THE SECOND PANDEMIC has hit, and it is not a virus but the insidious, and growing level of stress. Our emotional immune systems are burned out and many of us are now in a state of managed depression. In the HBR article, “If You Feel Like You are Regressing, You’re Not Alone,” companies are no longer operating at their best. Neuroscience suggests that prolonged levels of stress narrows the ability of employees to see their future and envision creative solutions to their problems.
Most organizations I’ve talked to don’t have a formal resilience program, and those that do haven’t revised them to keep up with the new levels of stress brought on by COVID-19.
The current state for most companies:
- The prevailing mindset is, “we’ll be able to renew our wellbeing after the COVID-19 crisis is behind us.” This assumes the crisis will leave before employee stress becomes critical,
- Without a resilience strategy companies at an increased risk for declining problem solving, productivity, leadership and planning abilities,
- Increased health challenges,
Company leaders need to make resilience a high priority by communicating why it is important, develop ways to measure resilience and link those results to employee engagement, productivity, retention and healthcare costs. If yesterday’s approach to employee stress management continues to be used during today’s COVID-19 crisis, the second pandemic of stress will cause long term damage to employee mental health and the company’s ability to rebound and renew.