The R3 Continuum Playbook: Coordinating Compassionate Care After Disruption – Not Your Typical Counseling
In this excerpt from a recent R3 Continuum webinar, Jeff Gorter, MSW, LCSW, Vice President of Crisis Response Clinical Service, answers questions about the behavioral health impact on employees following a disruption. He provides steps employers can take to address the disruptions their employees experience and how such adversity impacts job performance.
The full webinar from which this excerpt was taken can be found here.
The R3 Continuum Playbook is presented by R3 Continuum and is produced by the Minneapolis-St.Paul Studio of Business RadioX®. R3 Continuum is the underwriter of Workplace MVP, the show which celebrates heroes in the workplace.
Shane McNally: [00:00:00] Broadcasting from the Business RadioX Studios, here is your R3 Continuum Playbook brought to you by Workplace MVP’s sponsor, R3 Continuum, a global leader in workplace behavioral health crisis and security solutions.
Hi there. My name is Shane McNally, Digital Marketing Project Lead at R3 Continuum. On this episode of the R3 Continuum Playbook, we’ll be featuring a segment from a recent webinar presented by R3 Continuum’s Vice President of Crisis Response Clinical Services, Jeff Gorter. This recent webinar is titled Coordinating Compassionate Care After Disruption, Not Your Typical Counseling.
Jeff brings more than 30 years of clinical experience, including consultation and extensive onsite critical incident response to businesses and communities. In this segment from our recent webinar, Jeff was answering questions that were asked by some of our attendees during registration to the webinar about disruption in the workplace and what leaders can do to respond to some of those events. What steps can employers take to respond to a disruption?
Jeff Gorter: [00:01:00] Yeah. I think that’s again, that’s kind of getting to the heart of the matter. And I really appreciate that because that flows pretty naturally from our first one.
So if we start with the assumption that crises will occur, how can I, as a responsible business leader, take some steps. And it begins with the concept of engagement. Engagement at the workforce is a very prominent concept and one that is frequently looked at and analyzed that particularly from large scale employers, you know, mammoth ones to a mom and pop shop with a few that being able to understand influence promotes encourage worker engagement is a hot button issue right now.
And part of that is for two reasons. Because an engaged workforce is protective in the concept or in the context of what we’ve been talking about with disruptions and crises, that it’s important to recognize that an engaged workforce and there’s typically two metrics that researchers use to gauge how well a person is doing.
They look at engagement, which is how well they’re doing at the workplace and well-being is how well are you doing outside of the workplace. Things like health, relationships, financial stability, all those kinds of things are reflections of well-being. Whereas engagement is how invested I am at work. How energetic am I? How much am I pouring realistic time, energy and effort into doing well at work?
And the key thing is, and what’s so fascinating about this research is that we tend to think of engagement as the workplace well-being as at home. The research is absolutely clear that they are mutually influential, that what happens at the workplace affects what happens at home. And what happens at home obviously is brought to the workplace. I bring myself to work.
And so concerns I have with other issues are going to have an impact. And so both of them influence each other. And we have to look at the both to understand the whole person, the whole individual.
Now, what is so cool about that is that I think the research showed and this is more recent research showed that engagement influences aspects of wellbeing beyond what we think. So you might think, well, if I’m happy at work, I’m going to be happy at home. True. But it’s also true that if I’m happy at work, I tend to be more healthy at home. My relationships are stronger at home. Obviously, my financial stability can be better at home because I’m engaged in meaningful work.
It’s a fascinating thing that I think most employers are unaware of the outsized impact that they can have in both spheres. The more I promote engagement, the more it spills over and enhances the well-being of that individual and also makes it easier when they are having trouble to be able to focus at work.
So if they’re having difficulty at home, they can focus at work as well. And so employees that identify as thriving, the characteristic of not just muddling through, not just enduring, but actually thriving, growing, vibrant. And that is, again, research tracks that employees who identify as thriving, who have both high engagement and high well-being, report greater confidence in managing the unexpected.
It gives them greater buoyancy, greater ability to take the hit when the hit comes and I bounce back quicker, more effectively. I.E., resilience. I have greater resilience the more my engagement is fostered at the workplace. But not only is it protective, but an engaged workforce is profitable.
I think the research, this was somewhat surprising, that the research found that business units with high engagement, employees who report high engagement, are 23% more profitable overall. And so they quite frankly, they make more money, they are more profitable.
And also some of the things that are cost dreams, they experience lower turnover, experience lower absenteeism, lower accidents at the workplace, and they experience higher customer loyalty. So not just their employees, but engagement is an investment in customer loyalty.
Because it turns out customers like shopping and doing business and procuring services from places where the employees are engaged, where there is a positive workplace culture. Customers want to go to a place where I think those who are meeting my needs, whatever it is, they pick it up, they pick it up. And they say, that’s a place I want to do business with. I want to go back there. And so engagement is both protective and profitable at the same time.
Shane McNally: [00:06:37] And before we move on, I just kind of wanted to talk a little bit about that first point about the engagement and well-being. And I think that you mentioned it a little bit, but it could be anything that outside that it affects you inside. It could be a family pet is sick or it’s a loved one is is you know, they’re sick or they just passed or something like that, that can totally impact how somebody does at work.
And then when they go to work, if there’s no support, no engagement, nothing, you know, it’s just like they’re clearly not going to feel, you know, appreciated or supported by that company. And then it’s not going to reflect, right?
Jeff Gorter: [00:07:20] I think that’s a great observation and really, again, makes it very, very real to so many of us. That OK, those issues that I am not holding my employer responsible for the death of my pet or for an ill loved one or for a situation that occurs in my, you know, among my friends or in my neighborhood.
But what you highlight, what is implied and it’s nuanced but it’s powerful, is that the engagement I have at work is sustaining. It gives me more energy. It gives me more bandwidth to be able to manage those things in my outside of work life, because the workplace is providing an engaged, energizing environment for me.
So it’s not that the manager directly impacts what I do with my pet, but it he provides that opportunity. Workplace is functionally resilient, which is to say when I have success at work, it breeds success in other areas of my life.
When I’m able to confidently do something at work and feel that my efforts were worthwhile and engaging, that spills over. That gives me confidence. Well, maybe I can also manage these other things in my life. And so it is a core bedrock element that is so often overlooked. And it’s why I want to highlight that leadership really plays an unexpected and outsized role in promoting not just engagement at work, but well being at home.
Shane McNally: [00:09:13] And I think that’s perfect into the next slide. You know, talking about leadership and really getting into the nitty gritty of things.
Jeff Gorter: [00:09:23] Exactly. And so leadership really is the key, as you’ve sure picked up already, as I’ve been talking about. And one of the, again, I’m looking at research. I want this all to be grounded in research. And one of the largest surveys recently on burnout, which I think we can we can disengagement is certainly an aspect of burnout. They identified that of all the reasons that people say, here’s what fuels my burnout, here’s what fuels my disengagement, far and away, the number one contributor was feeling unfairly treated at work, unfair treatment at work, closely followed by lack of manager support.
So again, feeling unfair and feeling lack of support, putting that again in the context of a crisis. So when a crisis occurs and if I feel that I am misunderstood, mistreated, unfairly asked to do things or unfairly blamed for things, if I feel that the manager’s only response is, well, get back to work- time is money following the crisis – that just highlights that sense of disengagement. And those are things that leaders have a direct influence over.
And conversely, looking at the positive, those who report my manager truly cares indicates the highest levels of thriving. Recall, the highest levels of engagement at work and well being at home, both in and out of work, those who feel that their manager cares have the highest levels of of engagement.
And crisis again, think about the judgments that fall on leaders following their crisis. Judgements of were they fair, did they get it, were they supportive, were they caring, were they reasonable in their expectations and did they have a plan? All of those things, think again, in a workplace crisis that brings all these issues to sharp focus that how a leader communicates is going to directly influence the sense of feeling fairly treated at work and supported.
Shane McNally: [00:11:50] And just to kind of a follow up question on that, Jeff, you know, with leadership and now we’re talking maybe it is something in work, maybe a, you know, I feel like disruption can come in so many different forms. They can be the bigger things. Like we mentioned earlier, maybe it’s a workplace shooting.
But it could also be something as simple as, you know, coworkers are out to lunch and one of them drops and has a heart attack or something like that. And they could be totally fine. But those that are around the person and saw this person drop and have a heart attack, that’s a pretty daunting thing. And they may not be able to just go straight to work. So is it always important for leadership to be active and supportive and provide resources even with the smaller things that kind of disrupt those coworkers?
Jeff Gorter: [00:12:39] Well, you ask a very poignant question because one can say, you know, let’s say it’s a small work group and one of the members has a heart attack or dies in a automobile accident. Let’s say it’s a small bank branch and there was a note passing robbery, no weapons brandish, no threats made but somebody passed a note and the teller was robbed. You might say, well, you know, how significant was that? How important was that? It was pretty doggone important to that one individual, to that one employee, the one who works next to the person who’s no longer going to come back to work, the one who was in that queue and had to receive it and had to give the money because they understood there’s an implied threat.
It’s not the — it’s not as if there’s an objective criteria that one can say, ah, well, this crisis clearly meets some arbitrary metrics of crisisness and that it is worthy of response. No, it’s not the crisis that drives it. It’s the impact on the individuals that drives it.
And so you are absolutely correct. It’s not a numbers game. It’s not about, well, did it make the local news and therefore we can now treat it as a crisis? No. Most savvy leaders know what a crisis is for their folks. And it might be something as mundane, if that’s a correct term to use with crisis.
If it’s something as coarse of life events as the kinds that we’re talking about, it doesn’t always have to be a big, giant issue. It can be something that impacts perhaps only a handful of people. But how the leader responds to it shapes their culture and begins to foster that engagement. Those are opportunities.
Shane McNally: [00:14:58] Disruptions in the workplace are inevitable. Following a disruption being reactive will typically be much more impactful on your employees and organization. Having a proactive plan and resources available following a disruption is key as a leader.
R3 Continuum can help. Our disruptive event management services offer the best in practice and tailored solutions to help your organization following a disruption. Learn more about our services and connect with us at www.r3c.com or email us directly at email@example.com.
R3 Continuum (R3c) is a global leader in workplace behavioral health and security solutions. R3c helps ensure the psychological and physical safety of organizations and their people in today’s ever-changing and often unpredictable world. Through their continuum of tailored solutions, including evaluations, crisis response, executive optimization, protective services, and more, they help organizations maintain and cultivate a workplace of wellbeing so that their people can thrive. Learn more about R3c at www.r3c.com.
R3 Continuum is the underwriter of Workplace MVP, a show which celebrates the everyday heroes–Workplace Most Valuable Professionals–in human resources, risk management, security, business continuity, and the C-suite who resolutely labor for the well-being of employees in their care, readying the workplace for and planning responses to disruption.