When it comes to business during chaos, only the resilient survive. That resiliency is created by empowering people to be their best selves and feel confident that they can withstand change, no matter how tumultuous. Here are 3 priorities for business leaders who aim to help their employees feel valued and empowered to face change.
The only constant is change. And death. And taxes. Oh, and COVID. There isn’t much you can do about the latter three on that list, but adapting to inevitable change and becoming a more flexible person — both personally and professionally — is totally within your control. In fact, leaders who embrace change are more resilient and, by extension, successful.
Resiliency is certainly a business buzzword these days, but for good reason: It propels an organization forward. Just like you need talent and technology on your side to get ahead, you also need companywide agility when an unexpected pivot becomes necessary. The pandemic certainly pushed the importance of organizational resilience to the top of the heap. The businesses that were able to absorb that stress and recover enough to survive the experience put themselves in tremendous positions to thrive moving forward. Those who didn’t (or couldn’t) adapt got swept into the dustbin of history.
Do you covet a more resilient enterprise? It’s within reach. Disruptions will continue to happen, and challenging times are a certainty, so the best move forward is to be as prepared as possible for those eventualities. By focusing on a few basic actions, you can lead your organization into a murky future with clarity and vision.
Unpredictable Turns Ahead
Resiliency is created by empowering people to be their best selves and feel confident that they can withstand change, no matter how tumultuous. Business leaders who long to create an environment where their employees feel valued and empowered to face change should consider the following priorities:
- Set clear behavior expectations.
Does your company have a written mission statement? Beyond that, does it have a list of core values that it promotes throughout all the organization’s work with clients and interactions with colleagues? These values should be the guideposts that signal to employees what you stand for and how you conduct business. When you stand by what you stand for, people — employees and customers alike — feel safe and validated in their relationships with your brand. Workers will be more apt to toe the company line when they trust that leadership always acts in the best interest of its employees and the people it serves. “Setting clear behavior expectations that are tied to your company’s core values is key to building a culture in which trust and respect can flourish,” says Margaret Scovern, managing vice president for diversity and inclusion at strategic services and information technology consulting firm Pariveda. “When employees can count on these standards being upheld, they’ll be more equipped to work together effectively in the face of uncertainty.”
- Invest in professional development.
Again, your people are the ones who build the resilience of an organization. If they’re constantly being trained on current trends and upskilled on recent advancements (technological or otherwise), you’ll be better able to handle most volatility that comes your way. Don’t think that an employee’s initial onboarding and short burst of training is sufficient development. If you want a workforce that becomes a tour de force in unpredictable times, give them the teaching and education to make them better equipped to think fast and act decisively when the waves of change begin to break. “When teams have numerous deliverables, it’s sometimes easy for learning and development goals to take a backseat,” says Albert Galarza, global vice president of human resources at TELUS International. “By helping them manage their workload to be able to upskill and further develop their careers, they’re likely to be happier and more loyal to the company. Leaders need to do what they can to support employees by training them in skill sets that benefit their careers and their lives.”
- Develop a culture of wellness.
Said differently, work to destigmatize mental health offerings at your organization. People shouldn’t be embarrassed about the anxiety and trepidation they occasionally feel in a world tipped upside-down by the pandemic for the past two-plus years. If anything, the employees who don’tshow any vulnerability or stress during these times might be the ones to worry about. In seriousness, you need your workers to be at their mental and physical best to increase resiliency and perform their best work. Promote your PTO policy, encourage people to take a healthy amount of time off, and make sure they’re aware that there’s absolutely no shame in reaching out to mental-health professionals to help lessen the intensity of these emotional times. “Wellness programs that focus on helping employees have good health behaviors will eventually have an impact on productivity,” says Dr. Steve Aldana, CEO of Wellsteps, a worksite wellness solution. “[A] study conducted in local governments with wellness programs in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex reported that when participating in the wellness program, 67% of employees felt more motivated at work and 65% felt they could take on more at home and work than ever before. Another study conducted at the University of California and Washington University in Saint Louis found that participation in a company wellness program increased average worker productivity by over 5 percent — roughly equivalent to adding one additional day of productive work per month for the average employee.”
So, there you have it. Prioritize health and wellness, commit to continual employee training and be clear about what is expected of your workers within the organization by being honest and transparent in all communication. Those three steps obviously involve plenty of smaller steps to make them a reality, but the result is a more resilient organization that can manage most (if not all) of life’s unpredictable twists and turns.
Written by Rhett Power.
Have you read?
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