The pandemic presented companies with the opportunity to genuinely invest in employee well-being and have a framework in place that reacts to their concerns. It’s time for employee-centric policies to become a fundamental component of how businesses operate in the long run.
Empathy is no longer a "feel-good" aspect, but a strategic necessity. It is a key driver of employee outcomes such as innovation, engagement, and inclusiveness, particularly during times of crisis.
In the last 20 months, the way we work has been evolving - going from a completely remote scenario to now gradually moving to a hybrid format. As we step into 2022, the pandemic continues to be a learning curve for businesses as they navigate new challenges and solutions.
The impact of this evolving work dynamic has driven a renewed focus towards employee well-being for businesses everywhere. Healthy and happy employees not only have a better quality of life and increased work productivity, they are also more likely to positively contribute to society. Even as lines between work and life continue to blur, the case for prioritising mental, emotional, and physical wellness in the workplace has never been stronger.
From a business perspective, it’s not about productivity alone. Organisations that adopt mental wellness initiatives also increase employee loyalty, innovation, and ownership.
As we approach a new work reality – one that is finding the right balance between physical and remote working – organisations must look for more in-depth and tangible ways to understand what employees require in order to feel supported, more empowered and heard.
Empathetic leadership must take centre-stage
The relevance of holistic mental well-being has been widely recognised globally, putting the spotlight on empathetic leadership. Empathy is no longer a "feel-good" aspect, but a strategic necessity. It is a key driver of employee outcomes such as innovation, engagement, and inclusiveness, particularly during times of crisis. Studies suggest that over 76% of employees who reported their managers to be empathetic felt more engaged, innovative and motivated at work. The focus of the 'new work' paradigm should be on purpose, fulfillment, and employee well-being. As leaders, creating a healthy communication channel for employees not only results in increased levels of passion and motivation across teams, but is also a vital component of a thriving work environment.
Evolving needs, evolving solutions
While mental wellness has always been a critical aspect of human resource functions, the pandemic’s influence on employee wellness requires more agile, and innovative responses from organisations today. Working nimbly, receiving feedback with an open mind, and course-correcting positively can have a far reaching impact in ensuring a lasting employee experience that prioritizes wellbeing. By offering benefits like free online therapy or counselling sessions or training executives on compassionate leadership, businesses can further nurture employee well-being and promote workplace resilience.
A large number of empirical studies confirm that positive social connections at work produce highly desirable results. Taking proactive steps towards building a culture of well-being that enables transparent communication, empowers employees to speak up, and creates a culture of holistic well-being can have a far-reaching impact. Learning to work flexibly as a team without bureaucratic or departmental boundaries, as well as breaking down silos will further enhance healthy communication and collaboration at a time when it is needed the most.
Putting people and wellness first
People management is a skill, leadership is the mastery of many more. As leaders and people managers, one of the prime responsibilities we shoulder is encouraging employees to take enough time off or breaks to recharge and avoid burnout. At BYJU'S, our top priority is to build a culture of holistic well-being. This means going beyond physical health and taking into account other factors— emotional, mental and social well being. Apart from Initiatives like BYJU’S Let’s Talk, an employee wellness programme that provides access to 24x7 one-on-one online counselling, we also have regular check-ins and virtual meetups where employees can connect with each other, fostering a culture of trust, support, and flexibility.
While the pandemic has completely upended the way businesses operate, it has given companies the opportunity to genuinely invest in employee well being and have a framework in place that reacts to their concerns. It is imperative that leaders lay the foundations for employee-centric policies to become a fundamental component of how businesses operate in the long run.