Seed World

How Are You Reenergizing Employees?

It’s been almost two years since the world entered into a global pandemic, and businesses and employees are starting to return to live as normal — or as normal as it can be.

As the final puzzle pieces fall into place and employees trickle back into in-person offices, it’s important to start looking at what changed for employees during the pandemic. Are you seeing signs of burnout? Signs of fatigue? What will it take to revive an exhausted and mentally drained workforce?

Here’s five tips to help reenergize those employees and keep them in tip-top shape for the future:

1. Keep Physical Health Top-of-Mind


More than ever now, physical health has moved top-of-mind for employees.

“We haven’t seen a difference in what employees expect from benefits, but we have seen much more use of them,” says Danny Stowers, U.S. human resource business partner at RiceTec. “We’ve done much more through remote virtual pieces, such as virtual doctor visits, and questions about those have gone up significantly.

“There’s been an increased look at sick time,” he continues. “We’re encouraging it much more frequently than we had before. If someone’s sick, we have a much stronger impulse to say: ‘Stay home, get well.'”


2. Mental Health a Bigger Concern


Mental health has emerged as a topic people are more open to speak about. According to the CDC, Americans have said their mental health has declined due to the pandemic. To avoid burnout, employers need to start talking about mental health.

While it’s uncomfortable to ask someone, especially
in a work environment, how their mental health is,
it could help someone’s life.

“We have to be brave,” says Shawn Brook, president of Seed World Group. “And we have to educate ourselves about mental health. There are so many great opportunities — Mental Health First Aid being one. The awareness that comes from that
feeds the bravery.”

A new trend has emerged in the mental health of those aged 20-39 since June 2021. Most notably, increases in stress, anxiety and negativity bias and decreases in sustained attention and planning capacity.

3. Flexibility is Key


During the pandemic, one thing was noticed: employees want more flexibility, especially when it comes to remote work vs. a physical office space.

“The resume fatigue is tough,” says Doug Miller, executive director of the Canadian Seed Growers Association. “Moving forward, it’s about establishing boundaries and a playbook.
That’s all embedded within your company’s culture and how
you interact with the new digital world.”

Some employees are calling for more of a hybrid setup, but
when it comes down to it: learning flexibility is important to combat COVID fatigue.


4. Encourage a Healthy Work-Life Balance


In addition to flexibility, time is becoming one of the more important benefits. In particular, time that allows companies to encourage a healthy work-life balance. Being allowed flexibility for family or even volunteer time is becoming a valuable benefit.

Stowers mentioned that in 2020, due to COVID, there was a decrease in personal time off (PTO) hours taken for vacation time.

“We did an outreach to say, if you have time, we want
you to take this time off to decompress and relax,” he says. “We want employees to use their benefits and to take advantage of everything we have available for them.”


5. Provide a Way to Grow

Finally — need to give your team a boost? Make sure to provide them with personal and career growth opportunities.

“We have a fair amount of employees who started with us as interns, and evolved into joining us full time after college,” says Laura McKee, benefits specialist at Beck’s Hybrids. “Our younger generation seem more interested in personal growth and development, as well as advancement opportunities.”

By incorporating career growth and personal growth opportunities, companies can keep employees locked in and excited to come back to the office.

Editor’s Note: Compiled with files from Seed Speaks and Strategy Webinars.