Far from the chiselled Greek sculptures that he resembled in his previous outings, Thor had a very different avatar Avengers: Endgame. Far from battling ancient aliens, he’s reduced to fighting noobmaster69 with plentiful accompaniments of his choice of drinks (ok it was all beer). He’s in a low place, and initially hinders the team’s activities. He all but gives up after suffering a devastating loss and taking the blame for the team’s failure, and the wiping out of half of humanity, entirely upon himself. This was not too different from Hulk’s fight with his inner demons in Infinity War, which led to massive collateral damage and the Avengers losing out on a key contributor in their fight against the Black Order in Wakanda. Each individual team member’s lives inevitably have an impact on their work, and this is an oft-neglected area of conversation.
Satisfied and content employees are the backbone of any great organisation. As leaders are looking to improve workplace practices, it’s important to have employee mental health be part of the conversation. What an employee is feeling directly impacts their tangible contribution to the organisation. A negative work environment is not only bad for employee morale, but it will also have a financial impact. Absence, lower productivity, and increased healthcare expenses are just a few of the ways mental health problems cost employers. Of course, providing a great place to work is important for more than just the financial factors.
When employee morale is higher, efficiency and productivity rise. When employee morale is low, progress sinks, and it’s time for employers to re-evaluate how they can better connect with and motivate their teams. Communication, collaboration, feedback exchange, recognition, and social bonds are all crucial features of a company culture that values its people and can move them to achieve their best work while enabling them to overcome personal problems by giving them the space they need. Here’s how you can help them be their best selves at work.
Promote Work-Life Balance Among employees
A healthy balance between work and life outside of it are necessary to avoid employee burnout, which can be a reason for several resignations and low productivity. High turnover costs are ultimately detrimental to any organisation, with a large proportion of resources having to be spent on training new employees. Granted balance is subjective and achieving it in a general sense is difficult, but certain easy measures like Work-From-Home, flexible hours and remote work, managers closely following up with overworked team members and prompting them to take a leave or offering to redistribute their workload can all go a long in helping achieve the same.
Invest in Building Trust
According to a Slack study on the future of work, 80% of workers want to know more about how decisions are made in their organisation, and 87% want their future company to be transparent. Employee morale can only reach a certain level without trust in leadership. After all, employees aren’t likely to communicate or contribute if they don’t feel safe expressing themselves honestly at work, and feeling a sense of security is critical before Employees can be expected to share what’s really bothering them. Invest in tools that help employees share feedback anonymously. Create a culture of frequent 1:1 discussions between teams and managers. To the extent possible, start company-wide Townhall sessions either in-person or through video conferencing where senior leadership can share company updates, take questions and capture suggestions or feedback from the employees.
Give teammates a Chance to Interact Outside the Office
These interactions can come in the form of picnics, trivia events, and monthly happy hours where family and friends can be invited. New recruits can also be invited to company events, even before they begin working, to help foster a sense of community and belonging. These gestures can go a long way in establishing loyalty between the organisation and the employees. Even a simple Table Tennis or Foosball championship league can help promote teamwork and team building with extremely little investment in time or money. After saving New York from imminent doom, which had had to be an extremely stressful project by any definition of the word, the Avengers went out to grab some Shawarma. A cheap meal but a great way for the heroes to let off some steam and recharge themselves!
Ask for Feedback
While we’ve already spoken about this above, bringing it up again goes to show just how important feedback collection is for a company’s development. A posture of openness gives employees permission to contribute to positive change. Google, for example, uses a survey to elicit feedback from employees on a wide range of issues. It then recruits volunteer groups to tackle issues and solve the company’s biggest problems. Maintaining two-way communication is fundamental to creating a workplace atmosphere where employees feel free to be themselves which ultimately determines their mental health and satisfaction.
It’s not an ideal situation, for an employee to feel so lost and burnt out that they find it extremely difficult to gather any motivation whatsoever to continuing giving their best. I mean what’s a mere mortal when a living God found himself with no hope at one point? But as Thor’s eventual return to form showed, with the right atmosphere, support and team, anyone can find the drive they need to get their mojo back. And just because someone is lost does not mean that all hope is lost too! Help your team when they really need it and they’ll reciprocate that much more resoundingly!