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The importance of keeping furloughed employees engaged

Author: Sam Shinners
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More than nine million workers are thought to be furloughed in the UK under the Government’s Job Retention Scheme, many of who have been on leave since the scheme started back in March. 
For those business owners and hiring managers who have team members on furlough, it’s important to continue to assess how these employees are doing, as furloughed staff are prone to feeling neglected, demotivated and also lack morale.

For furloughed staff, it’s the reality that their purpose has been put into question and their whole routine has been turned on its head. As a result, many people in this situation can struggle with feelings of disconnect, low motivation and a lack of engagement towards the business they work for.

Why is it important to keep furloughed employees engaged?

We’ve touched on this already in a previous blog, How to Keep You and Your Team Motivated During the Coronavirus Outbreak but by preventing staff from working, for months at a time, the more difficult it becomes to keep them engaged and connected to your business.
Employers not only have a duty of care to their staff and sense of responsibility to support them during this difficult and unsettling time, but engaging employees on furlough will also significantly limit the challenge of ensuring that staff are ready to ‘hit the ground running’, when they are finally able to return to work.
For those businesses who are already thinking ahead, low productivity and a disengaged team is not an option, as the cost of this will be too great over the coming months. 

How to keep furloughed employees engaged?

So how do you keep a team of furloughed employees, who are not allowed to do any work, engaged and ready to get going when the time arrives? 

One of the big positives we’ve identified is the fact that employees can still participate in training whilst on furlough. At Forward Role we’ve been running a two week Training Bootcamp for both furloughed and non-furloughed staff. The training sessions have been designed to help our consultants build their knowledge, regain routine and grow in confidence. Every day there is something new to learn, ZOOM sessions to take part in and challenges that they can set themselves. As a sales business, we’ve looked at a range of topics and created sessions that we think will have the biggest success in ensuring the team are ready to hit the ground running, these include; market knowledge, pitching to clients and candidates, objection handling, mindset and goal setting and readdressing the core principles of recruitment. 

 Forward Role MD Brian Johnson explained the benefits of introducing the training sessions "The Coronavirus pandemic and having to furlough a significant part of the team was clearly a terrible situation for all concerned. However, we have been able to focus on a comprehensive training plan across the business and really invest considerable time into the whole team. A focus on all parts of our role and personal development has opened dialogue across the business and there is a genuine feeling of shared growth." 


If you’ve not done so already, now is the time to start thinking about the type of training your staff could be doing. From learning new skills that could be really beneficial over the next few months (here’s 10 free marketing and digital training courses to get you started!), to refresher training for the things your team may have forgotten, such as product/service knowledge or best practice processes when using internal systems. Helping your team to hit the ground running when the restrictions are lifted is crucial for any business and will have a positive impact on your employees.

For more help and advice on keeping staff motivated and engaged during the COVID-19 crisis, follow us on LinkedIn for daily content or get in touch with the team today.

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