Note to reader – I am not standing holding a skull looking mournfully into the distance, or wearing a Shakespearean ruff before you ask… To be, or not to be, is the most widely known, and quoted lines in modern English.
How Do You Manage Your People?
After giving it some serious thought, I’ve slightly rephrased the question but with the same dedicated meaning using a bit of poetic license. In this blog, the question is – are you an employer of choice? You either are, or you are not, there is no in-between.
In asking yourself this fundamental business question you might further add, ‘we want to attract and retain top talent’. We know that every company on the planet is a people-driven operation, the only difference is you might manufacture cars, you might sell insurance, or you might make some cookies. It all comes down to how you lead and manage those people that make the difference.
If you have ten minutes, search any three company’s annual financial reports or statements, look up the ‘our people’ section. What is the difference and what sets them apart? What did they all say? One thing for sure you’ll find is the line ‘we provide an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)’. 90% of companies will say this, maybe a free bowl of fruit (on a Friday), or allow you to wear odd color socks (on a Wednesday) …
Employers must think employees have just arrived from Mars if they think such quotes will inspire them to join their company (and retain them) – the average cost of an EAP in the US is between $12-$40 ANNUALLY PER EMPLOYEE. That’s a jaw-dropping $1-$3.3 per month they’re investing in you which cannot be argued as a serious attraction for me to join your company, or even persuade me to stay.
The savvy employee can put this question to any search engine like me to discover this information, and still, employers say those three-letter letters with beaming pride and think that’s all they need to do and say to be different from everybody else.
It is said that the reason employee usage of an EAP is as low as 3.5 – 7% is trust. Employees need to know and trust the person they speak to, and while the stigma surrounding poor mental wellbeing or complexity management still exists, awareness and normalization are the key battlegrounds. When an employee in distress calls your EAP confidential line they’re not sure if they’ll speak to Colin in California, Tracy in Tennessee, or Neil in New York.
What they also fear is where does this information go. Third-party engagement is essential, but employees need to know and trust the person they are having that conversation with, can picture them, and know what they look like to have that meaningful conversation.
Set Your Employees Up For Success
A key role of leadership is to create a set of conditions in which people can thrive and add value to your company. It means that what matters to them needs attention and consideration. Targeted support to those who need it, and when they need it, will differentiate you from the chasing pack and needs to become part of the fabric – doing what is right.
Giving employees a clear sense of purpose and manageable workloads builds an inclusive culture where difficult issues can be discussed. Additionally, providing targeted access to mental health resources coupled with effective training in ‘positive mental wellbeing’ (across the organization; not to a select few) creates a supportive and empathetic management culture of mutual support and team ethos.
What are you doing to be the Employer of Choice?