With attention diverted to the economic slowdown, organizations may be tempted to let People Operations drop off in favor of needs that seem more urgent. Before falling into this approach, take a step back. An important function of People Operations is to embolden an organization to withstand challenges. Normally we think of those challenges as high seasonal turnover, toxic employees, litigation, and the like. Certainly the economic and societal turmoil of spring 2020 is historic and unprecedented. But as this challenge builds, organizations should reaffirm their commitment to People Ops. Employees are in need of workplace initiatives to help them focus, communicate, and thrive right now. These investments also ensure that an organization will emerge from this period ready to hit the ground running.
The principles of employee engagement that emerged through the 2010s are worth considering with fresh eyes. Here are a few examples.
Human resources organization SHRM discussed the value of having a team orientation rather than being focused on self. Disengaged workers, they explain, tend to "foxhole" themselves and don't prioritize collaborative energy. Team-building is therefore especially important for both work-from-home arrangements and workplaces altered with social distancing.
Engaged employees take the opportunity to learn on the job. Korn Ferry CEO Gary Burnison and others discuss the "70-20-10" rule of gaining insights in a job. According to this framework, 70% of learning comes from the job itself, such as taking on a new task or being exposed to new technologies. Next is the 20% of learning that's gained from interacting with, observing, and being taught by coworkers. Just the final 10% comes from formal training and coursework. Therefore, taking steps to cultivate a culture of learning is as important as ever when employees are separated from each other.
Insights from research in psychology help us understand how to be proactive in promoting mental health during periods of crisis. The American Psychological Association suggests simple measures to promote wellness, like keeping up daily routines, maintaining a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and exercise, and limiting news consumption.
In addition, a recent review of research by The Lancet explored the effect of quarantine on mental health. This work identified adverse effects that employers can take steps to address.
In all, the workplace should be a source of wellness for individuals, an important reality made more urgent by current events. There are several steps employers can take to enhance that wellness in direct and indirect ways. These measures, often requiring little use of resources, can lay the groundwork for a successful rebound as the crisis of 2020 clears.
To learn about other principles that can improve Workforce Morale, follow the links below:
To learn how you can boost your Workforce Morale through the power of personality, connect with Traitify.