How HRs Can Crack the Code to Tech Workers' Wellbeing
How can people professionals ensure wellbeing of tech workers?
Today, the tech industry is going through a mental health crisis. The statistics reveal that over 70 percent of tech workers feel pressured to finish unattainable goals of their employers, which leads to a heavy workload and contributes to anxiety as employees feel forced to complete work by impossible deadlines set by their leaders.
To best describe the job of a developer or anyone who is in IT, as a matter of fact, it is like finding a needle in a haystack. The profession of a tech worker is surely laborious and even more stressful when one has to sit for hours and hours to troubleshoot a problem, only to realize there is a missing comma. Can you relate? An IT worker sure can!
The pandemic taught us new ways to continue working. Things that were unimaginable before were now turning out to be a part of daily lives. Who would have thought of fully implementing remote working a hundred years ago or a 4-day work week?
How has remote working turned out for IT professionals?
While work-from-home proved a blessing in disguise to many, it was not as fruitful for IT workers. (Yes, a blessing in disguise, as employers and people of many industries had little hope that it would bear any positive outcome, but surprisingly it did.)
In the case of IT tech workers, stress levels jumped to over 70 percent, as they are working even more amid the pandemic, which has caused an ongoing mental health crisis in the IT industry. Smh!
As per a study by Harvey Nash Group Technology & Talent Study, 75 percent of employees in IT are more concerned about their mental health than before the pandemic, despite their salaries rising. The reason for such an imbalance is that the workload has also increased simultaneously. To put it in other words, IT workers are now working even more than before for nominal hikes in their pay.
Why does the IT industry face high employee turnover?
Workload increases stress levels considerably. The IT industry is prone to high employee turnover. Why so? Employers ask for more than the achievable level of output from their employees, which adds extra burden and stress, as employees have to work overtime to complete a project. It becomes like a race against time. Therefore, people quit as the burden becomes unbearable.
Work-related stress and mental wellbeing have a direct relation. For employees to feel at ease and become more productive, their wellbeing is crucial. Humans are not machines. And if treated so, they will break down. This is what is happening in today's fast-paced world; depression, anxiety, emotional breakdown, suicidal thoughts, and whatnot!
As per BIMA’s Tech Inclusivity & Diversity Report, more than half, some 52 percent, of tech workers in the UK have suffered from either anxiety or depression.
How can tech leaders and people professionals ensure employee wellbeing in their workplaces?
The role of people professionals has become even more critical amid the pandemic in ensuring employee wellbeing to maintain low turnover. The Bees have compiled some three practices, if people professionals adopt, that can impact IT work dynamics remarkably:
1. Make mental health your organization’s priority:
People talk about mental health a lot, but there is little that they do about it. Improving the mental health of your employees should be at the core of your priorities list.
A study reveals that tech workers are prone to develop severe health problems due to the nature of their work, which is highly stressful. The National Library of Medicine (NIH) has shed light on the significant damage stress at work can do.
The study states that out of the 1,000 IT workers interviewed, 56 percent had musculoskeletal symptoms, while 22 percent were dealing with hypertension. The rate of those dealing with depression, anxiety, and insomnia was 54 percent, while 40 percent were obese.
Resource professionals might have to take the extra mile and the help of digital tools to bring about positive changes in employee wellbeing.
2. Invest in your staff!
A shallow relationship with your employees will not last long. Pep talks can only help if things said are followed in practice. Talking just for the sake of talking will not work at all.
It's high time that we understand the need to create not a superficial but a real bond with employees, a bond that respects employees and understands their limitations. Deloitte's stats show that wellbeing enhances employee productivity and plunges employee turnover to minus 25 percent.
Another survey by Blind revealed that 68 percent of tech workers are even more exhausted than the were while working in an office.
Work-from-home should not imply longer working hours. Employers must understand the need to set limits to working hours irrespective of whether it is remote work.
Leaders and HRs need to work together to chalk out solutions to boost employee wellbeing. Setting outlandish targets and asking them to overwork and meet impossible deadlines will make your employees exit your doors.
3. Need for an effective employee assistance program (EAP) to reduce employee burnout:
In a shocking revelation, Google data revealed a 221 percent spike in searches for signs of burnout. Causes of employee burnout are a result of many factors, such as job environment, mood swings, and personal and professional pressures. A healthy relationship with bosses can help employees to open up about their problems.
An effective EAP will ensure a work-life balance, so people professionals need to update their EAP. Digital tools today play an imperative role in understanding your employee wellbeing meter. Apps, with the help of AI analytics, can reveal how happy or sad your employee is, boost employee engagement and provide a resource center through which employees can improve themselves by working on the areas needed.