The world is in disarray right now. Everyone can sense it: an avalanche of socio - economic and political turmoil is threatening to upend everything from the governance to the economy. Some of society's most steadfast structures are now being called into question.
War and terrorism have been well-known to have an effect on the strategic leadership of organizations but the majority of research examines their macroeconomic consequences, such as GDP growth and inflation, or microeconomic repercussions, such as insurance premiums and supply chain disruptions. In terms of psychological effects, consumer spending and stock prices tend to steal the spotlight. The impact of these conflicts on employee experience is often overlooked.
Global conflicts may seem to be concerns beyond the pressing tasks of the everyday in the workplace but they have a significant impact on employees’ psyche, leading to changes in stress levels and altering the way people show up to work. They have a strong correlation to organisational commitment and the workplace outcomes it is linked to, like improved job performance, reduced absenteeism and support for organisational reform.
Effects of Russia-Ukraine conflict
The present crisis in Russia and Ukraine, as well as sanctions imposed by several countries, undoubtedly has repercussions on every other nation that relies on trade and business with Russia and Ukraine.
With regard to the workforce, this economic turmoil shaking markets the world over is forcing companies outside of the Russian and Ukrainian borders to delay or cancel projects, resulting in furloughs and layoffs for affected workers and management, simultaneously breeding uncertainty and stress. Employees are feeling the effects of the situation on a more personal level as well. Those who see colleagues and their families directly touched by military activities are finding it difficult to focus on business as usual.
Employers must indicate that they are aware of this and ensure that they are not viewed as indifferent or apathetic to the human consequences of an ongoing war.
Employee well-being in times of conflict
The task of leaders in the midst of such chaos is to disentangle their employees' sense of unsteadiness from their capacity to reason, act, and accomplish. The pandemic had already strengthened the roots of the exhaustion epidemic, the ensuing chaos is further impeding the abilities and habits that enable us to think flexibly, distinguish between genuine and speculative hazards, and maintain a calm front in the face of difficulty.
Worker fatigue and mental health issues have become severe business concerns. Work-life issues, increased turnover, and decreased productivity can all be attributed to an overabundance of stress brought on by looming uncertainty and change.
Managing effects of global conflict at a cultural level
Leaders are well-aware of the importance of mental health, but in the midst of conflict, when strategic planning takes precedence over many other factors, addressing the issue can take a backseat.
However, employees are the backbone of any organization. Leaders can make use of already instated programmes such as Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) to services for employees who are experiencing a variety of mental health issues.
It’s important to note that employees are looking for more than just in-office assistance; they are looking for compassion. Sabbaticals, hybrid working options, flexitime, PTOs, and solutions to support their financial well-being are all a part of the genuine caring attitude that leaders can extend to their employees.
Employer-employee relationships were dramatically altered by the pandemic. Employees expect more help and humanity from their leaders today. Risk and uncertainty can be turned into opportunities and resilience if we take action in time. If there was ever a time to make the new world of work a human world of work, it is now.
(Marut Bhardwaj is the Country Head of Potential Project, India- a global consulting & professional services firm. Views are personal)