As the second anniversary of pandemic-fueled lockdown approaches, the challenges and successes of the last two years are coming into focus for employers. And despite the widespread workplace chaos, many employees appear happy with how their employer has handled the crisis.
According to a new survey by Willis Towers Watson, 70% of 9,600 U.S. workers from large and mid-size employers said their organizations have supported them during the pandemic. Specifically, a majority of employees said their employers have helped them stay productive (67%) and safe from COVID-19 (66%). More than half (58%) believe their employer has supported their wellbeing.
Employees differed when it comes to their views of on-site safety requirements. The majority (58%) support employer vaccinate mandates, and even more favor wearing a mask inside buildings (65%). More than half (54%) support regular COVID testing to enter the worksite.
Interestingly, according to Dr. Jeff Levin-Scherz, population health leader at WTW, only 11% of employees at companies with vaccine mandates oppose them, compared to 40% of employees at companies without mandates.
“The past two years have been challenging times for both employers and their employees,” he says. “Employers have made employee health and wellbeing a top priority throughout the pandemic. As our survey results show, most employees embraced their employers’ actions to keep them safe at work and support them. And, those efforts are having a positive impact on employees.”
With that, a majority (84%) of employees who feel safe and are comfortable at work plan to stay with their employer for at least two years, compared to just 42% of those who don’t feel safe or comfortable. Additionally, over half of employees who feel safe and comfortable at work say they are highly engaged compared with just 5% who don’t.
Levin-Scherz says that, with the Omicron wave abating, employers now have a chance to “plan deliberately” how to respond to future waves to protect employees while supporting the business.
“These survey results show that employers earn employee loyalty and business advantage by making workers feel safe,” he says.