By Niamh Gaffney, Executive Coach, KinchLyons
As we navigate yet another new world - that of successful hybrid working - we are once again thrown into ambiguity and flux. Our focus is necessarily on the logistics of making it all happen, but it is crucial not to lose sight of the ‘soft’ side of the business and to build that into the strategic plans and discussions. The latest irishjobs.ie jobs index reveals job postings are now 19% higher than in Q2 2019. People are on the move, and organisations need to objectively assess the factors that make working for them attractive. Part of this consideration is the flexi-working options, but also key is the wellbeing of the staff and how well their needs are met.
The challenge of course is that those needs differ across generations, genders, seniority levels and geographical locations, so it is important that a variety of perspectives are considered. A Deloitte Global 2021 Millennial Survey for example found that 48% of Gen Zs and 44% of millennials report feeling anxious or stressed all or most of the time. The 2021 Wraw Resilience Report corroborates this, finding considerably lower resilience among the under-35s compared to that of the over-55 cohort.
We have each been impacted by the pandemic and the changes it wrought. And while all those experiences have not been the same, nearly 42% of employees report a decline in mental health at some point since the pandemic began. We are returning to the office having had our resilience tested in like never before, and this has changed our expectations and needs in ways perhaps yet undiscovered. The 2021 CIPD Health and Wellbeing survey indicates an increase in efforts to promote good mental health within organisations. However, while the critical role of line managers is increasingly acknowledged, there is often a dearth of structure for those line mangers to provide that support.
To best serve the needs of the returning workforce an organisation needs to be prepared in a way that goes beyond the physical layout of the office and flexi-working policy. Accurate data on resilience can support an emerging wellbeing strategy and monitor the effectiveness of any intervention. Too often resilience and wellbeing are measured only in the extreme; when employees leave the organisation, when absenteeism and presenteeism is commonplace, or when mental health crises occur. Using an objective and reliable measure of your company’s resilience and wellbeing offers a way to notice and eradicate emergent issues before they become something that can’t be fixed. And it’s not all about avoiding the worst-case scenario - collecting data and creating bespoke interventions allows organisations to get the most bang from their wellbeing buck. Indeed the 2020 Deloitte Monitor report suggests that organisations who get this right can recoup up to £11 for every £1 invested!
It is important to choose the measurement tool that best serves the needs of both the organisation and the individuals who work therein. As business psychologists our research has led us to recommend Wraw, a robustly validated psychometric tool and survey which provides live data insight into resilience at every level of the organisation, and which aims to support sustainable healthy high performance for every employee. Its 5-pillar model provides a clear and simple framework upon which resilience and wellbeing can be readily understood, measured, communicated, embraced, and developed.
Employees with access to their Wraw resilience data take ownership of and responsibility for their own wellbeing and are better equipped to navigate the challenges that hybrid working brings. Resilient teams grow through the creation of work charters that support their psychological safety whether they’re at virtual or physical offices. Leaders learn and tackle the pressure points experienced by their teams as they arise, and with a clear and structured framework to follow, managers and leaders can more easily handle those courageous conversations that are necessary in a changing environment.
With the current scramble to re-engineer the future of work, organisations need to ensure that employee wellbeing doesn’t fall off corporate agenda. In this complex landscape of varying individual needs, there is unfortunately no one-size-fits-all solution. However, the key to success is simple – ask what is needed, measure the responses, and create and monitor the interventions that allow healthy sustainable performance for all.
Niamh Gaffney is an Executive Coach with KinchLyons. To find out more about Wraw, or resilience and wellbeing measurement, contact firstname.lastname@example.org