For many years, the startup lifestyle thrived on the overextension of one’s time, talent, and wellbeing while building a business on uncertainty. Even before the pandemic, startup employees experienced unhealthy amounts of stress in their daily lives.
Now we are over two years into the pandemic and workers across the world have been working long, uncertain days, with little or mostly zero human interaction. Formerly, the spirit and dream of working for a startup were sold as a “fun” experience that allowed workers to think outside the box, contribute, innovate from within, and grow faster professionally.
Today, we are finding that startup founders and CEOs are feeling the disconnect from their teams without an end in sight on remote working. CEOs are up at night concerned about the wellbeing of their employees but left with little bandwidth to connect with everyone because of their own priorities of revenue generation, investor relations, and constant business improvement.
The truth is that disconnected employees are disengaged employees. According to Gallup’s “State of the American Workplace” (2014), the loss of productivity due to disengagement is estimated to cost U.S. employers upwards of half a trillion dollars per year.
Not only is disengagement is a massive consequence of social disconnection, disengagement also leads to increased turnover, lost productivity, increased absenteeism, poor word-of-mouth, and talent recruitment challenges.
The Solution: Workplace Social Support
Workplace social support is defined as a support system that creates a workplace environment for employees to feel “loved, valued, and that her wellbeing is cared about as a part of a social network of mutual obligation (Cobb)."
At Beyond Brave, we aren’t just talking about giving all of your employees free access to “meditation” or “wellness” apps. These are just substitutes, or shortcuts, to doing the actual “caring” yourself as a leader! As the leader of your organization, you are also the leader of 12-18 hours of their daily lives. You must Lead Bravely and help your employees feel valued and cared for at work.
Giving employees a feeling of being cared for and appreciated through social support not only benefits your company and the employee but also trickles down to the workers’ family members and has even been known to have a positive impact on global wellbeing.
Workplace social support programs foster a shared meaning among employees and protect against internal toxicity and drama. Building greater meaning in the workplace is no longer a “nice to have,” but a firm imperative for successful talent acquisition, retention, and business growth.
In summary, we recommend that leaders leverage workplace social support programs that:
1) make work a source of personal and professional growth for employees;
2) focus on fostering a shared meaning and purpose;
3) provide an environment for employees to share and speak openly;
4) enable more self-care and self-reflective activities;
5) promote mentorship and coaching at all levels;
6) emphasize that each employee is valued;
7) reframe the importance of creativity, innovation, and ownership at all levels.
It’s time to Lead Bravely.
For more information or to discuss how we help startups, please contact us at [email protected]