Today's workplace extends beyond the physical office -- particularly as companies roll out mandatory work-from-home policies amidst the Covid-19 outbreak.
As new developments continue to unravel surrounding the global pandemic, it's likely that employees will need additional support to maintain their personal well-being and levels of performance employers are asking them to achieve.
Though it's true that many employees are unfortunately getting laid off, companies need to be cognizant of the fact that employee turnover is still a possibility during these times.
A recent report from Limeade (an employee experience software company) surveyed 1,000 full-time U.S. employees and found that there's one overarching factor that can be the antidote to unwanted employee turnover: organizational care.
Dr. Laura Hamill, Limeade Chief People Officer and Chief Science Officer, discussed with me the realities of care in the workplace. Specifically, how employers fall short, how a lack of care manifests in the workplace and how companies can retain top talent.
Here are three noteworthy findings from the report, as well as what organizations can do to make positive changes to their culture -- even while working remotely:
1. Nearly half of employees who have disclosed a mental health issue in the workplace have experienced a negative consequence by doing so.
Although we've seen improvements in recent years, Limeade data shows that stigmas against mental health conditions are alive and well in the workplace. Employees confided that "you get treated differently... it's a look, a feeling and even the way things are worded in talks." Another employee disclosed that "basically, I was told to suck it up and come to work."
Dr. Hamill noted that when employees struggling with mental health issues see there is an established, transparent and fair policy for handling their situation, they are more likely to find the support needed to thrive in the workplace.
She recommends that organizations train managers to not only know the policy but to have these conversations with their people in a respectful, non-judgmental way.
It's important that employees aren't treated as weak or that they are afraid of negative consequences if they are honest about where they are struggling.
Employers should also proactively offer tools and resources that support emotional well-being -- starting with policy transparency and consistency at the leadership level.
2. Employees will leave in pairs if things get bad enough.
Limeade found that only 31% of employees strongly agree that their employers care about them as individuals. And some employees who feel cast aside will encourage coworkers to leave with them -- posing a double threat to employers and proving that turnover can be contagious. As is the case, 38% percent of employees have been asked by a colleague to leave a job with them.
Dr. Hamill recommends that organizations don't rely on exit interviews. Limeade research found that 88% of respondents were truthful about why they left a job in an exit interview, but many still wished they had said something more. "These concealed details are valuable information for your organization to improve how it cares for its employees, so it's in your best interest to dig for it," noted Dr. Hamill.
Additionally, train HR representatives and managers on how to create an open and safe environment where employees not only feel empowered to provide candid feedback, but also have ample opportunity to discuss their experiences throughout their job tenure.
3. Nearly one in two (48%) employees don't believe their employers' diversity and inclusion efforts are genuine.
When employees were asked whether their companies' D&I efforts are genuine or not, some revealed that "D&I training is a 15-minute video and five-question quiz that anyone could pass." Other responses noted that "when the higher-ups all look the same, the feeling of a glass ceiling for people of color is very real."
Dr. Hamill notes that "inclusion is every employee's responsibility, not just a top-down initiative." She shared that organizations can start by showing employees what their D&I goals are, offer employee-run resource groups and bring in outside expert speakers to provide tangible ways to further the conversation.
As workplaces continue to ask their employees to work from home and do more with less, employers need to reciprocate by providing care and fostering engagement. It is so important that this care is authentic -- trust is the prerequisite for employers to reduce the impact of these kinds of negative situations.
When employees feel cared for, they are more engaged, more likely to stay at their company and more likely to recommend the company as a great place to work -- making it a win for both the company and the team.