Consciously making employee well-being part of your company culture, with a balance of work flexibility and connectedness, will be the key to successful retention.
In an episode of the HRMorning podcast “Voices of HR,” Gindin, who is a trained mental health professional, began the discussion with surveys that revealed a large gap between the perception of how employers think they’re supporting employee well-being and how employees think they’re being supported.
“Educating managers about signs of mental health (struggles), signs of burnout, signs of stress that might be beyond what’s normal, and opening up dialogues with their teams is so important,” Gindin said.
“I start off every meeting where I ask everyone to share what color they are that day. Are they red, are they yellow, or are they green? … If they have something really personal going on for them and they … don’t want anyone to know the details, they can just say … ‘I’m having a red week and I need a little bit more support.’ … Opening up the opportunity for people to share at whatever level they’re comfortable with is such an easy way for managers and leaders to have an open and safe culture within their team without getting into the psychological, clinical components of whatever they’re dealing with.”
Gindin recommended offering an employee assistance program, a variety of employee resource groups, as well as other resources.
Hybrid work, connectedness keys to employee well-being
“I’ve had remote jobs where there were employees who really needed the in-person time, and they didn’t feel like they were getting the support that they needed remotely, and they ended up leaving. And then the opposite, where I have employees with elderly parents who have dementia and who are going through a challenging time and they require … being driven around and doctor’s appointments, and (those employees require) a level of flexibility in working hours that they can’t get if they’re forced back into the office three-plus days per week,” she said.
Maintaining a culture where employees in a hybrid work ecosystem feel connected may seem like a daunting challenge. However, Gindin offered several creative approaches you can take.
“Build … small talk into your (virtual) meetings. … Even dedicating the first five to 10 minutes of every meeting, just to see how people are doing or how their weekend was, is a great way to add connection,” she said. “We also have different channels in our messaging app at work. There’s one for parents and one for people who are avid hikers and people who love to cook, just so that there are fun ways to connect that aren’t work-related while we’re still focused on the task at hand and at home.”
“If I see a funny video, instead of just texting it to a friend, is there a place that I can send that, assuming it’s work-appropriate, at work and make people laugh and make people smile and really bring the humanness back? … What it comes down to is creating a virtual environment that sees people, not just as employees, but as whole people with lives outside of work and interests and senses of humor.”