If we have learned anything from the past two years and the COVID 19 pandemic, it’s that our health and that of our organizations need to be a top priority.
Mental health challenges have gone from a 1 in 5 concern to a 5 in 5 as a result of the ongoing demands being placed on people. Beyond the role of employees (many now working remotely), individuals have also become primary caregivers, homeschool teachers, cooks, and responsible for all household tasks inside and out.
The second staggering trend being witnessed in 2021 is something known as “the great resignation”. Heck, you might even be part of this trend! Studies show that employees are examining their jobs with a new pandemic-induced perspective. The number of people quitting their job in search of something better is on the rise in a big way. One study showed that the majority of people leaving the workforce are women and long-time employees. This does not bode well for any organization.
If you plan to keep your top talent, avoid being a statistic of turn and burn, and you hope to keep business flowing ‘as usual’, then it’s time to take a look at your company’s culture.
The place to start is looking at the desires and needs of your employees. Workplace demands are up but working conditions have drastically changed resulting in non-ergonomic office set-ups and less time for desperately needed self-care. The first thing to drop off the priority list for most people is care and concern for their health.
An increase in home and work-related demands means less time for movement, meditation, down-time that doesn’t include a screen, proper rest and recovery, and an increase in stress, overwhelm, and burnout.
Having worked for many large organizations over the years I know all too well that the more I felt valued within an organization the more effort I was willing to put into my job. And, the more committed I was to ‘give it my all.’ Care and concern offered through personal development opportunities, extended health benefits, workshops, and positive manager to employee relations went a long way. The more I felt like a valued and cared for member of the team the more I cared about my work.
I believe the success of any organization is dependent on the health and well-being of its employees. This includes physical, emotional, and mental health. All three dimensions have specific elements and each is interconnected.
Let’s take physical health for example. When you move your body regularly through exercise you improve your mobility, endurance, strength, and mental health, AKA your mood. You’re more focused, energized, and better equipped to manage stressful situations that come your way in life and work. This means improved performance in the workplace and less health care spending as a result. A win for the organization and for the employee.
How about mental health? I don’t know a single person who has not been affected by the events of the past few years. As the world shifts, we must adapt and shift with it. But, sadly, what we’re seeing is less work-life balance than ever before, mental health concerns continuing to rise, and many workplaces moving to remote or hybrid set-ups leaving some employees feeling isolated and overwhelmed. If the health of your employees suffers, so does the bottom line of your company.
The reality is that any organization’s success is dependent on the foundation by which it’s built; the health and overall care and concern of its people.
There are a few key questions I encourage you to ask your employees to determine if your organization’s culture breeds health and well-being or if there’s room for improvement.
Sending out a short questionnaire that includes the questions listed below, or having direct conversations if that’s possible, can help guide your necessary next steps.
Questions to ask HR Managers and Leadership:
- Does your organization have a sense of connection and community among the employees? Is there a sense of being part of something larger?
- Does your staffroom, lunchroom, or lounge support healthy eating choices?
- Is there an open-door policy between managers and employees? Are staff encouraged to share concerns, comments, challenges, and ideas openly?
- Are company expectations realistic and do they support work-life balance?
- Does your organization encourage and value healthy living through regular movement breaks, walking meetings, or other movement-based weekly activities (either as a group or individually)?
- Does your organization celebrate and welcome diversity? Are there equal opportunities for all members of the organization such as LGBTQ2+, women, and visible minorities?
Questions to ask employees and front line staff:
- Do your employees feel well supported by your company’s extended health program? Is it robust and easy to use? Does it support physical wellbeing?
- Do your employees feel comfortable and confident coming to management with concerns, questions, and ideas? (self-confidence, openness, receptive)
- Do employees feel there is a good level of commitment and connection among departments/team members?
- Are team members encouraged to take breaks and lunches, mental health days (over sick days), and vacation to recharge?
- Do employees feel well supported to enjoy a true work/life balance? Is time with family valued, expectations of work engagement after hours, taking time off for fun and family?
- Do minorities feel welcomed? Are actions taken to ensure safety, belonging, and inclusion?
By collecting data on these questions, you as an HR professional can quickly take stock on what’s working and what areas of your company’s culture need improvement.
Without planning and preparing for the future, you may be left scrambling to keep your company’s employees engaged and invested. The world as we know it is forever changed therefore we must find ways to adapt, modify, improve, and care for the people that help keep things running smoothly.
I will leave you with a final thought: it’s much easier to take good care of the clients and customers you already have than to search out new ones. The same can be said for taking care of your employees. It takes much less work to retain the talent you already have than to hire and train new ones.
Stop ‘turn and burn’ in its tracks by prioritizing your employees’ well-being through improved organizational culture.
Please drop me a comment or send me an email @ firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be happy to support your well-being and that of your organization’s.