In last month’s Newsletter, we discussed how home life and work life are very intertwined. This month, we want to take that conversation a bit further and discuss Psychological Safety to discuss COVID’s impacts on the workforce, as you consider what the Future of Work looks like for your organization. If you haven’t yet picked up a copy of Timothy R. Clark’s book The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety, you should. Let’s explore how each of the four stages relates to discussions on navigating Remote Work/Return to Work conversations:
Humans have a need to connect and to belong. Whether this is in the workplace or in the Community, we all want to belong to something beyond our individual capabilities, though the something varies person to person. Asking your employees their opinions and perspectives on the Future of Work is a big deal. Not doing so is an even bigger (and detrimental) one. Create space where employees can collaborate. Feeling connected, whether in person or virtually allows employees to feel that they can contribute at a higher level and with purpose. It gives them The Why. More on contributions in a bit……..
In our work, you often hear us discuss the topic of Curious Questions. That is because as Adult Learners, we have a desire to learn and grow; we have curiosities to satisfy along the way as we move throughout life and work. Not explaining The Why doesn’t work for most adults, nor does it respect or appreciate the level of expertise, talent, and potential they bring. Many of us can take a hard message, as long as we know The Why. Not sharing information on COVID updates or The Why behind a full or partial return to work can unintentionally feel like, “Let’s rush back to the office so I can make sure you’re being productive”. This obviously isn’t helpful to the larger agenda, even when there may well be a very valid business purpose for a full or partial return to the office. Humans are thinking beings and we want and appreciate the opportunity to learn as we go in ways that suit our individual needs. We want to feel as though we can take some risks without fear of punishment. The most innovative companies also take calculated risks.
Most of us don’t just do our jobs for the money and as we’ve said before, most of us don’t show up to do a bad job. Typically, it is our Why that drives us in our individual and collective work and pursuits of fulfillment. Earlier we said that feeling connected give us purpose, meaning, and a feeling of contribution at a higher level in the organization. Why wouldn’t we want the top talent we hired to contribute at this level? Why risk disengaging or losing them? Allow the contributions to how you can all thrive together as a Culture and seek the input of the many voices vs the one or the most senior or powerful in the organization.
In this stage as it relates to navigating Return to Work/Remote Work conversations, we examine the human need for continuous improvement. We know that the Status Quo is not good for Culture, inclusivity, diversity, belonging, engagement, or retention. So how can you invite this curiosity and make it a safe place to challenge the Status Quo? You can ask questions such as 5 Whys or Curious Questions, coming from a place of seeking to understand and assuming positive intent. As leaders, you can support your teams by allowing your team to manage up and not be threatened by that. It doesn’t diminish your role. You can and should hear employees out on accommodations they may need, anxieties they may feel, and other realities that you wouldn’t otherwise know exist for them in their life and employee experience, if you don’t invite this curiosity. What you think is the right decision may not consider all perspectives of what makes an employee feel safe and supported, especially right now in the midst of a Global Pandemic and so much uncertainty. Remember that the same uncertainty employees face at work, they are navigating at home in one way or another. This can create additive stressors.
For more tips and considerations, including from a Mental Health perspective, check out our April and past June issues of the Newsletter.
Resources and CEPHR Happenings
- As you’re thinking about inclusivity, August 26th is Women’s Equality Day in the United States! Consider ways that you can support women and be an advocate for change through Sponsorship, Mentorship, and Allyship. Lean In published an insightful article on Black Women’s Pay Day, which was August 3rd. National Minority Supplier Development Council shared an article this week on National Black Business Month. Last but not least, go beyond just the day and ensure equality for the future with tips from this Entrepreneur article. We are proud to be a woman-owned, Minority-owned, Certified Minority Business Enterprise!
- We continue to support our clients through COVID-19/Return to Work guidance as CDC guidelines shift, Pennsylvania and other State, Local, and Federal Legislation shifts, and as the world and Future of Work continuously shift. Businesses need continuity, and if you’re uncertain and needing some strategic or infrastructural support, Book a call!