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Article | EX Insights

Survey best practice: The employee experience during COVID-19

By Angela Paul | May 18, 2020

Read our latest research findings on how COVID-19 is affecting businesses worldwide.
Risque de pandémie

How does a leader know what to expect from workers in these extremely unusual times?

We have gathered key insights from 100,000 employees responding to our COVID-19 Pulse Survey, enabling us to identify not only how employees are feeling, but also to provide advice leaders can apply now to better support employees and reduce worries, distractions, and financial concerns.

To all those leaders who have already made the effort to listen to their employees, you are highly appreciated!

On average, over 90% of employees say they have confidence in their leaders to protect their health and wellbeing or that they are receiving the support they need at this time.

What have we learned so far?

It won't be a surprise to hear us validate the assumption that large majorities of employees are experiencing some level of general anxiety (92%), distractions from work (70%), and/or financial worries (61%). Approximately three-quarters (76%) of our respondents have shifted to a work-from-home arrangement but less than one-third (just 32%) agree fully that they are managing to balance work and other responsibilities during this time.

But what can a leader actually do about all of this worry?

Our research tells us that employees who are feeling distracted at work will benefit from more clarity in work objectives and from stronger connections with their colleagues. These are tactics that line managers can apply today to better support their employees' efforts.

Rates of high-to-moderate work distraction run about 60% among those unable to lean on strong team connections.

Those with financial worries will appreciate having the tools and resources (especially technology) they need to contribute most effectively, and they will appreciate knowing from their business leaders what the company is doing to manage through the challenges of these times.

Employees experiencing more anxiety, or an inability to cope, will appreciate knowing leaders understand their situation and are taking steps to protect their health and wellbeing.

Our research also shows that less than half of employees (just 47%) agree fully that they know how to apply company benefits to coronavirus care. By improving benefits communications and supporting employees to more easily access and use benefits, HR leaders can better support employee coping strategies during this global health crisis.

So, while this is far from a one-size-fits-all experience, employer efforts in these key areas, driven by line managers, HR leaders, and business leaders alike, can truly help reduce employee worries.


Research & Innovation Centre, London

Angela supports WTW Software users by helping to design off the shelf content, based on thorough research and statistical analyses of large scale employee survey data. Her goal is to ensure that survey content is based on the latest and most robust research evidence. When she is not working, Angela enjoys films with her sons, walks with her Bernese Mountain Dog, and a good chat with friends at book club.

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