I know mental health is a scary topic for many leaders. But it doesn’t have to be. Scary is doing nothing while 45% of your employees are likely experiencing some level of mental health impact due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Clearly a heightened level of anxiety will make it more challenging for teams to achieve high-performance during this crisis.
After this pandemic clears, I predict we will have an incredible amount of data about the significant, negative impact of a pandemic on mental health. People are worried about their health, their livelihood, their retirement savings and the global economy.
Research shows the Spanish flu had a significant impact on mental health. Research on the Montreal ice storm in the 1990s shows a connection between the stress expectant mothers felt during delivery and the altered DNA, increased risk of disease and growth and development implications for their children. Leaders have an opportunity to help their employees today, while potentially also helping future generations.
Are you going to take the opportunity to get ahead of what you already know will be true?
Your people are suffering. While 73% of companies are executing their business continuity plan, only 13% of companies have collected data on how employees are doing. There are two powerful ways to support your team during a crisis.
Collect employee feedback.
Many people on your team are struggling with the human experience of work, during a time when high-performance is vital to accomplish your goals. It is very helpful to first collect data to figure out where the biggest problems lie. Are you collecting data to identify the teams and leaders who are struggling in this crisis environment?
Liz Guthridge, a Master Certified Executive Coach and co-author of “Leading People Through Disasters” sums it up well. “This covid-19 pandemic is creating so much uncertainty and chaos, exponentially more than other natural disasters. We can’t see the virus, we don’t know how long it will last, and we don’t know how we’ll come out of it. Employers can’t promise anything, but they can listen to employees, ideally through surveys, structured interviews or other means. That’s a win/win for employers and employees alike. Employers gather some useful data, and employees feel seen, heard and connected.”
Cultivate psychological safety.
Guarding Minds at Work offers a comprehensive set of online resources to help organizations cultivate psychological health and safety. Psychological safety refers to environmental factors in an organization that increase risk of injury to psychological health and well-being. Guarding Minds at Work helps leaders understand their critical role in increasing psychological safety by encouraging an environment of dignity, respect, integrity, autonomy and fairness for all employees.
Dr. Jamie Madigan is an experienced Industrial-Organizational psychologist who creates leadership assessments at LeaderAmp. According to Dr. Madigan, “people in environments with high degrees of psychological safety should feel more comfortable asking for help with their mental issues or advocating for others in need of help.” This is critical in an environment of remote working where it’s even more challenging to recognize the signs of anxiety and stress, things people are unlikely to talk about in the first place.
We want to help you collect employee feedback and cultivate psychological safety.
As a service to the community, SupportingLines is offering a complimentary version of our High-Performance Index™ assessment as part of a global study in partnership with Adler University. This study combines our High-Performance Index™ with a psychological safety assessment from Guarding Minds at Work and the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale. For clarity, you can run a company-wide survey to assess performance and psychological safety at no cost.
SupportingLines helps teams cultivate high-performance, meaning that we not only achieve goals but also create a more positive human experience of work. Given the prevalence of mental health issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic, promoting psychological safety is even more important.
If we work together, we can help your organization cultivate high-performance in a crisis.
If you’d like to hear more about this topic and how employee feedback will help you get through a crisis, tune in to our upcoming webinar: