What is your experience as an employee? I’d like to juxtapose two attitudes in this brief essay. The first one reveals the results of a survey that “finds a major disconnect between employees and HR in supporting wellbeing at work.” That one wasn’t surprising. My philosophy developed in the 70s holds that companies once had Personnel departments that viewed employees as people. These changed to Human Resources departments that viewed people as resources just like machines and switchgear and other resources.

Ken Bannister writes in the other piece about his experience with a mentor early in his career. Reading this one, consider people who have helped you along and who you should be helping now.

Major Disconnect Between Employees & HR in Supporting Wellbeing at Work

Half of employees feel stressed, and few are getting the support they need despite HR beliefs about wellbeing at work. Of the HR leaders polled, half (47%) say their company supports employee wellbeing, while just a quarter (24%) of employees agreeing — a major disconnect. That’s according to the new Empowering Employee Wellbeing in the New World of Work report from Achievers Workforce Institute (AWI). AWI is the research and insights arm of Achievers, the global leader in employee voice and recognition solutions that accelerate a culture of performance.

The global research surveyed more than 2,000 employed respondents and 950 HR leaders from Australia, Canada, UK and USA, and found just one in five (20%) employees say they feel physically and mentally healthy and less than one in five feel their physical wellbeing (17%) and mental wellbeing (18%) are supported by their employer. Nearly half (48%) of employees feel stressed, and of that group, two-thirds (63%) say their stress is related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As we look ahead at the weeks and months to come, it’s easy to think that the worst is behind us with vaccinations on the rise and many businesses starting a phased return to the office. However, the wellbeing research from Achievers Workforce Institute shows that stress remains high, with COVID-19 as a key driver,” says Achievers Chief Workforce Scientist Dr. Natalie Baumgartner. “Almost one third of employees surveyed have taken leave due to stress, and this is even higher for marginalized groups. HR leaders need to understand how and why marginalized groups are experiencing heightened stress, otherwise inequities will deepen and result in cultural erosion over time.”

HR leaders are twice as likely as employees to say their organization supports employee wellbeing, including mental wellbeing. In addition, 40% of HR leaders feel their company offers employees resources to support their mental wellbeing, but just 18% of employees feel supported at work in managing their mental wellbeing.

This disconnect suggests one of two things: either existing programs are not being sufficiently communicated so employees are unaware of the available support, or these programs are reaching employees but not having the desired impact.

Achievers’ employee voice and recognition solutions bring your organization’s values and strategy to life by activating employee participation and accelerating a culture of performance. Achievers leverages the science behind behavior change, so your people and your organization can experience sustainable, data-driven business results.

Mentoring

I worked with Ken Bannister a bit when I detoured into working with a magazine called Maintenance Technology. He now works with a team of people I know who started a newsletter and website called The RAM Review. This essay can be found here.

As a young design engineer, I worked under the tutelage of my mentor Tedeus (Ted) Monkiewicz. Within this arrangement, I often accompanied him on visits to customer operations that were experiencing machine warranty issues/problems. At each sites, I was not to speak, but observe and record every little detail of the job, however inconsequential. Then, when we left a site, I would report to Ted on my findings, conclusions, and recommendations.

Ted typically would remind me in the customers’ parking lots to base my reports on my six senses. As he put it, “I want you to see with your fingertips, nose, and  ears, touch with your eyes, and say nothing until asked”.

In the process, Ted helped me to understand that a precision machine, built and set up correctly, should present only the faintest of vibration. (Any more than that level of vibration required further investigation into how the drivetrain components were fastened and aligned.) But, even more important, Ted taught me to ensure machine were treated with respect.

I would like to issue a challenge to all readers for the next time you approach a machine to troubleshoot a problem (as Ted always challenged me and his memory still does today). I challenge you to combine your training and experience with your six primary senses to “experience” and assess the problem in a unique, organic, and multi-dimensional way. Only this time, perform your sense assessment from the machine’s perspective.

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