Work stress at Youth Resources Niagara: “Our employee happiness has risen incredibly”
By Kirsten van Enk | 09/02/2021
Imagine for a second that you’re back in April 2020. The reality of Covid-19 is becoming more and more serious every day, and the weight of the pandemic begins to bear down on North-America. Lockdowns are announced, public places closed and more people are working remotely than ever before. But what if your employees are essential and have to be present at the workplace every day? How do you then ensure employee happiness? This was the case for Youth Resources Niagara.
Youth Resources Niagara consists of three rehabilitative homes that provide services for the youth in their community. Their services, programs and therefore employees are essential – and remote working did not apply. The impact of stress on employees was at least equal to, if not greater than those who had the opportunity to work from home. Additionally, working with troubled teens provides daily challenges that alone contribute to significant emotional drain.
Why start measuring their employee happiness?
“It was this concern that led us to 2DAYSMOOD’s survey tool,” explains Executive Director Mike Taylor. Although high stress levels may be expected in their line of work, added stress due to the pandemic could be disastrous for employee happiness. The tool allowed them, however, to consistently measure the moods and well-being of Youth Resources Niagara’s employees.
Four different teams, working at three different locations, each have their own personality characteristics, needs and worries. That makes it difficult to keep an overview that allows direct and personal follow-up to feedback. “2DAYSMOOD provided that for us,” says Mike Taylor. The tool has aided them in contemplating each of the teams with more direct clarity and context. This provides a more data-driven approach to lowering work stress and improving employee happiness.
Gathering objective insights
Youth Resources Niagara conducted a baseline measurement to see which problem areas required special attention to improve employee happiness. The heatmap that emerged as a result of the answers provided the clear and simple overview they had craved. “It spotlighted areas of development that needed attention. Besides that, it showed us the health of each unique program team, as well as the overall organizational well-being.”
The tool thus provided a consistent, well put-together means of gathering objective insights into the health, well-being and employee happiness of YRN’s workforces. “The results were exceptionally helpful and illuminating, and allowed us to move forward,” says Mike.
When YRN started with 2DAYSMOOD, the share of dissatisfied and stressed employees took up a staggering 58% against 42% enthusiastic or satisfied employees. During the trial period, they saw this improving and moving towards a 50/50 divide. Curious about the final result yet? Keep reading!
The 15 second survey
After the baseline measurement, the HR department sent out four separate targeted surveys on areas that needed special attention. Besides that, they started the weekly 15 second mood surveys to ensure they had a strong, ongoing barometer of the team well-being. Because of the continuous measuring, they could now see the trends amongst their employees’ moods and anticipate or offer support where necessary.
To follow up on the surveys, the management team meets weekly to discuss the results. “Only facilitating the surveys and interpreting the results does not automatically lead to improvements and advances,” says Mike. This requires dedication to listen to the feedback that employees provide and taking actual steps towards change.
Employee feedback helps shape plans
These weekly meetings result in both organizational as well as local program strategies and plans that respond to strengths and developmental needs. The staff is more engaged in new strategic plans, and their feedback helps review and shape the plans for the upcoming year.
“In looking at the narrative feedback of our employees, we have also witnessed the transformation to a more positive and upbeat outlook by employees, who are commenting on their own perceptions of improvement and attention in our workplace,” explains Mike. The changes are thus visibly well-received.
An incredible rise in employee happiness
As mentioned earlier, Youth Resources Niagara started their 2DAYSMOOD trial with a division of 58% dissatisfied or stressed employees, against 42% enthusiastic or satisfied employees. During their trial, this division moved towards a 50/50 divide. And now?
“We are ecstatic to see that the mood indicators have now risen substantially, with a 72% enthusiastic or satisfied rating against just 28% dissatisfied or stressed.” This means that their employee happiness has risen with 30%. Wow, what an incredible difference!
Infinitely stronger and more focused
The tool allows them to keep anticipating and looking forward based on the data already gathered. Mike Taylor: “Ironically, these enhancements in our workplace would not have been realizable if it were not for the first pandemic. But especially not without the aid and assistance of the resources 2DAYSMOOD has provided for us. Our employees seem to be growing more confident in their place and role, which has been incredibly satisfying. While our organization was in a healthy position even before participating in the surveys, we are infinitely stronger and more focused yet as a result of the support. And that’s something I’m not convinced we would have been able to achieve without the help of 2DAYSMOOD.”
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