Employee Engagement

The two things your employees want from you as a leader

Dhruv Patel

Great leadership is vital for every organisation trying to survive the Coronavirus crisis. But it’s also far more difficult, because no matter how experienced a leader you are, this pandemic has thrown up challenges that no-one’s faced before.

We dived into our data – based on employee feedback – to find the 2 leadership traits that’ll help you keep your company moving forward.


1. You can always communicate more

It might sound obvious because communication is crucial at the best of times, but our data confirms that employees want a lot more info than normal. Even if you’ve been communicating well, one thing is clear…


Employees want more detail and more reassurance

  • People are working remotely or social distancing. They would usually pick up info from being in the office, chatting to line managers or from meetings.
  • Their personal circumstances might be challenging, so they might be distracted, and need more reassurance.
  • They want to know as much as possible about the future of the company.
  • There’s such a thing as too much communication, but in the current climate, that tipping point is far further than you think it is.


Make sure your leadership is visible

You need to lead the company, but you also need to show what you’re doing.

Lots of companies use various channels to keep employees updated. But, the data shows that employees want consistent, frequent communication from leaders, with clear, transparent and actionable info.

Look at this case study to see the gold mine of communications ideas that SPCA New Zealand got from their employees.



Communicate more frequently in a consistent, simple format that everybody can understand clearly:

  • Send at the same time every day.
  • Use one format that everyone has access to.
  • Include summaries of what leaders have been doing.
  • Update everyone about the state of the business.
  • Look to the future – what’s going to happen in the next phase – relaxing of lockdown / getting back to more normal working situations.
  • Ask for feedback, create a way to identify problems and gather ideas from your team.

2. Empathy is in demand

Lots of people are genuinely scared and have no idea what the future holds for them.

Many have got challenging personal circumstances too, and may have to adjust their working hours.

Naturally, our data confirms that employees want greater understanding and support from their leaders. This is usually to help cope with childcare while schools are shut, and caring for sick or elderly family members – but the circumstances are different for everyone.

The data suggests that some leaders are quite distant and don’t fully understand the challenges and circumstances faced by their workforces. Employees want the support and empathy that lets them carry on working safely and productively.



Remember that we’re never fully aware of the difficulties others may have. Make it clear that they can ask for what they need. Understand the situation, then support them.

Encourage more direct meetings such as 1-to-1s where leaders feel more connected to employees. Build up rapport so it’s easier for people to open up.

Give your teams a way to share ideas and issues – anonymously if necessary.


You can get the same detailed analysis for free with our Road to Recovery surveys.

Quickly find out what your organisation is doing well, and what you can improve – your people have the answers you need.

Road to Recovery


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