Return to March 2021 update
The volume of discussions about this category increased 89% in March in comparison to December given the increased focus on workspace re-entry. The best practices and innovative solutions to accommodate employees’ needs in a post-pandemic workplace are discussed. Each of the three major methods, WFH, hybrid solutions and full workplace re-entry in person, have different methods for boosting employee engagement and productivity while taking care of employees’ health and wellbeing. COVID-19 pandemic brought also secondary epidemic of burnout, stress, and anxiety. A year later, there is an increase in not only those areas but also mental-health awareness and resources in the workplace. Companies are starting to understand the importance of employee health for company performance better. Leaders can foster a psychologically safe work environment with the same focus and commitment that they dedicate to other business goals. 89% of respondents in an US survey believe it’s an essential responsibility of business leaders to create a safe and respectful workplace. Psychological safety is important for not only individuals but also team performance. The benefits of psychological safety are clear: a more active exchange of ideas among employees, positive team environments, and companies that are more adaptable to change. Positive team climate is the most important driver of psychological safety and most likely to occur when leaders demonstrate supportive, consultative behaviors, then begin to challenge their teams. Investing in leadership development across an organization—for all leadership positions—is an effective method for cultivating the combination of leadership behaviors that enhance psychological safety. The organizations should 1) go beyond one-off training programs and deploy an at-scale system of leadership development; 2) invest in leadership-development experiences that are emotional, sensory, and create aha moments; and 3) build mechanisms to make development a part of leaders’ day-to-day work.  Five ways to design a better mental-health future for a stressed-out workforce: 1) open the lines of communication; 2) understand and meet the need; 3) know the signs of distress; 4) make help available; and 5) embrace and encourage self-care.  The US Securities and Exchange Commission made history with a major new rule on human capital: companies are now required to include not only a description of a company’s “human capital resources,” but also “any human capital measures or objectives that management focuses on in managing the business.” And according to the rule this should include any measures that address three areas: “attraction, development, and retention of personnel." Leaders see more clearly than ever before the connection between the personal sustainability of their employees and the sustainable growth of the company. But we still need to widen our idea of sustainability. We need to leverage the connection between personal sustainability and planetary sustainability.  Employee engagement will be the new measure of a brand’s success.  Reskilling will be essential in the future to meet new needs.