During the last few months looking after workforce wellbeing has become a key focus for many companies. Little surprise then that Questback’s recent survey of HR professionals has found that wellbeing is their top priority for the remainder of 2020.
In the context of the current crisis wellbeing is made up of a number of related areas:
- The physical wellbeing of people working on the front line, whether that’s in health care or other essential industries
- The mental wellbeing of employees as they try to balance busy work lives with home schooling and general uncertainty of current times
- The financial wellbeing concerns of those who are likely to be coming out of furlough, who have been made redundant or are worried about their future employment
Maximising employee resilience
Of course, simply by being more supportive and empathetic, managers and leaders can have a big impact on employee wellbeing. But so much of how individuals feel actually comes from within themselves. That’s why it is so important for organisations to take steps to maximise employees’ levels of resilience.
Resilience can be defined as our ability to maintain high performance and positive wellbeing in difficult times, and to bounce back from setbacks. While to some extent this is determined by our own temperament and outlook, including our degree of optimism, self-confidence and adaptability, there are actions organisation can take to support employees and nurture high levels of resilience.
Here are six ways that managers can increase the resilience of their teams:
- Create a sense of purpose – People who find their work meaningful and believe it makes a difference tend to have greater resilience. So, it’s important to ensure that employees understand how their role contributes to the success of the company, and ideally the greater good.
- Give employees more control – People who have demanding jobs but with little control are more likely to experience burnout. So, give employees as much control as possible over how they work in order to produce the expected results. This can help them to thrive and support greater resilience. It helps to build more flexibility and independent decision making into roles so team members feel they have control and can perform at their best.
- Demonstrate you care – Feeling supported and cared for by managers and other team members builds resilience. Even though things are improving and we are slowly moving back to normal, managers must continue to build time into their days to check in on how people in their team are doing.
- Keep communicating – Employees need to know what is going on to work effectively and to feel connected to their organisation. And openness and honesty builds trust. Many leaders have done a great job of regular communication during the pandemic, and there is likely to be an expectation from employees that this continues to be central to how they work. At a time when the economy is contracting and concerns about jobs are growing, being as honest as you can, will deliver reassurance and show that you value all of your people.
- Encourage teamwork – It is important to actively encourage people to collaborate and share ideas and to build close and productive working relationships. Teamwork such as this encourages closer bonds between people which can help to increase resilience and wellbeing.
- Promote healthy behaviours – Working from home has increased flexibility but has also made it so much harder for people to balance their work and personal life, meaning many employees don’t switch off effectively. As ways of working continue to evolve, it is important that employees are supported in separating their work-life from personal commitments. Encourage them to take regular breaks, to unwind and to stay active.
While we are now hopefully over the worst of the crisis, there are plenty of challenges ahead. Employees are concerned about the economy and their jobs in addition to ongoing concerns about physical health. No one can predict what the future is likely to bring but building the resilience of your team can help to ensure that your employees are ready and able to tackle whatever lies in store for your organisation.