In The Godfather (1972), Michael Corleone infamously says, “It’s nothing personal, Sonny – It’s strictly business” when referring to the shooting of a colleague’s father. Far be it from me to tangle with a mob family, but given a chance, I’d like to say, “You’re (dead) wrong.”
When team members come to work, either to the physical business center or through virtual/digital systems, they bring their whole selves with them. There is no imaginary coat hook by the door where real-life problems are parked until the end of the business day, only to be picked up and loaded on again before going home.
Businesses serve these whole humans. This truth has been magnified over the last year as employees’ personal and professional lives merged (and often cracked) under the pressures of the Covid-19 pandemic. The disruption of work-life balance, loss of workplace camaraderie, and lack of shared in-person experiences left many workers feeling disconnected from the business. Working parents experienced the additional burdens of juggling remote learning and feelings of constant guilt about not meeting the needs of either family or job.
As pandemic-related restrictions begin to wane and our lives return to some new form of normalcy, businesses need to be thoughtful about the path forward. Organizations must actively remove barriers to healthy, creative, mindful work, including physical, psychological, and cultural obstacles.
It is critically essential to engage with employees and invite candid conversation intentionally. Leaders must develop an ear for what is not being said as much as what is, and make it safe for employees to share pain points, then develop strategies to address these needs. Companies should prioritize mental health and consider schedules that adapt to meet the evolving needs of their employees.
Companies that invest in the actual overall wellbeing of their workforce have better outcomes and higher retention. Team members feel the difference when the business views them wholistically. The true value is achieved when the ‘H + R’ of Human Resources provides powerful resources in service of the whole humans that make up an organization’s workforce.