Company leaders are taking their eye off the ball as COVID-19 crisis continues

Culture Amp repeat survey data show company leaders are less visible and making fewer effective decisions during the pandemic.

Employee confidence in the way company leaders run their organisation and bosses’ willingness to make time for them is falling markedly in companies around the world as the COVID-19 crisis continues.

The global trend is revealed by a series of specially-designed employee engagement surveys being carried out by companies that want to see how employee sentiment may be changing in this ongoing situation. 

The data, collected by Culture Amp from 11,000 respondents between mid-March and mid-May 2020, revealed 59% of businesses saw a decrease in their employees agreeing that their company leaders were making effective decisions regarding the COVID-19 situation.

This was an average decline of nine points compared to when they answered the same question for the first time at the start of the pandemic. 

Visible company leaders

The visibility of leaders within their organisations also appears to be diminishing, with 57% of businesses seeing a fall in the number of employees agreeing that the company leaders are appropriately available, compared to the initial data sets. 

Stability also appears to be on the wane with 47% of firms reporting a decrease in the number of people agreeing that company leaders are providing a sense of stability compared to their view in the early days of the crisis (an average decline of nine points).

The data is generated by Culture Amp’s emergency response surveys which assess company morale during the COVID-19-crisis. By repeating the research regularly, organisations can get a better and earlier sense of whether or not employee opinion is shifting over time and make informed decisions to help boost employees’ connection with their organisation.

Feeling isolated

Leadership is not the only area coming into question from the data. Internal communication and connection with colleagues are also on the slide. 

Half (50%) of the companies saw a drop in scores (an average decline of four points) for receiving timely communications from the organisation about the COVID-19 pandemic. In comparison, 55% saw a decrease in the number of employees feeling that they are staying connected with teams and colleagues.

A level of resentment and frustration may also be kicking in, with over half (53%) of the companies that ran the surveys reporting a dip in the number of employees feeling that they are being treated fairly by their colleagues.

Commenting on the findings, Nick Matthews, general manager and vice president, Culture Amp EMEA says: “After such an intense few weeks and months, company leaders may be tempted to take their foot off the gas as workplaces settle into something approaching a new normal. However, what is required is the exact opposite. This is the time for leadership to increase their focus and strategic nature of their communications and people strategies. Without the support of an enthusiastic and engaged workforce behind them, senior executives will find it more difficult to enact any strategic pivots or launch innovative initiatives to support their organisation through the post-COVID-19 landscape.

“It’s crucial for company bosses to find ways to foster and strengthen connections with their workers, whether they are returning to the workplace or still working at home since that requirement won’t happen as naturally or effectively as it did when employees were co-located previously.”

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