By Ellen Gregory

Work hours and flexibility are both among the top factors impacting employee retention, according to the ADP Research Institute.

During the global health event, employers are being presented with a unique opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to their employees. There are many ways for employers to show their employees, new hires, and potential employees their character during this time. This organizational character is also a pivotal part of an employer's brand which impacts employee retention, engagement and performance.

Here is how an organization today can positively impact employee engagement, performance, and bottom line:

Flexible Work Schedules

There is no time like the present to reassess or even create a more flexible schedule offering. Most companies, if the type of work and industry allows, have implemented work-from-home plans to keep workers at safe distances. This shift is also exciting to employees, as they can see first-hand the benefits of working from home, and this may increase the attraction of this perk once employees are able to return to the office.

According to ADP Research Institute, Fixing the Talent Management Disconnect, work hours and flexibility are both among the top factors impacting employee retention. In addition, immediate responsibilities of employees outside of their work life may have shifted, and those offering flexible work schedule policies can help ease the tensions of employees feeling torn between their personal and professional responsibilities.

Crisis Bonuses, Pay, and Organizational Funds

Many workers are experiencing unanticipated expenses during this time, and financial security is top-of-mind for many. Offering spot bonuses or pay raises to workers can help to support the households where others may have lost a job or provide funds to take care of a sick family member. Some organizations even host and grow an employee care or support fund to be available when employees have a financial emergency.

Value the Health & Safety of your Employees

It is important for employers to offer a work environment where the health and safety of their workforce is a clear priority during a time of crisis. Workers will remember if their wellbeing was valued, whether in-person or through remote work. Communicate the benefits and offerings of your organization, such as medical leave benefits or telemedicine. This is a great time to share a reminder and ensure that workers are clear on how to use them. If your organization doesn't have formal policies, now is the time to create and distribute them.

Make It Fun!

The stress of challenging times can weigh heavily on everyone, so try to find ways to bring some fun to employees Employers who have access to connective applications such as Skype, WebEx, or Zoom can use them for team touchpoints. Whether it's to share toilet paper memes or furry co-worker pictures, or simply a random thought of the day. A centralized virtual team space will help increase connectiveness and engagement. And don't limit the tool's use to just work activities. Virtual happy hours, quizzes or scavenger hunts can bring a much-needed distraction and even some exercise.

Strong employee engagement today will have a lasting impact on an organization in the years to come. Increased engagement can boost individual and company performance, increase employee retention, bolster positive reviews on peer review sites such as Glassdoor (relied on by 90% of job seekers), and strengthen an organization's employer brand and reputation for social responsibility.

Click here to learn more about how employers can support and care for employees during this challenging time and beyond.

This article originally appeared on SPARK Powered by ADP.