New survey gauges pandemic impact on the workplace

The pandemic is changing the workplace. That’s the takeaway from a new survey done by Northern Kentucky Tri-ED, the region's economic development organization.

As we move into a new phase of worklife during Covid, and the economy evolves from shutdown and belt-tightening mode to recovery, employers are adapting to the new environment.

Nearly all of the survey respondents – 90 percent -- said they are developing new policies around working remotely, and said that at least some employees will continue to work from home.

Some Northern Kentucky companies are taking progressive approaches toward employee health and well-being, diversity, equity and inclusion, sustainability, and community engagement, in the light of the pandemic-related transformation of workplaces, and the renewed awareness of issues related to diversity, the survey finds.

More than 70 percent of respondents said they are actively working on policies in these areas, while 16 percent have policies in place already.

Perfetti Van Melle U.S.A., for example, the Erlanger-based maker of Airheads, Mentos and other sweet things, recently announced it will move to more sustainable packaging for one of its Mentos chewing gum products, launching a recyclable paperboard packaging in the first half of 2022. The company also provides opportunities for employee engagement with non-profit organizations such as the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio, United Way’s Digital Equity Initiative, and the Ronald McDonald House.

Employers are using policies in these areas as employee attraction and retention tools in an environment where hiring has become a priority, Tri-ED says.

“With Northern Kentucky’s labor force participation rate at 67 percent, higher than both the state and national averages, we know that hiring is a challenge many employers are facing,” says Kimberly Rossetti, Tri-ED’s vice president of economic development.

More than 70 percent of the survey respondents had requested information about workforce programs and services.  Some have taken advantage of Strategic Workforce Action Team (SWAT) meetings offered through GROW NKY, a workforce collective comprised of leaders across industries, educational institutions, and community organizations that helps with employee recruitment and retention.

Tri-ED CEO Lee Crume says his organization will continue to gather insight and data from employers, and says he plans to meet with CEOs in August.

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Read more articles by David Holthaus.

David Holthaus is the managing editor of NKY Thrives, an award-winning journalist, and a Cincinnati native. When not writing or editing, he's likely to be bicycling, hiking, reading or watching classic movies.