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Workforce Report | Creating Stable Work Environments

September 22nd, 2022

Leading an organization through times of upheaval and uncertainty taxes even the most seasoned professional. When there are more questions than available answers, how can you provide a stable and productive workplace for your team?

There are a few building blocks to have in place:

  • Resources and tools for success are critical.  Dedicate the appropriate technology and training to equip your team for productivity, and update when needed.
  • Communication should be frequent and honest. We tend to force positivity as a morale booster in the workplace. However, transparency and context will help build the trust necessary for a more stable environment.
  • Be authentic in your connection. Lead from a place of hopefulness and optimism, reminding your employees how they make a difference in the work.

Adapt to Change

As a business leader, you are often simultaneously experiencing changes, while steering the organization through the process.  You will likely encounter those who are resistant to change and express fear or mistrust of “the new way”.  According to the Center for Creative Leadership, consider the VIEW model:

  • Visionary. Focus on today’s results while also imagining the future. Be willing to challenge the status quo, take calculated risks, and anticipate the unexpected.
  • Inspiring. Sell the vision and its benefits. Be passionate, model the intended change, and encourage employees to join the changing future.
  • Enthusiastic. Maintain a positive, focused attitude that energizes others to overcome barriers. Be persistent and involve others to collaborate.
  • Wise. Exude business acumen and knowledge of the organization, its people, and its processes. Be able to anticipate and address issues as a problem solver.

And remember that when leading people through times of change, it is critical to understand what your team may be thinking. Can you answer the following?

  1. What is happening? 
  2. Why is it happening? 
  3. How will this affect me and my job? 
  4. What’s the plan for getting there? 

Resilience at Work

The last two years have more than tested our ability to be resilient. Keeping future-focused and strong-willed, in the face of adversity can be personally and professionally exhausting. In fact, while essential, there is a bit of a pushback on “resilience” in the workplace.  In all fairness, “how much more resilient can I be?” is a good question!

How can leaders balance the tricky nature of promoting resiliency while acknowledging the collective emotional toll?

The Harvard Business Review offers the following guidance:

  • The resources they can offer in support of employee resilience. These might include paid therapy services, paid leave, forming and taking suggestions from employee resource groups, and creating a work environment where employees can voice their concerns and needs without fear of retaliation.
  • The types of behaviors they reward, signal what they value and want their subordinates to prioritize. This includes not only support for specific behaviors, such as help-seeking but the development of a culture that rewards learning from mistakes. Developing a culture that supports employees’ voices and learning enhances the capacity for resilience.
  • The types of accommodations they offer signal an understanding that adversity may alter what employees can produce and when. Employees are humans, not robots. Adjusting individual or team expectations in acknowledgment of a challenge demonstrates respect for employees’ humanity while creating an environment that makes resilience possible.
  • The space they make for a range of employee emotions. Specifically, avoid setting the expectation that people should only experience positive emotions during adversity, or, equally damaging, that they should have no emotional response to a significant challenge. Implicitly or explicitly asking employees to present as unaffected in a difficult situation requires employees to use internal resources to manage impressions instead of using those resources toward overcoming the challenge at hand. Supporting healthy emotional expression is also a part of acknowledging the humanity of employees.

Join us on October 27th For our next Experience Series as we continue the conversation: Building Workplace Culture | The Role of the Employer

Kelly Fuller Headshot

Kelly Fuller 
Vice President of Talent & Workforce Development 
KellyFuller@columbus.org