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Engaging with employees around well-being

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As COVID-lockdowns continue across Australia, we are seeing heightened urgency from employers looking to engage with their employees around well-being in a more meaningful way.

In response, Principal Consultant Karen Luu has drafted a set of practical questions for organisations looking to build capability in their supervisors, when checking in with team members.

Download our one-page reference guide

If you have any questions, please contact our team who are happy to provide tailored advice for your business and workforce.

CEO and Leaders’ Well-Being: 2021 Pulse Survey Report

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In July 2021, the Found Consulting team surveyed our network of CEOs, Senior Managers and HR Professionals to determine what well-being success means to them.

We received an overwhelming response to the survey, allowing us to summarise a number of key themes and recommendations based on our findings.

> Download our CEO and Leaders’ Well-Being: 2021 Pulse Survey Report

Key insights

1. Focus on the well-being of your team

An overwhelming majority of the leaders surveyed believe the key to well-being success stems from the health and happiness of their team.  If a team is cohesive, communicate regularly, are happy and healthy (both physically and mentally) and can achieve a work/life balance, they will be motivated and productive, resulting in low absenteeism and turnover.

The leaders of the organisations surveyed believe this is achieved by creating a better work/life balance through increased flexibility, and ensuring their employees’ safety and well-being is their number one priority.

Recommendations:

  • Invest in resilience training to assist employees to cope in times of stress.
  • Initiate yoga and meditation classes to help employees develop a relaxed and calm mindset, and achieve a good nights’ sleep.
  • Establish other appropriate preventative and support treatment supports.

2. Improve communication

The big takeaway from the COVID crisis for a large number of the participants surveyed is that it has led to an overall improvement and increase in communication between leaders and their teams, particularly when staff are working remotely.  For employees, this has resulted in a greater sense of empowerment and trust from their managers to get their work done.

Communication has also extended to more genuine and open conversations that don’t just focus on work tasks but on how individuals are managing on a personal level.  This has required leaders to be more innovative about how they stay in touch with their team and keep them engaged, and required them to improve their skills around active listening, empathy and compassion.

And while some Managers have commented that the COVID has made them more fatigued as a result of the extra work placed on them to get through the crisis and stay connected with their teams, 47% of respondents cited only somewhat of an increase in their stress levels.

Recommendations:

  • Create more opportunities for staff to interact with one another either face to face or virtually. This could include fun activities like virtual drinks night on a Friday, trivia afternoons etc.
  • Invest in training programs for managers to further develop their communication, listening and empathy skills.
  • Continue to maintain open and regular communication even when everyone is back in a face-to-face environment, and get to know your team on a more personal level.

3. Prioritise regular exercise

It was encouraging to see from the survey that high numbers of respondents (69%) have been exercising regularly as part of their wellness strategy, with a further 50% taking time out for themselves.  And while many leaders are actively doing something to look after their own well-being, they also recognise that they could be doing more and that this is something they need to prioritise.

Almost half of the organisations surveyed have utilised or invested in an EAP program or service to assist employees with the mental toll of the crisis, with many leaders recognising the need to develop a specific work well-being program for their organisation.

Recommendations:

  • Introduce exercise programs into your workplace.
  • Consider developing a comprehensive and structured well-being program for your organisation.
  • Introduce a paid well-being day for leaders to allow them the opportunity to reflect and recharge.
  • Conduct regular training and webinars specific to well-being.

> Download our CEO and Leaders’ Well-Being: 2021 Pulse Survey Report

3 priorities on the HR agenda for 2021

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By Nicole Burton

After a difficult and testing year for all industries and professions, the goal of keeping people safe, employed, engaged and productive remains ever complex. As the go-to people and function to help organisations prepare for change and execute workforce transformation, HR Professionals are busier than ever in this climate of uncertainty. Through my regular interactions with a diverse professionals across the HR community, three general priorities dominating the HR agenda for 2021 are as follows:

1. Continuing to navigate and define the new normal

In light of the global pandemic, it is up to HR leaders to further enforce a safe workplace as staff begin returning to the workplace.

Many staff will feel apprehensive and unsafe and HR leaders will need to be at the forefront of alleviating any anxiety.  This will require open, clear and regular communication.  Keeping employees up to date will assist with feelings of unease and uncertainty.  It is important that HR leaders take on board the feedback provided by employees and address them in a clear and consistent manner.

The new norm will require a review and overhaul of many of the organisations policies, particularly with regard to existing sick leave, office etiquette/appropriate behaviours, remote working, wellbeing and reward and recognition policies.

2. Developing workforce potential beyond just building skills

2020 demonstrated that workforces are capable of adapting and responding in never before seen or imagined circumstances.  HR Professionals in 2021 should focus on allowing employees to use more initiative and provide them with the freedom to choose how they do their work and what they do.

This can be achieved by moving away from the traditional workforce planning model to one that focuses on matching an employees’ interests and capabilities against future business demands.  This will not only enhance employee skills, but also result in higher levels of engagement and motivation.

The challenge with this approach however is ensuring that the interests of individual employees meet the needs of the business.  This is where HR Professionals will need to get creative and work with the business to design roles that can easily be reinvented, creating a culture where people are constantly adapting and reinventing themselves.

HR Professionals and organisations alike will need to invest in training programs that provide their workforce with the skills and ability to do this, rewarding those employees who identify skills gaps and reinvent themselves to fill those gaps.

3. Preparedness and adapt and thrive through uncertainty

It is important that HR Practitioners and organisations alike develop workforce strategies that focus on preparing for unlikely, high-impact events moving forward to ensure they can respond better, faster and with greater confidence should another unplanned event occur in the future.

Some questions HR Professionals may consider asking themselves in 2021 are:

  • What did we learn about our employees on the back of an event such as COVID-19?
  • Did we identify any new skills that employees have, or any skills gaps that we need to close moving forward?
  • Did any employees stand out as being resourceful in a crisis? If so, how can we harness and utilise those skills in the future?
  • How ready is our workforce to perform the work of the future? How do we address what is lacking, improve skills and develop those capabilities?
  • Who left our organisation, and why did they leave? How can we retain that talent in the future?
  • What are the skills our existing employees need to have to get us through another pandemic such as this? For example, problem solving abilities and social intelligence.
  • Will the wellness programs we have in place equip our staff both mentally and physically? And if not, what do we need to do to improve them to ensure our employees adapt and thrive?

We’ve survived one pandemic which means we are better prepared to deal with it if it happens again whether in short or long periods of lockdown. Organisations who are well prepared to swiftly adapt how they work will always be more effective, and their people safer and happier.  Having a deeper understanding of our workforce and recognising that a one size fits all approach is outdated is the first step in achieving this.