Thursday, January 5th 2023

Post Covid Emotional Fatigue: What can we do about it?

listening tools to understand employees

Cataclysmic changes have hit the workplace in recent years causing an emotional rollercoaster of drama and trauma as employees, families, and companies were jolted from the stable work environment they had to a very different workplace today. Covid, work-from-home, hybrid work, return-to-office, retention challenges, layoffs, and inflation are destabilizing issues that are leading to high workplace emotional fatigue. Worst of all, employees say they don’t know what the new normal will be so they can prepare for it. Hearing the voice of the employee to reduce emotional fatigue is more critical than ever and here are three great ways to do it.

A Broader Set of Listening Methods 

To fight emotional fatigue, companies need to deploy a wide range of listening methods to understand their employees. Understanding employees allows you to take action with policies, programs and communications to ensure the best employee experience. Historically this meant combining a yearly survey, pulse surveys, town halls and interacting with people in the office. These are all great pieces of the solution, but in the new post-Covid workplace, new ways to listen are required to understand a dispersed, online workforce. Passive listening tools can be added that are automatic and can surface issues with morale, trending topics and cultural health in real time.

Reducing the Time Between Asking and Acting 

One complaint employees have is that it takes forever for improvements to the workplace to be implemented. This adds to the sense of emotional fatigue as workers say they are communicating but no one is listening. If an engagement survey goes out once a year, how long is it before changes happen? What about all of those issues that came up in the meantime? Even pulse surveys cannot keep up with a workplace that changes all the time. This means HR teams need to become agile and real-time so changes can be made in a quicker way to adapt to the current employee environment.

Communicating Results 

So you have done the work to consistently understand your employees and have some great ways to address the issues, is that enough? Even when we make changes, it can take time for them to take effect. This means it is critically important to let employees know what you found out, and what you are doing to improve problems. Communicating results back can reduce employee fatigue by letting them know you understand the issues and help is on the way, even if it is not immediate.

While we will never completely eliminate emotional fatigue from the workplace, there are ways to dramatically improve things. Adding new passive listening tools to understand employees more regularly, taking action more quickly based on a real-time understanding of employees, and communicating what you discovered and how you will fix things can go a long way to improving the employee experience.

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