why its more important than ever to look after your people

  • 22 July 2021
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We talk about ‘employee well being’, ‘job satisfaction’ ‘happiness’ etc as if these were new models or standards sometimes - another box to tick. But of course looking after our people has never been more important - particularly after the last 18 months of course, although this has simply helped to focus on the issue. Its vital that we are good and sustainable employers, who take out employees physical and mental health seriously and act upon that. Its a good thing to do and it makes good business sense too, as engaged and fulfilled workers are known to deliver high(er) standards of work than those who are poorly treated. A sustainable work environment means that people like working there and want to stay, rather than people constantly leaving and causing high levels of attrition, higher cost of hiring etc. 

What stories do you have to support this? - or do you disagree..?


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I wrote about my own personal wellbeing experience here: https://itsm.tools/mental-health-and-wellbeing-in-it-a-personal-account/

It was the start of me leaving the company I’d work for for 16 years.

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Here are some stats related to wellbeing in IT (from last September):

  • 76% of survey respondents think that working in IT is going to get harder in the next three years 
  • 52%45% of survey respondents feel that their immediate manager is not suitably skilled to identify and deal with employee wellbeing issues of survey respondents state that working in IT has adversely affected their wellbeing to some extent
  • 69% of survey respondents state that the COVID-19 crisis adversely affected their wellbeing to some extent

Source: https://itsm.tools/the-post-covid-state-of-wellbeing-in-itsm-the-good-the-bad-and-maybe-the-ugly/

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Thanks for bringing this up @BarclayRae! I completely agree to your points and I’ve more than ever personally realised the importance of a workplace that values, respects and empathises with their employees, their life beyond the work they do. While employee well-being, satisfaction, happiness aren’t just important because of the pandemic and they have always been very important, as you rightly mentioned, it has just come to a focus now in the last 1.5 years.

Adding on to the points around sustainable work environment, the mistreatment or lack of focus around an employee’s wellbeing, the high rates of attrition can have adverse effects on a lot of others who may or may not be directly impacted by this. This can be the immediate team, the other teams that work with them and eventually it has the potential of affecting the whole organization, processes, timelines and the overall productivity. I realised this through a personal experience from a previous workplace where a colleague of mine was treated quite unfairly and didn’t receive the recognition and respect that she actually deserved. She was unhappy and the best decision for her lied in eventually quitting. Though I wasn’t directly involved in this, seeing all this happen made me feel really low in confidence, unsafe in my work environment and always doubting my abilities and work. I had to take up a lot more work now to fill in the lost resource, when in reality, I was feeling stressed about a lot of things already. With the pandemic and shift in work life, this just got worse. It took me sometime to actually process what was happening and to not blame myself for feeling this way, but rather understand what I was going through and how I can navigate through it in a better way.

Since then, it has been a journey that’s constantly a work in progress - to take care of my mental, emotional and physical health and also to find ways to take ACTUAL BREAKS (not those breaks where I feel guilty for taking them), draw boundaries when it comes to work and personal life, learning to say a NO in places where I should and to try to be vocal and honest to my own self about the way I’m feeling and to check on close ones whenever I can.

I find myself performing better and effectively when I know that I am in a place that also appreciates and values my overall well-being. Investing in your employees is one of the best decisions organizations should seriously think about and this doesn’t just end with hiring them, but also ensuring their journey with you is making them feel happy, valued and appreciated.

Completely agree @BarclayRae! This is such an important point to work toward whether that be the last 18 months or even post pandemic. Giving a day off from zoom meetings or any other small step as such in the direction definitely has a positive impact on the minds of employees. :)

 

Thanks For Sharing. I Will also share with my friends.

I  recently read an article in the BBC that  quoted Paul Young ,a former assistant psychologist in Britain’s National Health Service. Here’s what he says “I think there has been a lightbulb moment in society where young people especially are not prepared to put up with toxic work cultures and environments which are detrimental to their health,”  I think this very relevant to this discussion. Organizations have a chance to correct this and we must do it now.  

 

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Yes this is a good point Roopa. Employee satisfaction is not just about an organisation fulfilling its CSR responsibilities, but also about how it can attract and retain good people. Post pandemic there is much more awareness and scrutiny of corporate culture and how this might either attract or deter people from wanting to work there. This is a Talent Management issue as well as CSR, ethics and good management.

 

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