By Dr. Mukesh Gandhi, Founder and CEO, Creative Synergies Group
The pandemic and its overarching uncertainties have prompted a new crop of talent who come with a lot more expectations from a job in order to fend for themselves. And rightfully so. The last two years have ushered in a structural shift in the labour market as employees have become firmer with their values. It is simply not enough for companies to put out hiring posts/messages anymore. Employee retention relies on well-being and the post-covid era of talent isn’t up for compromise.
As India’s IT sector is on the lookout to fill in the 5 lakh talent gap, businesses need to plan and implement well-rounded initiatives. A global report from Mercer found that winning organisations increasingly focus on inclusive and relatable well-being programmes.
The empathy factor humanises a business, driving existing employees to stay and prospective employees to be drawn to the brand. A recent talent trends report found that having a sense of belonging, having fun at work, and feeling valued for contributions influence employees’ wellness.
But well-being is a broad term and not understanding its intricacies can result in programs that merely glaze over subjects that require a lot more attention. Let’s review how brands can tackle these challenges.
Moving beyond welcome kits
Nurturing an inclusive and welcoming environment calls for more than just welcome kits and introductions. While these add to employee morale, ensuring that they feel included demands more. According to a Deloitte study, poor team culture and lack of inclusivity and accountability severely impact employee well-being.
Simply put, businesses need to cultivate an inclusive culture. For instance, laying out and communicating policies around flexible work, maternity leave etc., can help employees understand the organisation’s values and intent.
It is crucial for companies to highlight the need for inclusivity, allow employees to celebrate differences, and ensure that policies aren’t just words on a paper.
Most employees are interested in their employer’s commitment towards making positive changes, regardless of the time it takes to get there. Cultivating a culture that is receptive to change has the potential to boost the morale of existing employees while welcoming new talent.
Empathise and engage with employees
81% employees in 2022 report being at the risk of burnout, with gen-z and millennials making up the majority. Mental health could often be overlooked because the signs aren’t always obvious. An employee could be meeting all their targets while fighting mental health conditions that don’t meet the eye. When businesses don’t recognise and help address mental health concerns, it can lead to burnout.
The workload, social connections, financial stress, and personal stressors govern an employees’ mental health according to Deloitte. Some of these aspects may be beyond a company’s ability to address, but simply showing support towards mental well-being can go a long way.
Employees are also scared of the stigma around mental health discussions and could shy away from expressing what’s on their mind. What businesses can do is create an environment that is safe and void of judgement.
A 2022 report suggests that job aspirants search for DE&I and mental health related policies of a company before applying. Organising programs structured around discussing burnout and other mental health struggles and documenting the progress could be the gateway to inviting new talent.
Factor in Feedback
Since well-being is subjective to each person, it can help for business to understand the expectations of the employees. This exercise has the potential to spawn ideas for new initiatives, tweak, or cease projects that aren’t working and assess what lies ahead.
Feedback breeds progress and keeps businesses accountable. A study suggests that relatable organisations are always on ‘listening mode,’ looking for effective feedback and recalibrating accordingly.
Scheduled feedback sessions allow businesses to make real-time adjustments and stay on track with their commitments. Whether it is through team dialogues, discussions, surveys, or employee resource groups, the insights drawn matter more.
Be flexible and adapt
The pandemic drove people into rethinking their priorities such as work-life balance, flexibility, inclusive environment and more. As millennials transition into leadership roles and Gen-Z enters the workforce, hiring strategies can benefit from reassessment.
Employees are also doing more, such as upskilling, reskilling and planning ways to stay ahead of the curve. Old hiring strategies falling short are an indication for businesses to pay attention to employee values.
Globally, 41% C-suite leaders realise that the fundamental shift in business requires a complete reset around work, the workforce, and the workplace. While several businesses have made strides in this aspect by introducing data-driven wellness solutions, there is still scope for improvement. And 2023 could be the year where well-being initiatives take the front seat.