It’s not surprising that employees are more anxious, stressed, concerned, and fearful after what everyone has gone through over the past 20 months. The uncertainty created by the pandemic around our social, professional, and financial lives has created a level of burnout we haven’t seen before. The continuous change we’re facing is taking its toll on employee wellbeing.
A recent survey from Korn Ferry found that 81% of professionals say they are more anxious than they were at the beginning of the pandemic. According to Mark Royal, a Korn Ferry Senior Director, “As Covid cases continue to surge, many of us are being asked to do more with fewer resources and less help, and that’s taking a toll. Leaders must not only work with their teams to help prioritize responsibilities, they also need to take care of themselves.”
Many companies have seen the changes taking place and are actively working to implement employee well-being programs. More than 80% of large companies have programs in place, but they are still learning what employees need. The programs are a great starting point but they are not always meeting the needs of the employees.
Korn Ferry’s Leadership & Wellbeing Product Manager, Alaina Burden, notes that “A company’s success depends on healthy, motivated employees. But the topic of personal energy is often absent from wellbeing conversations.” The idea is to create a culture of positive employee wellbeing, and that is rooted in energy. Energy is what motivates us, fuels our passions, feeds our health, and empowers us when we know our contributions are appreciated.
Through their new whitepaper, Optimizing Personal Energy, Korn Ferry outlines five pillars to sustain wellbeing and performance. Below we take a brief look at each.
Awareness of the present moment enables us to see situations for what they are and reduces our autopilot or habitual reactions to circumstances that may have set us off in the past. This practice is also called mindfulness and requires that we work on being present, as we are accustomed to being in our own heads. One recommendation is meditation, even if it is just for a few minutes each day, it helps us slow down and pay attention.
Resilience is something we build throughout life. It takes practice to bounce back from adversity. Think of Thomas Edison’s quote when working on the lightbulb, “I have not failed, I’ve found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” This is the type of positive mindset that drives personal success and professional innovation. It’s too easy to go to a worst-case scenario, taking a moment to analyze your situation will often lead you to new ideas and approaches.
As human beings, we are a social species. We learn early on we can’t go it alone, and creating relationships is vital to our energy. What social media has reinforced is that it isn’t about the number of friends we have, it’s about the quality of our relationships. When we genuinely care about those around us, through empathy and compassion, we build not just our energy, but theirs as well.
We are all motivated and inspired by different things. Each of us has our own set of talents and values and these drive the decisions we make professionally and personally. Now more than ever, people are choosing to align their professional lives with their values. This doesn’t mean we all have to be altruistic, but reassessing what we do, how we do it, and when we do it, can raise our job satisfaction as our work is more intentional and meaningful to our lives.
Many of us were able to reassess our routine during the pandemic. And research supports detaching from work when you’re not at work. We are not robots and our brains, as well as our bodies, need time to recharge. When you turn off your work, you’ll find that you sleep better, your emotional health improves, and you are more productive when you are in the office.
There is much more detail in the whitepaper if you’d like to read more. And if you have questions on building a culture that supports these five pillars and how executives can lead by example, send us a note.