Digital transformation in the workplace is well underway and it’s significantly changing the way people work. As a result, employers are changing how they provide the training and wellness support necessary to ensure a healthy and vibrant workforce. This need was pronounced over the past year and a half as the world battled a pandemic and quickly adapted to a remote and distributed way of working. What becomes evident as organizations go through this transformation is that employers must abandon the traditional one-size-fits-all approach to employee training and wellness. That is to say that employers need to meet their people where they are and offer streamlined connectivity tools, customized learning and development and a wellness focused environment. Here are the three strategies that any company can put in place to start moving in the right direction.
Help Employees Manage Work-Life Balance
It goes without saying that work-life balance is important for every employee at any time. However, this need is even more pronounced in a hybrid workforce where the lines between work and home can start to blur. While remote work can ease the commuting burden and offer more flexibility to employees, the blurring of lines can also quickly start to take a toll on employee mental health.
One important way to alleviate this concern is to focus on streamlining your digital tools. It’s important for leaders to recognize that digital tools are vital for effective communication but can also become a burden if not deployed properly. It wasn’t long after the explosion of video conference calls that the term “zoom fatigue” was coined. One study by the director of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab Jeremy Bailenson suggested the main causes of fatigue included the increased amounts of close-up eye gaze, excessive self-evaluation from staring at video of oneself, and the lack of physical mobility.
With this knowledge, we can help employees better manage their digital resources. This could be installing a digital adoption solution to help them better utilize their digital technologies in a way that saves them time and effort, rather than adding to their stress. It can even be as simple as implementing pop-ups in your work email system so that if an employee starts to write an email on a weekend or a holiday, pop-ups serve as a reminder that perhaps work can wait.
New Work Models, New Training Methods
Providing consistent training to help employees build new skills is another important way to foster workplace wellness and engagement. In fact, substantial investments need to be made for training and education programs to equip employees with the skills required to help them and the organization excel now and into the future.
However, the one-size-fits-all approach to learning no longer works. Microlearning is a better approach for allowing employees to learn on their own terms. This method is all about delivering short, bite-sized, and narrowly focused pieces of learning content to learners, which can be absorbed quickly. This approach looks at the objective of learning and provides just the right amount of information required to achieve that specific goal, making it valuable especially for employee training.
A study from Xavier University School of Medicine in Toronto found smaller lessons help people retain knowledge for longer periods of time. Employees can capture information through various formats such as texts, infographics, videos, audio, quizzes and more, making it a great instructional approach to engage the modern-day workforce. It offers absolute freedom to learners to engage at their own pace and interest level.
The Power of Workplace Empathy
The most important challenge is making sure that your employees come first, and that they know it. This starts with showing employees that you understand and appreciate that their lives and personalities may not revolve around work. Empathy has emerged as a key ingredient for workplaces to succeed during these unprecedented times. Leaders should prioritize events and programs where people can take some time and connect with each other on a personal level. When planning to improve inter-team and cross-team collaboration, it’s important for all teams to get to know each other better and not talk shop. This is another area where you can get creative. Time away from work is critical for workplace wellness. Try hosting events, offering mental health sessions, sharing supportive resources or distributing regular surveys to gauge employee sentiment. It’s all about showing employees that you care and empathize with their needs.
The notion of a hybrid workforce is still relatively new and it’s a reality that companies are still experimenting with to find the best practices to promote employee wellness and engagement. It’s not about getting it all right from day one, but about prioritizing wellness in a workplace as the key to talent engagement and retention.