This is the second in a three-part series about how leaders can evaluate their approach to C.A.R.E.S (Culture, Allocates, Realigns, Empathizes, and Serves). The first installment covered Culture and Allocates. This second installment covers how leaders can Realign and rethink their business operations, show empathy, and serve their employees.
Don’t underestimate the importance of a positive working environment for optimizing employee mental health. Leaders that take time to realign and reevaluate their business operations and put their employees first, will see improved culture, better employee satisfaction and retention. Let’s talk about how to Realign, Empathize, and Serve your employees.
Rethink how your business is operating – look to your mission, vision, and values. Are they in-line with current company practices? Start to hire intentionally. Look for those candidates who align with your company’s mission, vision, and values, who demonstrate more than just job smarts, but emotional intelligence as well.
Position your current workforce for success by providing training. This can include resiliency training, mindfulness training, healthy lifestyle training. Work with your EAP; they can even provide licensed speakers to come onsite for health and wellness clinics for your employees.
Encourage time off. Employees often don’t recognize when they need work separation, or they’re afraid to take a step back, because they’re already overwhelmed and afraid, they’ll fall further behind by taking time off.
And be flexible (if it is allowable). If you have an employee asking to leave early, come in late, or take a long lunch to go to an appointment/see their doctor, ALLOW IT.
When employees worked full-time on-site, they had a commute to physically get away from work. Now remote and hybrid employees don’t always have that luxury. If you can, encourage flexibility and allow them to cut out 10 minutes early to take a walk around the block, call a friend, or do anything that creates separation from the workspace.
Try to understand what your employees are going through and see things from their perspective. You may have come out of the last two years unscathed and without a scratch, but that doesn’t mean that everyone else did, and you shouldn’t expect that of them. Be people-focused first, making your teams feel more valued and understood. And showing vulnerability to your employees shows them that you care, and that you are willing to talk with them and take time to understand what’s going on in their lives.
Words matter. People matter. If you express concern for those who work for you, they will see that you genuinely care for them and their well-being, and they will bring you their best and work their hardest for you.
Focus in on your employees and see what their needs are. Ask your employees how you can help them and be open-minded with the support they are asking of you. Don’t immediately say, “No”. A recent survey from the Society for Human Resource Management found that employees who are struggling with mental health challenges cite demonstrating empathy, encouraging them to take time off and offering remote or flexible work options as the top supportive responses they’d like to see from their managers.
Next week we will wrap up the series with some fantastic resources that are available for both employers and employees.