At the turn of 2020, the COVID-19 virus began rapidly disrupting lives, economies and workplaces. This global pandemic has forced practices to make drastic changes to their businesses and as a result, there is the potential for it to have disrupted employee engagement.
We asked our respondents how valued they felt by their employer. Overall, 22% felt less valued, with just 28% feeling more so. Whilst 50% felt as valued as they did before the pandemic, we have to question in times like these, should employers not be making their employees feel more valued than ever?
When an employee does not feel valued, it can have a devastating effect on them. People lose interest in their role and the practice they work for. On top of this, there is the risk that in a connected world, employees will be keen to share poor experiences of employee engagement with their networks. Whilst the Architecture and Interior Design industry is struggling now, we know that it will return to better times. Practices who may not be prioritising employee engagement and making their staff feel valued may have a tough time in future recruitment campaigns. One of the key goals of employee engagement is to create advocacy, not animosity.
Some respondents who felt less valued left us some commentary on their answer:
- “I have worked diligently through the pandemic and at the end of the day still feel replaceable.”
- “I feel like I’m just a replaceable number and not cared about at all. I’m just there to do the main body of work that the big wigs can’t do and yet still seen as worthless.”
- “It made me feel totally disposable.”
We were keen to see what the differences were between those who had been furloughed and those that had not. One-third of the respondents who were furloughed felt less valued than normal.
“We can see the impact that being furloughed has had on people. High numbers feel insecure about their jobs, they are seeking new roles, as well as or because of how unvalued they currently feel. This has got to be a distressing time for these people. It could be easy for employers to negate communication with employees and it might be difficult to deliver the right message when they simply don’t know what the future will bring.”
However, the pandemic has brought some benefit to people and we received some feedback from those who felt more valued than normal:
- “I am getting more responsibilities and closer working relationships with my director than I did before the pandemic.”
- “Since we are now half of the team we once were, we are working harder than before and my boss appreciates that. Moreover, I have more chance to learn and grow in the company.”
- “I’ve just moved jobs as I wasn’t valued in a practice I had spent four years in. I changed jobs in the middle of the pandemic and now feel very secure and appreciated in a busy practice. Even a pandemic won’t stop staff leaving if they’re treated badly.”
We next asked whether they felt their employer had shown empathy and communicated effectively during the pandemic. Both important parts of leadership in a crisis. It could be interpreted as quite shocking that amid a global pandemic only one-third of employers have been able to show both empathy and communicate effectively.
“We have seen the impact that the pandemic has had on our employees. People have needed more support and reassurance than ever. Without clear and regular communications from the top, and an interest in an employee’s wellness and career growth, employees can feel alone, despondent and not valued for what they are doing and or have done in the past.”
Whilst this is perhaps not the feedback employers wanted to hear, on a positive note, two-thirds of respondents had faith in their employer to make the right decisions in the pandemic. We see this as encouraging feedback from employees and shows a great understanding of the difficult decisions employers have had to make.
You can read the full Architecture & Interior Design Employment and Industry Review 2021 here