Welcome to the next blog in our series on the 13 Pillars of Psychological Health and Safety. In this session, we will address the pillar of “Involvement and Influence” in the workplace as part of our support for professional development and workplace wellness.
The Canadian National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety describes involvement and influence as “a work environment where employees are included in discussions about how their work is done and how important decisions are made.”
I have had many conversations with organizational leaders around this topic, specifically as it relates to pandemic protocols and return to on-site work. There are many factors for employers to consider when bringing staff teams back to an onsite office location, continuing with work from home, or hybrid variations. All options have benefits and challenges for both the employee and employer. From a psychological health and safety and workplace culture perspective it is not the decision that is most crucial, rather it is the process involved in making the decision that is most important.
One employer explained his employees were returning to on-site work exclusively, while he also removed the mask requirement in common areas and when meeting with others. He expected employees to be happy to return to the office. The only research influencing this decision was his preference to see people in person and his discomfort with wearing masks. He was surprised when staff voiced concerns, believing that they would feel as he did. He didn’t understand the impact of making unilateral decisions on the workplace culture and how this would add workplace stress for the organization.
Recommendations: take time to seek input from those directly impacted by the planned changes. Involvement in the decision-making process for such a significant change in the workplace can have tremendous positive outcomes for the whole organization and build positive workplace culture. Company wide one to one meetings with direct reports exploring concerns, impacts, and benefits will provide the necessary information to be addressed in planning for how to move forward. Gathering information from all employees affected and addressing the concerns from both a productivity lens and a staff morale/employee engagement point of view will provide a workable solution that all will support.
The involvement and influence of all employees and stakeholders in developing solutions leads to a better outcome for all. Bringing in a variety of perspectives and possible solutions facilitates increased creativity and a more collaborative and committed workplace culture. Effective brainstorming will include all perspectives and possible solutions and will increase “buy-in” and adherence to the final decision. This creates a workplace culture that cultivates for optimal performance.
One of the biggest challenges employees express related to workplace wellness is feeling they are not heard or valued. Staff feel powerless to control their daily routines and how their work is conducted. The many and varied challenges that arise from working and living through the pandemic have resulted in a sense of loss of control. The more employers can do to provide involvement and some level of control for their staff, the better their overall wellness and resulting productivity will be. Employees who are healthy and engaged are more productive and less likely to make errors or mistakes.
Book a confidential session with Community Healthcare Consulting to learn more about how to engage and support employee involvement in decision making to improve workplace stress. We have the tools and resources to support you and your team to move ahead of the competition by improving productivity, team cohesion, and staff retention.We has a range of professional development programs designed to improve leadership and resiliency in your organization.
Email [email protected] to learn more or to book a session for your team.