In the current business landscape, you may not see it, but there’s an inseparable link between organisational growth and employee wellbeing. Representing KUDU, a vanguard consultancy in workplace wellbeing, I’ve encountered how the excitement and momentum of growth can sometimes overshadow the health and happiness of the very people driving that growth.
So what is the connection between organisational growth and employee wellbeing?
I bet you wouldn’t be surprised if I told you that studies have highlighted that negative perceptions surrounding organisational expansion often coincide with diminished employee wellbeing. But regardless of it being a surprise or not, this presents a quandary for businesses. On the one hand, they’re driven to scale and evolve, yet this evolution can inadvertently erode the wellbeing of their workforce, which in the long term impacts their growth! It’s a catch-22!
Lets look at bit deeper at what the specific challenges are.
When businesses grow it can lead to:
Increased workload and longer work hours
As businesses grow, the consequent demand often leads to stretched work hours. The result? Employees grappling to juggle increasing business needs with their personal lives.
Growth rarely treads a linear path. The rapidity and unpredictability of evolving challenges can spiral stress levels, significantly denting overall wellbeing.
Knowledge gap & skills adaptation
Employees dedicate years, even decades, honing their skills. Demanding them to pivot these skills, particularly without forewarning, can be unsettling, if not demoralising.
Anxiety and uncertainty
A growing company can sometimes resemble a shifting maze. Unclear roles, sporadic communication, ambiguous directions, and a shortage of resources can plunge employees into a whirlpool of anxiety and uncertainty.
Risk of employee burnout
Combine the aforementioned challenges, and the spectre of burnout looms large.
How does this affect the organisation?
It’s not just the individuals who bear the brunt, these individual impacts cast a shadow on the broader organisation, chipping away at its core.
Organisational repercussions are manifold – heightened presenteeism, increased absenteeism, and a discernible slump in morale and engagement. These challenges can ultimately lead to a high attrition rate and, more alarmingly, can dent an organisation’s reputation.
So, what can you do about it?
There are always going to be teething problems as you grow. However, growth doesn’t have to be synonymous with these challenges, not to this extent anyway. Here are some key strategies to get you started:
1. Individual support
The beating heart of any organisation is its people. When we talk about tailored support, it means providing bespoke assistance to individuals based on their unique needs and roles, equipping them to navigate the tumultuous seas of change.. This support can manifest in various forms: mentoring, counselling, coaching, workload appraisals or even workshops tailored to address specific concerns.
Here are a couple of specific examples:
- Mentoring programs: Pair up less experienced employees with seasoned professionals within the organisation. For instance, a tech startup could have senior developers mentor junior ones, guiding them through coding challenges and offering career advice.
- Counselling services: Offer employees access to professional counselling services, either in-house or via partnerships with external providers. For example, after a particularly intense project, a company might provide complimentary sessions with a stress management expert.
2. Clear communication
Effective communication fosters a sense of belonging and prevents feelings of being ‘left out of the loop’. Regular, transparent, and open communication can quell anxieties, ensuring everyone’s on the same page, and lead to employees feeling more settled.
Here’s a couple of examples of how you can communicate well with your employees:
- Monthly organisation-wide meetings: Organise regular company-wide meetings (known as ‘Town Hall’ meetings in the USA), where executives update the team on growth plans, recent successes, and future challenges. These sessions not only keep everyone informed but also offer an opportunity for Q&A, and employees to feed into the plan.
- Dedicated communication channels: Utilise tools like Microsoft Teams or Slack to create channels specifically for updates related to growth and changes, ensuring there is someone in charge of keeping these updates current. This ensures that all announcements are consolidated in one place, easily accessible to all.
3. Preparation and resources
Knowledge is power. Preparing employees with the right resources ensures they are well-equipped to adapt to change without feeling overwhelmed.
For example you could:
- Conduct workshops before major changes: Prior to implementing a new software tool, for example, conduct workshops or training sessions. This ensures that employees are familiar with the new system before it goes live.
- Create resource portals: Create an internal portal or dashboard where employees can find resources, such as how-to guides, FAQ sections, and instructional videos, related to ongoing projects or new tools.
4. Training and development
Crafting a well-defined roadmap for training and progression ensures that employees don’t just adapt, but thrive. Investing in employee growth is a two-fold benefit—it aids the company while boosting employee morale and confidence. Make sure employees feel they can speak up if they need extra training and development to deliver your plans.
Here a couple of ways you can assist with their training and development:
- Regular skills assessments: Periodically assess the skills of employees. For instance, a marketing agency might realise that with the rise of video content, their team needs training in video production and editing.
- External workshops: Partner with external experts to run workshops. For example, if AI is becoming integral to your business, you might bring in an AI specialist for a series of masterclasses.
5. Cultivating a supportive culture
While strategies might draw the blueprint, it’s the culture that breathes life into an organisation. A supportive, collaborative environment that provides inclusivity in decision making nurtures growth, both at individual and organisational levels. It can be the stiches to many a growth-induced wound.
Try these examples to help create that culture
- Feedback platforms: Establish platforms or sessions where employees can voice their opinions or concerns. For instance, an anonymous suggestion box or monthly feedback sessions can be instrumental.
- Team-building activities: Organise regular team outings or team-building exercises. Something as simple as a monthly team lunch or a yearly off-site can foster bonds and strengthen the collaborative spirit.
It’s not just about balancing growth and employee wellbeing
Think of growth like stacking stones on a beach. You wouldn’t just slap them together, would you? Each stone, each decision, must be just right. Just as a haphazardly stacked stone tower collapses, so can an organisation if it either neglects its foundational wellbeing or slaps a wellbeing strategy together that is unplanned and unsuited to the organisation or it’s stage. The wellbeing of our team is paramount – they’re both the base and the glue holding everything together.
Therefore, we always advise planning your strategy around KUDU’s 3 Pillars of Staff Retention and taking a methodological approach, constantly reviewing and adapting as the company, and it’s people grow.
How can KUDU help?
Remember this: as businesses, as leaders, our people aren’t just cogs in a machine but the very essence of their organisation. Let’s nurture them as we aim for the stars. If you are seeking a holistic approach to balancing growth with well-being, KUDU can support your journey.