CoAdvantage- How well can your workforce weather unexpected events and disruptions? That’s how resilient it is. Less resilient teams tend to suffer more harms as the result of disruptions. Research from industry advisory group Gartner found that the pandemic, for example, significantly increased burnout and reduced trust in colleagues and leaders. The more resilient your workforce, the less vulnerable it will be to such harms.
Productivity can also be impacted but should not be viewed as the sole indicator of resiliency. Molly Tipps, senior director in the Gartner HR practice, says, “Many leaders have looked at productivity to gauge how employees have done during the pandemic. While HR leaders and employees report that productivity has maintained or improved since the onset of COVID-19, the cost has been substantial declines across many workforce health elements.”
What’s the solution?
In general, workforce agility and flexibility are key to resiliency. In other words, the ability to adapt to new and changing circumstances is what makes the workforce more resilient against disruption with minimal negative impacts.
That requires employers to equip their workers with the skills, resources, and support needed to remain flexible, healthy, and productive.
This may be why Business Group Health, an advocacy group for health care policy, in its 12th Annual Employer-Sponsored Health & Well-being Survey, found that interest in resiliency programs designed to support employee mental and emotional health have skyrocketed in popularity, from 49% of respondents offering such programs in 2020 to 85% planned for 2022.
Here are four ways employers can start making their teams more resilient today.
1: Allow flexible schedules.
Flexible schedules give employees an improved ability to juggle competing demands. When an unexpected event arises, if they can move their work schedules around, they’ll be better equipped to handle both the disruption and their workload. Interestingly, research has found that workers granted more schedule autonomy also tend to work more hours overall.
One way to ease a transition into a flex scheduling environment: focus on outputs rather than total hours worked.
2: Allow remote working options (not necessarily 100% WFH)
The ability to work from home clearly proved crucial during the pandemic, when gathering in the workplace posed clear and direct health risks. That doesn’t mean workers should always work from home, but the ability to do so gives both the employer and the employee more options when responding to unexpected events.
As mentioned above, don’t think about remote working solely in terms of productivity. Its ability to keep workers working at all in certain situations can outweigh short-term losses in day-to-day productivity.
3: Help employees deal with secondary impacts from unforeseen events.
If you want to maxmize your workforce resiliency, you might need to take steps to help them cover secondary effects of disruption. A great example here is childcare. Not only were workplaces disrupted when the pandemic struck, so were schools. That left working parents juggling both jobs and their kids. Offerings like a stipend that can help cover childcare expenses can help enormously here.
Similarly, wellness and mental health programs can be enormously valuable in helping employees to cope with the difficulties inherent in disruption.
4: Get help.
Cian O’Morain, director in the Gartner HR practice, says, “Our research uncovered that one of the biggest drivers of workforce resilience is leaders themselves.” But leaders can be overwhelmed by disruption just as easily as their employees and find themselves at a loss for what to do.
Just as HR played a pivotal role in helping organizations to navigate the early pandemic, reaching out for expert third-party HR help can ultimately pay dividends in bolstering workforce resilience.
CoAdvantage, one of the nation’s largest Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), helps small to mid-sized companies with HR administration, benefits, payroll, and compliance. To learn more about CoAdvantage’s ability to create a strategic HR function in your business that drives business growth potential, contact us today.