As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to influence all of our lives, leaders need to be continually finding new ways to help their teams manage the crisis. As leaders, we have a responsibility to improve the wellbeing of our workforce as we continue to navigate these challenging times.
Supporting employee wellbeing requires an approach that addresses engagement and mental health into this “new normal” we find ourselves in. By developing our resilience, we can embody the traits we want to nurture in our teams and lead by example.
Below are leadership resilience strategies to manage employee wellbeing:
Make mental and physical health a priority
Supporting employees is about more than managing a remote workforce or putting up physical protection measures in your place of work. Employees also need to know where they can find mental health information, support, and resources.
Don’t rely on people to self-report. Two-way conversations are essential to building trust and rapport, making it vital for managers to create structured, recurring opportunities to “check in” with employees and encourage peer support.
Keep an open channel of communication and take the time to meet with each team member individually on a regular basis. Ask specifically how each employee is feeling and listen and respond with compassion and empathy. Share techniques to stay present, focused, and in control of your emotions, and encourage physical activity as a way to reduce stress and increase clarity and mindfulness.
If possible, consider establishing a hotline or central contact for employees and develop in-house processes to respond to questions or concerns in a timely way.
Many of us have been working remotely for months, and as the winter months settle in and there are fewer opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, resilience matters more than ever.
This is a great time to revisit different work patterns, especially now that parents are struggling to deal with school and daycare openings and closures in addition to sticking to a work schedule. Make sure that employees have the right infrastructure, support, and flexibility to do their job given their circumstances.
Now is also a great time to focus on upskilling your employees. Tools and online learning empowers employees, increases your organizational ability, workforce flexibility, and resilience.
Let us help you build resilience in your team by contacting us to learn about our online “Leading with Resilience” program.
Help Remote Staff Feel Connected and Supported
For many people, connecting with colleagues can help alleviate feelings of isolation and disconnection. In fact, the National Institute of Health released a report focusing on Hong Kong after the 2003 SARS outbreak that found that increased connectedness offset the negative mental health impacts of that pandemic.
As we said above: don’t rely on employees to self-report. Establish routine check-ins and ask, specifically “how are you doing? How can we support you right now?”
In addition to regular video meetings, people in leadership roles need to make themselves available to talk to staff about their concerns, fears, and answer any questions they may have about their work or personal challenges.
Increase Engagement and Motivation
It’s hard to stay motivated when the world feels in chaos. During this time, leaders should focus on creating short, clear roadmaps for organizational objectives that can mobilize and inspire employees around a common goal.
Of course, plans are likely to change during this uncertain period, which is why focusing on short-term goals and successes can help team members stay motivated. This is also a great time to revisit your company’s values and align them with how you manage your COVID-19 response.
Making the link between company values and how you communicate with and support your employees helps them feel supported not just by you, but by the business as a whole. This creates a sense of safety — something many people are seeking during this time.
Additionally: make sure to keep communicating, even if you don’t know the answer. If you say nothing, people are likely to fill the gaps with worry.
Leadership Resilience Training
Developing your resilience is essential during this period. As leaders, we have a responsibility to support our employees and help them develop strategies that contribute to their wellbeing and help them feel empowered.
Learn the strategies forward-thinking leaders are using to support their teams. Click here to register for our next Hardiness Resilience Gauge (HRG) certification coming up on November 19th.