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null From COVID to conflict and climate change: Supporting teams through continued uncertainty


October 10th is World Mental Health Day, dedicated to raising awareness of mental health and driving positive change globally.

As economic uncertainty and geopolitical instability topple skills shortages in the list of concerns facing CEOs for the first time since 2019, we are reminded that organisations do not operate in a vacuum.

And workers are feeling the effects. A study by the CIPDfound that nearly four-fifths (79%) of respondents reported some stress-related absence in their organisation over the last year.

The question is no longer whether organisations should support their teams. A growing number of workers are willing to turn down opportunities from organisations that do not align with their values, which includes a clear commitment to their health and wellbeing.

With uncertainty the only certainty, organisations must shift from ad-hoc strategies and instead embed resiliency into their operations, allowing them to continually evolve in the face of uncertainty. Here’s our top tips:


Learn from previous crises

The coronavirus pandemic offered a steep learning curve for many organisations, who were required to adjust to rapidly changing expectations from employees, including financial, physical and mental health provisions.
While each event requires a tailored response, some common coping mechanisms resurface.
An enduring lesson from the pandemic is the importance of clear, timely communication during a crisis. After two years of communicating changes in legislation and amends to public-health guidance, employers should have an indication as to how frequently your employees expect or need contact, as well as their preferred method for receiving news, such as statements from the CEO or informal discussion forums to share their thoughts.
Whichever method you select for your organisation, you’ll need to communicate three vital points of interestto your teams:
  • Messages to employees in locally affected areas, whose physical safety may be threatened by the crisis.
  • Messages to employees regarding the support systems available to help them cope with the crisis.
  • Messages that inform employees about the actions the organisation is taking in response to the crisis.  
Determining who creates, sends and responds to these messages' links to a second key lesson: the importance of carefully crafted teams to act as the nerve-centre of your organisation. These high-performing, cross-functional teams can increase your agility in responding to disruption or devastation.


Leverage your technology

HR tech has an important role to play in helping businesses to meet employee expectations. Primarily, tech offers a means to stay connected. Leaders can lean into the capabilities of virtual assistants and chatbots to engage with their workforce.
Advances in Artificial Intelligence also enable a greater level of understanding amongst teams. AI-enabled workplace analytics that analyse company data can help identify those who are struggling.
Running silently in the background, these tools can detect earning signs of stress or burnout that may be missed by managers when working remotely. Armed with an array of data, managers can reconnect individuals with their peers, or signpost them to relevant support services to help mitigate or manage the impact of the crisis on their wellbeing.


Create an outlet for action

Organisations are often best placed to generate the momentum required to coordinate the additional financial, material or human resources that a crisis demands.
By centralising your response to devastating or disruptive events, organisations can channel the collective power of people. This could include distributing a list of charities to allow individuals to make personal donations or allowing employees additional time off to support volunteering efforts.
And with 65% of workers wanting to work for organisations with a strong social and environmental conscience, companies must consider their impact on wider society, or risk alienating the talent they need.

Sharing the burden of stress

As we collectively navigate an uncertain future, the leaders who proactively manage or mitigate the effects of stress will benefit from engaged teams with improved retention rates, enabling them to thrive in a more complex world of work.
To discuss how we can enhance your Employer Value Proposition, including your commitments to health and wellbeing, talk to the team at Enterprise Solutions today.