ODA october event

October Event Review: Insights into the impact of the coronavirus crisis on employee experience – and what to do about it!

The Stats tell the story!

On 28th October at 6.30 we all settled into our favourite nook of the house to tune into ODA via zoom. A wonderful outcome of our regular Zoom events is that our collective voice is growing, with regulars from regional Victorians, New South Wales and beyond. Our friendship circle is growing.


Our guest speaker was Dr Melinda Norris, Director of Australian Employee Insights: Willis Towers Watson (WTW). Melinda shared WTW’s extensive research on employee engagement during Covid-19.

WTW surveyed 579,000 employees working in 134 countries. Everyone on the call was genuinely fascinated by the story the data told.

During Covid-19 pandemic, employees are aware of higher levels of stress and anxiety. Within this context, employees are rating their job satisfaction significantly higher than they normally do. This surprising result seems to be due to the focus leaders have on:

  • Protecting the health and wellbeing of their employees, and
  • Better communication (keeping employees informed).


So, whilst it seems to have taken an international health crisis to achieve the outcome, the leadership in crisis has improved employee job satisfaction. Regular communication and concern for employee welfare, as well as a focus on team goals and maintaining a sense of connection all rated very high by the surveyed employees.

75% of the workforce surveyed are working from home.  This is a new world and is unlikely to snap back to the way it was before. Leaders and OD professionals have faced many challenges in navigating this significant change. The new reality of work requires:

  • Technology enablement to keep the workforce productive
  • Rapid and purposeful decision making over precision – willingness to be flexible.
  • A flatter, leaner organisational structure
  • Careful consideration of cost pressures and revenue challenges
  • Awareness of heightened anxiety and a demand for information and transparency and
  • A focus on safety and wellbeing.


Much of this information mirrors our own experience in Australia and yet we all found it fascinating to get such clear data from a significant cross-section of the world’s workforce. Thank you, Melinda, for your clear and informative session. And thank you to everyone who joined us and shared their personal insights.

You can find out more about WTW’s research here.


Carol Houtot

Leadership Group Member