While there have been increasing concerns over mental health for many years, the pandemic has applied unique stressors that have exacerbated existing mental heath issues and created entirely new ones. According to a recent survey by SunLife, 50% of Canadian’s report that their mental health has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. And many government bodies (e.g. StatsCan), health organizations (e.g. World Health Organization), and independent research houses (e.g. H-4.org) are predicting an unprecedented mental health disaster – one that is likely to have long-lasting implications. Yet, what do we hear the most about? How to put on a mask. How to wash our hands. How to physically distance. But what about how to proactively manage mental health issues? As business leaders, we can and we must better manage mental health concerns. How? Well if you are an HR leader, a solution has been staring us in the face for a long time…
The economic hardships of the prolonged COVID-19 shutdown mean that many organizations feel enormous pressure to resume operations as soon as possible, but besides the obvious health and safety issues involved with re-opening, employers must consider the range of ethical issues that are likely to arise.
Ethics in business matter more than ever because of how easily and quickly employer misconduct can come to light. Without naming names, we can all think of examples of organizations that have engaged in unethical behaviour and been called out online or in public. When this happens, some customers will cut ties, and employees might quit. Even those customers and employees who remain will have their trust shaken.
Almost five million Canadians started working from home since March 2020, but not all jobs can be done remotely, and the question of which jobs can—and who has those jobs—is important to answer as we think about how to keep employees safe and begin resuming operations.
Just as the pandemic’s effects were unevenly distributed, endangering some Canadians more than others, there is a very real chance that the recovery efforts will have uneven effects that worsen existing problems.
In response to COVID-19, businesses across Canada have had to make some drastic changes to how they operate. While some organizations had to completely close down, others found ways to keep some elements of the business running and do what was necessary for the company to survive.
Restrictions on what could remain open and social distancing measures disrupted typical operations, but with restrictions easing and many Canadians back at work, new positions in your organization could be required.
As current events force questions of bias and inequality to the forefront, it’s critical we take a look within our workplaces and ensure we are doing everything we can to eliminate systemic biases and discrimination, and to encourage diversity and inclusion.
A diverse workforce can bring fresh ideas and new solutions to problems. You may even find new and untapped customer groups as a result. It’s also important to both customers and prospective employees that organizations have values and beliefs that algin with their own.
So what’s getting in the way of a diverse workplace? It could be our biases.
Topics: Diversity in the Workplace
The last few months have been a whirlwind for HR professionals. You’re trying to manage the typical day-to-day in your organization while also tackling new, urgent priorities like technology for remote work and employee engagement.
So what can you do to get it all done?
Topics: HR Challenges
HR plays an important role in resolving disputes, addressing concerns and complaints, liaising between employees and management, promoting employee engagement, and disciplining misconduct, among many other tasks. All of these tasks require emotional sensitivity and understanding, and can take a toll on you. While taking care of the mental health and wellness of your employees is a rewarding part of any HR professional’s job, you may forget you need to take care of yourself, too.
As an HR professional, you are often asked to deal with stressful and mentally taxing problems, which can lead to burnout. Adding to the mix lately, HR professionals have had to maintain composure when dealing with very stressed out and concerned employees on top of implementing many new processes. Empathy and compassion are two valuable traits an HR person can have, but we need to take steps to avoid exhausting our capacities for them.
When your employees have a difficult time, do they have somewhere they can go for support? The stigma around mental health issues is slowly fading, but we have more work to do when it comes to supporting mental health and wellness in the workplace.
Everyone goes through difficult times, and it can sometimes feel like those difficult times have become never-ending. What employers and HR professionals do to support employees can make a huge difference in a company’s culture, employee retention, and overall well-being. How you act when an employee is struggling says a lot about what you value as a company. Take a minute to think: what does your organization do right now to help employees overcome adversity and thrive?
While we are all working hard to get our lives back as close as possible to our normal routines, employers are worried about what will happen if they have to shut down again. It’s stressful to contemplate going through this again, but it doesn’t help to pretend it’s impossible. You owe it to your organization and your employees to prepare for such outcomes. Employers have also been thinking about how vacation time employees have left will further affect operations.
Is there anything you can do to prepare your business? We received many questions like these after our most recent COVID-19 webinar. We’ll take a look at some of the most popular questions on the topic.
You might be excited to get back to work, but are your employees? Some may be saying, “Yes!” but others, “Not so much.” Many of us spent the last couple of months distant from everyone outside our household, so it’s natural that employees have concerns about suddenly returning to their normal routine after spending all this time distant from co-workers, customers, and the public in general.
So what do you do if an employee refuses to return? Or what if an employee is pushing to continue to work from home? We received many questions like these after our most recent COVID-19 webinar. We’ll take a look at some of the most popular questions, but you can also download the full webinar at the bottom of this article to get valuable advice from one of our HR experts.