and 50 percent, respectively, in 2020. 

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