Is your workforce built for resiliency?
If the fallout from the pandemic-related restrictions, supply line disruptions, and Turnover Tsunami has taught us anything, it’s that you MUST build resiliency into your company and your employees to remain strong.
The state of the world has pushed people to the brink personally and professionally, leading to astronomical levels of stress.
For business leaders, that means a workforce that might be more fragile than they want to admit. Not only do they feel like they’re walking on thin ice, but there are monsters swimming under that ice, they can hear it cracking, their heads are on fire, and it’s raining gasoline.
Here’s how to build a resilient workforce.
Have the conversation: How have things changed for your employees? Do they feel overburdened or ineffective? Did they move during the big housing boom of 2021? Childcare become harder to find? Spouse lose a job or get a new one? Concerns about health, safety, job security? Are they considering a career change? The answers could have a big impact on your company’s ability to deliver. Facilitate two-way, honest conversations, and then build trust with solutions and support.
Have a backup: Many companies are running on skeleton crews. Some key functions might be entirely performed by one person. What happens when that one person is suddenly gone? You need to have a backup plan. Leverage your performance management to have your talented workers teach their skills to at least one other member of your team. Empower them to create and deliver a workshop to a small group. Ask them to identify a coworker they could mentor and train up.
Have the documentation: Even if someone isn’t fully trained, any employee should be able to muddle through if they’re provided the right tools. Assign an employee (or a small committee, depending on the size of your organization) to evaluate systems and procedures. Have them create a list of gaps. From there, managers can assign the task of filling those gaps to the person with the best expertise. Be sure your staff knows how that system works and where to access it. You’ll also want to be sure someone checks back on it every so often to keep it organized and up to date.
Have a plan … and be ready to change it: If the last two years taught us anything, it’s that plans can and will require change without much notice. Targets and goals change. Hope for the best, plan for the worst. Give your employees a structured performance management process; it will provide stability they may not otherwise feel. They’ll have a sense of direction in line with the organization’s goals. If you had those conversations mentioned earlier, you’ll also be able to include the employee’s needs, skills, and interests. That way, when (not if) a pivot is necessary, you will have a framework.
Have a champion: Whatever process or project you have, it must have a champion. The one person who ensures it gets done effectively and efficiently.
Jessica Bowers is a certified Coach2 for Catalytic Coaching Inc, which is a business partner of Energage, a Philadelphia-based employee survey firm. Energage is The Washington Post’s survey partner for Top Workplaces.