We now celebrate an extraordinary, long-awaited milestone ending the COVID-19 gap year, which affected all American industries. As Bob Dylan once sang, “times are a-changin’.” We mark a turning point for “new normal” factors in the workplace. We also note changes to organizational personalities or cultures.
“Always on” owners, operators and workers in our community of practice handled a) chaotic business conditions, b) accelerated technology enablers, plus c) that totally disruptive coronavirus. Studies suggest that extroverts addressed COVID stressors differently than did introverts. Likewise for accepting technology. Resilience, or a worker’s capacity to endure and bounce back, likely suffered in too many cases.
Now, we should address personal and organizational factors of:
- “always on” fatigue,
- episodic or chronic stress,
- diminished resolve,
- physical separation and disengagement, plus
- shifts in technology and business approaches.
Now, many folks face some degree of post-COVID fatigue, or PCF. Some personnel seem virtually unscathed, but too many may experience awful after-effects.
Fatigue is difficult to measure. Long-lasting fatigue can be overlooked. And fatigue can trigger awful after-conditions in our community’s valuable knowledge workers.
An identified approach is to adapt, then deliver meaningful change.
Organizations can refresh, rebalance and reboot engagement efforts to counter employees’ chronic fatigue factors, boost their resilience and apply lessons learned from COVID-19. Organizations should focus, act and track crucial learning and development efforts that they institute for their human capital.
A fairly new model from PricewaterhouseCooper — the return on experiences, or ROX, framework — may improve balanced, three-way performance results, starting with internal staff efforts.
The notable payoff is that meaningful changes can offset PCF (and other stressors) in staff members and build their experiential resilience. Returns from these efforts, thereby, can improve returns for organizational and client experiences.
Work was dramatically changed by COVID-19 and technology accelerators in 2020-2021, so knowledge workers also should change to enhance future client experiences in our facilities.
Organizational personalities changed
One provocative Australian source suggested that our pre-COVID workplace resembled an individual ISTJ personality:
- Introverted (I),
- Sensing (S),
- Thinking (T) and
- Judgmental (J).
That “as-is” workplace context was predictable, orderly, data-driven and structured.
1. The ISTJ temperament is the profiled personality of almost 12% of American workers.
2. On Myers-Briggs macro-scales; Introverts slightly outnumber Extroverts, Sensory workers greatly outnumber Intuitive workers, Feelers greatly outnumber Thinkers, and Judgmental workers far surpass the percentage of Perceptive workers.
This same source suggests that the new, post–COVID business scape is like an individual ENFP personality:
- Extroverted (E),
- Intuitive (N),
- Feeling (F) and
- Perceiving (P).
Our “new normal” workplace thus explores new ideas, seeks change and relies on ingenuity. The workplace situationally adapts, and it tends to disrespect tradition.
Note, this ENFP temperament reflects the personality of only about 8% of the American workers according to MyersBriggs.org. A major mismatch looms between personality and business!
Consider subjective linkage of organizational change to worker resilience in our post-COVID age of fatigue and discomfort. Management guru Peter Drucker advised that every 21st-century knowledge worker would be responsible for her or his professional growth. Yet learning organizations also should invest in those individual development and growth efforts to enable higher organizational returns.
By addressing the five fatigue factors cited earlier, employee, client and organizational successes should result.
A knowledge worker with a documented ENFP temperament might thrive and strive in our new normal age. Conversely, an introverted (ISTJ) worker might experience added stress and suffrage from technology shifts and chronic personal fatigue.
How an individual copes with a) fatigue and b) “always on” demands, and c) how she or he bounces back also is unique from the vantage of 16 personalities.
The onus is on leaders and managers to recognize unique personal stressors as decremental causes, then effect tailored ways and means as counters to boost employee ROX. Myers-Briggs suggests four tailored actions based on worker temperament and preference:
- Create time and space for each worker to uniquely switch off.
- Be aware of information overload and mitigate it (as feasible) for each personality.
- Create boundaries: Consider one’s effect on others. Identify support needed and take conscious actions to attain them.
- Implement a long-view work life / personal life balance that suits each unique knowledge worker.
In summary, senior living organizations must help workers find their unique sweet spots to optimize positive experiences amid change.
Our new dawning is a most opportune time to restate their essential, changing wants and needs. Individual learning and development / growth initiatives to rebuild personal resilience, and mind-body wellness, will improve organizational ROX.
The opinions expressed in each McKnight’s Senior Living guest column are those of the author and are not necessarily those of McKnight’s Senior Living.