Are Your Best People Happy, Stressed or Job Hunting?

Stressed EmployeeAs you well know, Covid fatigue is on the rise along with stress, mental health concerns, depression, turnover and more. It’s no secret the last year has created a lot of fear, anxiety and in many cases intense self-reflection. The 2021 Working Americans’ State of Stress report found that 76 percent of workers described themselves as currently stressed. Others are seriously considering making a switch which can negatively impact sales, service and staff morale.

While some employees may be a little apprehensive, others are downright overwhelmed.

Should I change jobs?
Will I get sick if I return to work in the office?
Will working remotely limit my career opportunities?
How can I motivate my team virtually and retain my best employees?
Does anyone really care?

I’m sure you can add to this list of important yet anxiety-producing questions.

Tailor Your Support to Retain Talent

In the HR world, we talk repeatedly about the importance of employee well-being. However, if you want to keep your best people and attract new talent in this Covid chaos, demonstrating you really do care is a must and non-negotiable. That means your leaders and managers must listen carefully to each individual and tailor their approach.

Several months ago I got an email from Susan, a supervisor who took the time to arrange both Zoom and in-person meetings with each of her staff. She wanted to find out how they were doing, uncover their concerns and provide support whenever possible. As anticipated several folks asked for flexibility in scheduling hours. One rep needed an issue resolved with another department. Not surprisingly, a few admitted they were struggling with anxiety and asked to be referred to a counselor or just take a mental health day to unwind.

Susan said these deeper conversations were a bit uncomfortable at first. However, she was quite pleased when her staff expressed appreciation that she took the time to listen and provide whatever support she could. In fact, one of her reps admitted he was no longer considering other job opportunities. Clearly, Susan’s conversations positively impacted retention.

Takeaway – Have an Honest Conversation!

How can I helpFind out what your team members need to perform their job, reduce stress and feel valued. Schedule those important check-in conversations. Ask specific questions. What kind of support would be helpful to you now and how can I help? How are you doing physically, mentally and emotionally? The answer may frustrate, surprise or delight you. However, not knowing may pose a greater risk. On the upside, asking, listening and offering solutions will likely build more trust and possibly retain a valued employee!

Thanks and appreciate your thoughts and tips as well!


Barb is best known for delivering idea-packed and interactive leadership and employee engagement programs that move people to take action. She has received high marks for her mega and super sessions at several SHRM Annual Conventions, the SHRM Strategy Conference and many Fortune 500 and leadership conferences and staff retreats.

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