My employees are exhausted. What can I do to help?
This is a question many of us in the human capital field have been asked during the COVID-19 pandemic numerous times. It is one we thought we were on the verge of not having to keep answering. As the Delta variant is on a rampage through our country, hospitalizations, case numbers, and deaths are on the rise again. This question becomes relevant again and should help us bring up the first and most important item for any manager or C-level executive: well-being.
Well-being: Physical & Mental
As managers, the focus must be on our team’s well-being both physical and mental. We have talked a lot through this pandemic about people's mental health well-being. It is a good time to bring it up again. We must ensure we are having meaningful conversations with our teams about how they are, how they are weathering this new surge of cases, and how it is impacting your team and your company. We need to be willing to give team members time to disconnect for a few hours or a day if that's what they need. Make sure you are keeping those conversations going. Even when the pandemic is over, all managers should keep the conversation open. You may feel like you've become a therapist. There is nothing wrong with that as long as you are doing it in a healthy, productive way. If not, you should make suggestions to your manager or C-level executives on how to make improvements. Also, make sure we are focusing on physical health as well. We may need to reinstate mask mandates, require COVID vaccines, or ensure employees go through regular testing if not vaccinated.
Lead by Example
If your organization’s values don't match with the day-to-day operations of the company, employees will feel burnout. It will cause it to happen faster. Employees will find this confusing that their C-level executives preach one thing to them and their direct manager is doing something or telling them something completely different. The pandemic has also caused many companies to find better ways to focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. We need to stick to these principles. However, managers have to make sure their teams see the end goal and can see the changes happening. Otherwise, employees will become burned out with constant change and new policies, so they won't pay much attention to it when something important comes up.
Don't Replicate Old Policy
Even as we are amid this pandemic and sometimes it seems like chaos, it is not the time to recycle old policies for any aspect of your business. Now is the time to continue to be creative in talent acquisition, development, and engagement processes. The job market and employees are demanding it. Don't think that because something worked before, it will continue to do so or that you should re-implement a policy. Make sure you are doing your due diligence. Listen to your team, make sure they have input, and finally communication is the key through it all.