This roller-coaster ride
People Matter(s)Sunday, October 17, 2021
with Carolyn Bolt
Welcome! Join us as we dive into the dynamic and crucial, yet often misunderstood and barely tolerated world of Human Resources (HR).
EVERYBODY feels swamped and overextended sometimes, and with heavy workloads and ever looming deadlines, we've come to expect some amount of stress as a normal part of our work lives.
However, unrelenting pressures and a merciless pace of work have become the order of the day for many, and this is leading to more and more team members experiencing burnout, emotional exhaustion and what's now being called languishing. These are all daunting words that are becoming as frequently used as 'pivot,' 'new normal' and 'Zoom'.
What are they? In a nutshell:
•Burnout is a form of job-related stress. It includes feelings of energy depletion, cynicism about your job, as well as feelings of incompetence and lack of achievement.
•Often used when talking about burnout, emotional exhaustion is physical and mental tiredness and having difficulty concentrating — all the things that you experience when you are at capacity and completely overwhelmed.
•Languishing — it's that blah feeling where you lack motivation and have difficulty focusing on your work. It's described as feeling like you're muddling through the days and looking at life through a foggy windshield.
The common denominator for all three? They all affect team members' well-being and their individual performance, which filters into team performance and, by extension, the organisation's performance.
For team members who are battling these issues right now, the recommendations for getting back on track include:
•Cultivating a healthy work-life balance
•Having a strong support system
•Adopting a more positive outlook
•Not trying to be a superhero
•Asking for help
•Celebrating the small wins.
Sounds good and doable, right? But here's the thing…it's easier said than done.
ROUND AND ROUND WE GO
With increasing competition, rapidly changing consumer needs, and many organisations just trying to survive a pandemic, who wants to say no to a new client or opportunity?
We got the client. We took the job. Lockdowns cause crazy rush and demands. Same team, more work, more pressure. We can't afford to hire more people, we're in a pandemic. I can't afford to lose my job, we're in a pandemic.
And so, we have stressed, resentful, disengaged team members.
Interestingly, though, in the middle of the very same pandemic, some of our best talent are also walking away because their priorities and perspectives have shifted. Many have become more intentional and empowered; they're re-evaluating what work means to them and are no longer willing to endure the high levels of stress and long hours in exchange for what they consider insufficient compensation and too high a risk to their health, family life and general well-being.
To retain and attract people, some companies are raising salaries and dangling more benefits, but with The Great Resignation (the phrase coined by University Professor Anthony Klotz) happening worldwide, we have learnt that there is so much more to retention than money and perks.
MORE THAN A WALK IN THE PARK
So we come up with bright ideas to jolt employee engagement. Sure, fun activities and rah-rah speeches that are meant to motivate are good and they may inject energy for a minute and create a temporary feeling of happiness and satisfaction. However, boosting and maintaining team morale and engagement is so much more, especially when we're managing exhausted and frustrated team members.
How do we truly engage our teams? How do we inspire them to go above and beyond without being asked, despite the tough demands? How do we set our teams, and ultimately our organisations up for success?
It for sure won't be a walk in the park but it's certainly more than occasional sports days and weekly cupcakes. We're being challenged to think differently about what we can do to promote work-life balance, to communicate differently, to celebrate with our teams, to set boundaries that support them working fair hours and respecting that they are a whole human who cannot be on 24/7.
And it also means leading by example.
Talk more soon,
My name is Carolyn Bolt. HR happened upon me seven years ago, and there has been no turning back from this challenging, critical, very rewarding and often frustrating matter of people since then. Reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.