It goes without saying that the last three years have been a hell of a ride for most employees. In the UK we’ve faced into Brexit uncertainty, a global pandemic and now a war in Europe. And in many other countries across the globe, there is a shared sense of anxiety, uncertainty and fear. Those feelings are shared by many of us regardless of whether we are at home or at work.
There is much business can do to be a force for good in the world, I genuinely believe that, but whatever kind of organisation you work in or lead one of the biggest things you can do now is to focus on the needs of your employees and to truly focus on the things that they need, rather than the things that you want them to do for you.
Whilst it won’t be an exclusive list, those things generally revolve around three key words; certainty, acceptance and care.
When there is so much disruption around us, the more that we can do to provide a single place of certainty is hugely important to our psychological wellbeing. I’ve long argued that anyone who says they, “love change” is generally talking about change they’re in control of and at the moment there is so much going on our of our control that the more we can provide boring levels of certainty for our organisations the better.
The last two years have shone a huge light on the different lives that we all lead, our differing choices, responsibilities and backgrounds. In times of significant disruption it is easier than ever to feel alone, to feel that we are the only ones that are experiences life in a certain way. Our role in not only talking about accepting difference, but showing it on a daily basis is a huge signal towards psychological safety. When the world feels fragmented, we can act as a force that brings people together for the better.
And whilst care might feel like an old fashioned word to use in terms of leadership or organisational responsibility, the value and power of it remains undiminished. Genuine care reaches beyond statements of intent, or social media posts about your latest endeavours, it operates first at the individual level and if that is absent the rest falls into insignificance.
We can’t, of course, change the world. But we can each day make it slightly better, but only if we challenge ourselves to ask what more we can do.