Care; a two way street

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Helen Soulsby

How can we balance optimal care and support for our employees with commercial focus and success?

When our clients are being truly candid, many tell us that they are struggling to do this, but afraid to admit it for fear of being seen as too ‘uncaring’ and not tuned-in to what is happening around them.

However, in all honesty, pre CoVid, many organisations and leaders felt that too much of a supportive environment can lead to ‘nothing getting done’. And while this may be an unpopular stance, often they were right.

The holy grail is getting the optimal balance between support and challenge. Too much challenge and you risk burnout; too much support and you risk nothing getting done or at least not quickly. Over the last 18 months there has been a huge pendulum swing between the two. How do we get the balance back?

Undoubtedly, CoVid has forced a ‘care first’ approach in many organisations, just to make it through a challenging period. There have been incredibly positive outcomes from this; and not before time. Leaders have had to tune into their people like never before; many have finally realised that flexible working and working from home – can work! Programmes to support mental health are becoming commonplace. People have been able to share the beautiful chaos of their lives as children ‘photo bomb’ video calls and bookshelves highlight surprising personal interests.

If any leader doesn’t know their employees better than they have ever done after this period in our history, they have quite simply wasted it. For some it’s been a wake-up call, for others it’s been an uncomfortable transition, and for many, they are working out how to adopt the ‘best bits’ of care & support to ensure even greater future success.

Because we simply must keep the best bits. The collaboration, the surprise care packages, the flexibility, the ability to talk openly about stress and coping strategies. And for the organisations who have used this time wisely, there has been positive and ongoing behavioural change.

But care needs to be a two-way street. To ensure you remain on track commercially, the care you show to your employees has to be reciprocated by your employees – caring about the company, customers, colleagues and caring about their contribution.

Model the behaviour from the top and it will run through the organisation, gaining momentum as it meets the groundswell of employees who all ‘truly care’.

The word ‘care’ is both a noun and a verb.

As a noun it suggests “a state of mind in which one is troubled; worry, anxiety, or concern”

The Verb? “to look out (for) to have an affection (for) to feel concern about; to wish, desire, like.

Let’s wipe out the noun and go with the verb; a two-way street. Organisations and employees looking out for each other, liking each other, showing concern, and most importantly wishing and desiring for incredible shared outcomes. Together.

Then…the balance may just be perfect.

Want help in getting the balance right? SRI Consulting offers contemporary solutions to drive team effectiveness and employee engagement. If it’s time for change… get in touch!