Grateful for what? Look at our world, our country, our neighborhoods. There’s fear around employment, finances and stability. There is uncertainty about being good enough. There is uncertainty about fit in the world as well as fit with those closest to us.
In the great American classic, A Night at the Roxbury, there is a tough scene where the amazingly hip brother duo of Steve and Doug, played by Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan, fall apart in their relationship. They recognize the disappointment in each other and project anger. The faux-punching and name-calling ensue. They battle frustration due to an overall lack of purpose and direction. It spills over into their attitude about everything they do…even the head-bobbing.
As human resources and management professionals, we hear these sentiments fairly regularly. Perhaps end of year budgeting mixed with the difficulty of the holiday season makes things a bit tougher. Those people might become fraught with anxiety. Fear is a powerful attack on the heart and mind, and quite often, the defender of the attack has little training on how to do fight back.
Whether it’s a behavior modification tactic or a mindfulness-based approach, there are coping mechanisms available. Most organizations do not spend the effort or money being proactive in introducing such mechanisms, but rather scurry to plan reactive meetings with each individual who expresses such pain and fear. There is a cost benefit analysis to be done to show the worthiness of a proactive initiative.
It’s rather easy to determine the costs that implementing a program with a series of training initiatives, facility space rental, refreshments, etc. will be. Most of those costs are fixed and will likely not vary much from initial agreement or contract. The other end of the analysis is a bit trickier. Think about items such as the impact to customer service, production time, the quality of workmanship, market penetration opportunities and reputation management. There are actual financial benefits to addressing fear and uncertainty. Our employees typically represent our greatest line item under liabilities, so consider that placement in determining whether offering such coping mechanism options are worth it.
There is a great soapbox to stand upon and tout the “ridiculousness” of offering such support from the workplace. All arguments are not awful and the philosophies are not necessarily misguided. The workplace isn’t a babysitter, a therapist or a doctor, but it does find itself in those situations due the current environment. Homes are fractured, people are dealing with financial ruin, disease is ravaging our communities, and more. The people who live those realities are working in our factories and offices. What do you think they can do with those truths? Keep them bottled up for 8-10 hours per day?
Shed light on it. Good culture is built upon health, so poor culture is built upon what? Whether you’re saying fear, uncertainty, communication issues, etc., it is un-health and it translates into an impact on our companies. It’s no wonder that our management staff is being called upon to respond to life’s fears. Just as any process impairment would be addressed on a manufacturing line, so too, should any personnel impairment, which does impact production and service provision. Get the right tools out to the people that need it.
Invest in some training for management as well as some offerings for staff. Many organizations have access to such support through brokerages, insurance carriers or local professional organizations. A company may not even know that an opportunity is in the arsenal; check your policies and your affinity groups.
At the end of the day, everybody has some level of hurt going on. The manifestation of such hurt can vary. As human resources and management professionals can attest, staff carry some heavy burdens that others might have no clue about. We can provide an outlet to deal with such truths for our people and to encourage a healthy approach to work.
Imagine looking out over the manufacturing floor or cubicle village to the well-adjusted staff bobbing their heads to the uplifting music in their heads. Success? I think so.