Onboarding Factor #3: Employee Wellness
We’ve addressed the first two critical factors of the “new” onboarding in our blog series: remote and distanced, respectively. Both of these factors posed the intrinsic challenge of proximity in the post-2020 world of onboarding. Although these obstacles were difficult and painstaking for organizations of all sizes, we rallied like we’ve never rallied before. And it showed. Within a matter of months, the remote world of work seemed less catastrophic and considerably more manageable than it had been during the early part of 2020. But what about employee wellness? If you’re concerned about new hire or employee wellness, keep reading.
This week, we continue our “New Onboarding Factors” blog series with a laser focus on the third factor: employee wellness. Click Boarding defines “wellness” as a person’s emotional health and well-being. This often leads to the identification and prevention of employee loneliness and isolation. In this feature, we examine how COVID-19 created a chasm that spurred an influx of loneliness, anxiety and isolation in workers transitioning to a fully remote environment. Unfortunately, the pandemic only exacerbated these feelings with social distancing, quarantining and other precautionary measures.
Onboarding Factor #3: Wellness
Addressing employee well-being & mental health
Companies and employees alike struggled – and continue to struggle – to maintain feelings of connection, togetherness and team camaraderie. In fact, HR Executive Magazine reported a 48% spike in the risk of depression between November and December 2020 alone.
Additionally, employee focus dropped a shocking 62% which the article reports was a record low since the middle of second quarter 2020. This data isn’t surprising. Employees across the globe and in every industry have been traumatized by pandemic’s far-reaching impact. Gartner brings two very concerning data points to light in their ReimagineHR Employee Survey about remote employees who are physically distanced from their co-workers:
- 41% don’t feel connected to colleagues
- 26% feel isolated with from co-workers
The study recommended managers collaborate with their HR team to learn the signs and symptoms of emotional distress. By recognizing these signals, managers at all levels can more easily detect when an employee might be in trouble and need help.
The topic of employee well-being and mental health surfaced numerous times during last year’s HR Tech Symposium. To test our hypothesis of employee wellness being an earnest concern for leaders, Click live-polled our audience. With the havoc COVID has wreaked upon all of us, it was a welcome validation that employee wellness was the #1 concern of HR attendees at this global conference.
HR evangelist Jess Von Bank, one of Click’s guest speakers, underscored the vital importance of building trust through psychological safety. “There’s no doubt that mental health awareness has risen amidst shutdowns, social distancing and the lingering uncertainties in our daily lives. Just look at the rise in therapeutic mobile app adoption rates throughout 2020!” She said this was not the case prior to the pandemic. “Now, employees expect their employers to pay attention.”
Click couldn’t agree more. Today’s organizations – large and small – need to understand how to spot the signs of employee isolation and loneliness. These are real, raw and stressful feelings. If your employees are suffering, it’s your responsibility to establish and build trust with employees through a psychological safety net.
Von Bank readily aligned with this sentiment. “I think checking in with your team and understanding where people are at goes a long way. Don’t just ask whether they have the physical equipment and tools they need. Ask them if they’re okay and if, as an employee, they feel they can fully show up to work.” COVID created real issues that continue to impact families in very direct and painful ways, and ignoring this as a company will only hurt your organization in the long run.
Also weighing in on the vital importance of employee’s psychological safety was Don McPherson, 12 Geniuses founder and co-speaker at Click’s deep-dive webinar. “It’s a fact that people bring their full selves to work. That’s why we need to give them the time and space they need to decompress and react, especially now” he clarified. “Give your employees the space to feel what’s going on, and let them express themselves in a healthy, positive way.”
Tactical opportunities for you & your team
In a recent Gallup workplace article, the firm reinforces the fact that employee engagement and a positive wellbeing “are highly reciprocal, with each influencing the future state of the other to a similar degree.” In order to be effective in your efforts – especially now – you have to put a plan in action.
Not sure where to start? Not a problem! You can depend on Click’s employee journey experts to offer a few tactics for your organization to consider:
- Establish an “open door” policy
For open communication across every level of the organization, an open-door policy lets employees know you’re approachable and willing to listen. It normalizes cross-functional meetings and breaks down silos.
- Check in with new hires and employees early & often
The sheer impact the pandemic has had on our everyday lives continues to be overwhelming. Keep this top of mind, and make a point to connect with your new hires and employees regularly. Whether it’s weekly one-on-one conversations or bi-weekly pulse checks, this connection is vital. Employees are struggling and will continue to be challenged by the changes the pandemic has produced.
- Tackle manager burnout head on
There’s no doubt the level of stress, added responsibilities and the pandemic in general have increased manager burnout. Get ahead of the fatigue by openly sharing strategies to engage remotely with your colleagues and professional network. And don’t forget to take time to recharge on a regular basis!
- Allow for personal time & space
Understand that both new hires and employees alike may need extra time and space for emotional health in general. Recognize this is a priority for your organization, and show your team that you support them during this time.
Jess Von Bank said it best when it comes to employee wellness as a new onboarding factor. “We don’t talk about mental wellness at work or even generally speaking enough. We need to check in with our employees, not just to see what they need on a day-to-day basis, but if they’re actually okay.” By keeping employee and new hire wellness top of mind, your remote employees will be happier and more apt to engage, contribute and bring value to the organization.
Wellness: the bottom line
Now more than ever, your employees and your new hires expect more from you and your organization. With mental health, wellness and well-being all challenged by the uncertainty created by the pandemic, it’s up to leaders at all levels to recognize the warning signs.
As the results from our live-poll clearly indicate, employee wellness is an integral factor of a successful onboarding program. Click recommends making the connection with your new hires and employees a priority, especially now, and continue to reinforce these connections whenever possible.
If your company is ready to become fully remote, trust Click Boarding to deliver! Our professional team of experts will listen to your specific business requirements and build a fully digital, seamless and compliant process for your new hires. You’ve been waiting for this win, and Click is excited to be a part of it with you!