Fostering a Resilient Workforce in the Remote-Hybrid EraRemote work
As helpful as the switch to remote-hybrid operations has been, especially during the mass disruptions experienced over the last year and a half, distributed operations are causing their own set of knock-on effects across the global economy—and not all of them are beneficial. Both SMEs and industry-leading global enterprises have been able to maintain a semblance of productivity over the past 18 months, despite employees being house-bound for the majority of that time period. Unfortunately, the switch to remote work is causing employees to experience higher rates of burnout, isolation, and mental health issues. This the culmination of a workforce that doesn’t have the necessary support and training to show resilience in the office.
Addressing this new challenge will require management and executives to adopt innovative approaches to individual and group communication within the distributed organizational context. From fostering more resilient employees to incorporating comprehensive tech platforms like mentoring software, there are many viable solutions to addressing the issues commonly experienced by virtual commuters. But in order for C-Suite leadership groups to be successful in the new era of remote-hybrid enterprise operations, they first need to understand how this arrangement impacts employees.
The Struggle for Resilience in Remote-Hybrid Workplaces
Remote work, telecommuting, or work from home—these terms all refer to a flexible work arrangement where employees can perform their role from outside the confines of a standard office building. Collaboration occurs via apps like zoom, slack, and the more traditional emails and phone calls.
Not only is this practice effective for maintaining operations during disruptive times, but it provides additional benefits, including lowering expenses, optimizing asynchronous communication, and improving the overall employee experience. A recent Work Trend Index study from Microsoft and Edelman Data finds that upwards of 70 percent of surveyed employees want remote work options to continue, with a similar percentage also desiring in-person time with teams. This is “The New Normal” of enterprise operations in the 21st century: The remote-hybrid workplace.
Unfortunately, it appears that many companies are not yet positioned to adequately support their remote work employees; employees who are often unable to adequately respond to the new demands and challenges of remote work. As these troubling trends from the aforementioned Work Trend study outline, workers who operate in hybrid structures are experiencing a troubling lack of resilience that manifests itself in multiple ways:
- Only 38% of non-decision-making employees feel that they are thriving at work
- Many employees do not feel that they have strong workplace relationships
- 37% of the global workforce feels that company leadership is asking for too much
- Across industries, employee networks are shrinking and teams are becoming siloed
These difficulties, felt by many remote workers across the globe, are creating an environment where over 40% of workers are strongly considering leaving their current workplace within the next year. To stem this loss of talent, executives and upper management must take concrete steps to address the lack of resilience in their companies. Leadership is often cited as a reason for low employee satisfaction, and this likely has to do with the trickle-down effects that a lack of guidance has on resiliency.
The research literature across different fields of study is rich in the concept of resilience, including epidemiology, material science, organizational change, and, of course, psychology. Although there are multiple definitions of this quality within the psychological field itself, resilience essentially refers to people’s variable responses to difficult situations. The interplay of internal and external factors, including personality, self-efficacy, relationships, and social support, are critical to determining resilience outcomes. Some people are consumed by stress in the face of adversity, while others respond well and even develop resilience through the experience.
The latter case is also known as thriving: the experience of growth in the face of adversity. The Constructivist Self-Determination Theory (CSDT) combines multiple conceptual underpinnings to explain how the meaning associated with difficult experiences is a key factor as to how an individual will respond to it. This holistic approach to the explanation of thriving and other resilience theories is very useful in developing a hardier, happier workforce.
Workplace resilience exists at both the individual and organizational levels. Career resilience is the ability to navigate adversity and disruption while navigating difficult work environments and on-the-job challenges. High-stress, high-burnout industries, including healthcare, education, business development, and management, can all benefit from the curation of a more resilient workforce. But how exactly can this be done?
An essential aspect of fostering individual workplace resilience is ensuring that the organizational environment is conducive to enhancing this quality. Organizational resilience is achieved and maintained by prioritizing open communication, encouraging individual growth, and encouraging risk exploration.
Another significant component to fostering workplace resilience, and resilient future leaders, is having supportive, one-to-one relationships with experienced professionals. These isolated interactions allow employees and leadership to explore any role-based or environmental demands that are causing difficulty. With employees spending an increasing amount of time away from the office, it’s more important than ever that leaders maintain strong relationships with all their staff.
Another Microsoft Worklab project focused around resilience finds that trust in leadership and routine individual contact are essential to cultivating this desirable trait across organizations. As important as tech-enabled workflows and advanced analytics are to improved performance, there’s still no replacement for having private moments of reflection with a capable leader. This is why mentoring platforms are becoming increasingly crucial to business success in the hybrid work era.
Building Resilience with Mentoring Software
The demands of remote-hybrid operations mean it can be difficult for executives and management to develop relationships with their employees that are crucial for talent retention, skills development, and trust. For companies to succeed in these uncertain times, distributed organizations must implement practices that foster resilience at the organizational and employee level. Mentoring software is the perfect tool for achieving this.
Just like software platforms now house project management, human resources, and numerous other aspects of traditional workplace operations, the practice of mentorship is also moving into the online space. Comprehensive platforms now allow experienced professionals to connect with their mentees anywhere, anytime. Considering an increasing number of multinational organizations rely on talent from across the globe, mentoring software is the best way to ensure that all individuals, regardless of organizational position, geographic location, or cultural background, are paired with a mentor to foster resilience.
If you’re interested in learning more about how mentoring platforms can help your hybrid workforce thrive in these uncertain times, reach out to the experts at MentorCloud today. Our comprehensive software solution is currently used by over 100,000 thousand professionals worldwide, helping build enterprise resilience at a global scale.