When Less Isn’t More

I think global workplaces and employees worldwide deserve a shoutout. We have had to assimilate in a myriad of new and undesirable ways but look at the positive side of how well we have adapted.

Now, I’m not saying it’s been easy, or that great success has been witnessed everywhere. But, the level of resilience I have seen born out of this all-encompassing struggle these past 12 months is incredible. Human beings are strong.

With that being said, I think it is important to recognize all the people who have sought to bring about comfort when discomfort reigns supreme. The people who have worked diligently to include others when physical barriers were erected and exclusion became the norm. The Caring Leaders in the world who sought to create more peace, to take care of people from afar, and make the harsh changes thrust upon everyone a gentler experience.

The Research

In a survey conducted by Mckinsey & Company in April 2020, “60% of all employee survey respondents also said they are starting, continuing, or expanding BH [behavioral health] services as part of their COVID-19 pandemic-related benefits”. A sign that positive change really is in effect. Further proof of this change is noted in an interview with SHRM Online where Ellen Kelsay, president, and CEO of the Business Group on Health, said:

On a broader scale, employers are definitely factoring in the impact of the pandemic as they plan their strategy and benefits for 2021. In addition to telehealth, we are likely to see more focus on behavioral health needs and access, strengthening of the management of chronic conditions post-COVID-19, and increased interest in advanced primary care and prevention.

This is hopeful news for workplaces everywhere; it highlights the logistical and administrative side of managing employee wellbeing and health. While I support this shift, I also advocate for the personal side, represented by Caring Leadership.

A Call to Arms

For all my readers, and especially anyone who finds themself in a leadership position, I urge you to please listen to what I say next.

If you have already taken the step on your Caring Leadership journey to implement emotional intelligence practices, EAP, remote work culture adjustments, free mental health services, access to counseling, therapy, etc. then, wonderful news, the next step will be a lot easier for you. If you are doing any of these, then I am pleading with you – Do. Not. Stop.

Whatever you have done to help your employees experience comfort, security, and receive health care during this time, just continue. Whether or not, “normal” work resumes, and regardless of how you plan on returning to work. Your employees’ wellbeing is your top priority, and it would not be in the interest of Caring Leadership to revoke any of these policies.

For anyone that has yet to incorporate a more employee needs’ focused organizational structure, then, now is your time to step up to the plate. The “less is more” approach is not in anyone’s favor at this point. The more we can give true care to our employees, the better.

The “How To”

Consider putting yourself and your leadership team through emotional intelligence training. Learn how to recognize and meet the needs of yourself, as well as your team members.

Study how to make recognition and appreciation the beautiful gift that they are, so they don’t fall flat and miss the mark.

Work on incorporating an EAP, or Employee Assistance Program, to offer free confidential assessments, counseling referrals to employees for both personal and work-related problems.

Offer other free mental health services. Mental Health America released a survey in 2021 finding that:

The number of people looking for help with anxiety and depression has skyrocketed. From January to September 2020, 315,220 people took the anxiety screen, a 93 percent increase over the 2019 total number of anxiety screens. 534,784 people took the depression screen, a 62 percent increase over the 2019 total number of depression screens.

My hope is that leaders everywhere continue to extend a helpful hand. You should go on hosting one-on-ones often, having coffee hours whether virtual or in person, and checking in on your team as you did on the hardest of days.

The crux of my point is simple: lean in more, not less.

Feel free to reach out to me if you find yourself struggling, or would like further recommendations on how to progress in your Caring Leadership journey.


Heather Younger
Heather Younger
Heather Younger gets it. As a best-selling author, international TEDx speaker, podcast host, facilitator, and Forbes Coaches Council coach, she has earned her reputation as “The Employee Whisperer”. Her experiences as a CEO, entrepreneur, manager, attorney, writer, coach, listener, speaker, collaborator and mother all lend themselves to a laser-focused clarity into what makes employees of organizations and companies – large and small - tick. Heather has facilitated more than 150 workshops, reaching +100 employers and their employees. Her motivation and philosophy have reached more than 20,000 attendees at her speaking engagements on large and small stages. Companies have charted their future course based on her leading more than 100 focus groups. In addition, she has helped companies see double-digit employee engagement score increases through the implementation of her laws and philosophies. She has driven results in a multitude of industries, including banking, oil & gas, construction, energy, and federal and local government. Heather brings a tenacious and inspirational outlook to issues plaguing the workforces of today. Her book “The 7 Intuitive Laws of Employee Loyalty” hit the Forbes Must-Read list and is a go-to source for HR professionals seeking insight into their organization's dynamics. Heather’s writing can also be found on her blog at EmployeFanatix, as well as articles in Forbes, Huffington Post, Thrive Global, American Express Open Forum, and more. Coupled with her Leadership with Heart podcast, weekly videos, and employer newsletters, Heather stays connected to organizations long after she leaves the stage or conference roomWhen all the emails are returned and the mic is turned off, and Heather acts as co-manager of her busy household in Aurora, Colorado with her husband, where they oversee their four children.

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