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Good communication is foundational to employee wellness

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Communication, communication, communication! This can make or break any employee wellbeing initiative.
Good communication is foundational to employee wellness

In the previous blogs in this series, I discussed the importance of revisiting corporate mental health initiatives (Post-pandemic, mental health initiatives need to evolve and How the right kind of employee engagement can prevent burnout) to ensure that they are fit for purpose for the post-pandemic environment, and especially to prevent burnout, which has been greatly exacerbated since Covid-19. Underlying all this is good communication.

The post-pandemic hybrid working environment has made it even more challenging for senior managers to stay connected with their teams in a manner that allows them to fully appreciate the professional and personal challenges that members are facing. Never has the need for good communication been greater. For the communication to be effective, however, companies will do well to revisit their approaches to ensure that they are indeed engaging with their employees in a meaningful way.

Employees want this kind of engagement. The Firstup global survey of 23,105 respondents finds that 38% want their employers to create a better line of communication between executives and employees, and 20% want company communications and messages delivered to the places they spend their workday in. The latter expectation of employees with regards to communication is important; broad brush, generic communication needs to give way to more personalized methods.

38% want a better line of communication between executives and employees

It’s also imperative that business leaders and senior managers remain committed and true to their word when it comes to engaging with employees. The survey finds that while leaders often say they believe in an open-door policy, employees don’t necessarily see a true “open door”. Additionally, employees feel that they would have a better experience if they had visibility into the company’s decision-making and its direction of travel. 

20% want company communications and messages delivered to the places they spend their workday

It’s understandable. Often it’s the fear of the unknown that is the biggest cause of anxiety and stress – transparency from the leadership can do a long way in allaying concerns that employees might have.

So, what can companies do in real terms?

  • Communicate. Communication is foundational to employee wellness. Employee assistance programs suffer from an awareness problem. Even if a company offers an EAP program, many employees don’t know it exists. Companies should continue communicating their wellness programs and benefits through the channels that employees spend time in to ensure that the offerings and messages reach them. 
  • Candid conversations. Opening lines of communication to enable employees to discuss their mental health and burnout concerns is important. Providing opportunities for frank conversations where employees can feel comfortable and safe discussing mental health issues can go a long way in helping them. Many mental health experts will corroborate that sometimes, just being able to “voice” worries to an empathetic listener can help ease anxiety. Thereafter, managers and employees can agree on the best course of action – be that reducing workload, giving time off, or any other measures. 
  • Walk the talk. Cultural change needs to be driven from the top, and business leaders need to lead by example. When employees see their managers prioritizing their own wellness, they are more likely to be comfortable doing the same. It demonstrates to them that mental health and employee wellbeing are genuine objectives of the company.

Want to learn more? Listen in as Firstup’s Brittany Barhite, Communications Director, and Rupert Coghlan, Principal Solutions Consultant, consider what companies can do to further support employees…and it’s not more yoga!  During their discussion, they shared the latest research findings on how employees actually feel and laid out practical steps that can be taken to overhaul wellness and mental health programs.

 

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Brittany Barhite

Brittany Barhite

Dr. Brittany Barhite is the Communication and Employee Experience Director at Firstup. She has more than 16 years of experience in employee, leadership and external communications. Prior to Firstup, Brittany handled internal communications for a Fortune 500 company, overseeing employee and executive communications. Her experience and education provide a fresh internal communications approach that is focused on creative storytelling and transforming the employee digital experience.

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