Written by Enshored Team on August 16th
The world of work is going through a period of intense change. Whether it’s the rise of remote work or the increased use of automation and artificial intelligence, the post-pandemic workplace is constantly evolving.
But amidst all these kaleidoscopic changes, there is another marked shift that’s fast becoming a top priority for global HR leaders. This is the growing emphasis on supporting employee wellbeing and mental health.
Last year the U.S. Surgeon General released the office’s first ever Framework for Workplace Mental Health and Wellbeing. This, along with the results of the American Psychological Association 2023 Work in America survey, confirms just how much of a priority wellbeing in the workplace has become.
The survey showed that 92% of workers said it is very (57%) or somewhat (35%) important to them to work for an organization that values their emotional and psychological well-being. However, with further surveys showing that 84% of respondents found their workplace conditions had contributed to at least one mental health challenge, there’s still a gap between what workers want and current workplace realities.
Filling that gap requires a firm commitment from companies to tackle toxic behaviours, create inclusive work environments and ensure resources meet employee needs. Leaders should also be held accountable for neglecting worker needs, sustainable work promoted and a zero tolerance of discrimination established.
But most importantly, when establishing a positive culture, the best companies seek to build a sense of community and belonging, ensuring that colleagues look out for each other.
This has become especially important in the BPO sector. In a fast-growing, pressurised industry that’s responsible for supporting the growth ambitions of thousands of US companies, helping employees cope with stress and maintain a work-life balance is critical.
To understand why, you only have to look at a Department of Labour and Employment study by the Philippines Government, which examined the challenges of Covid-19 on the IT-BPO sector. Extreme burnout or stress, difficulty in sleeping and low or reduced performance were some of the challenges identified.
Studies of this nature have helped to surface hidden mental health problems that many agents and content moderators working in BPOs face on a daily basis.
For content moderators on the front line, repeated exposure to hate speech, trolling and graphic content can leave them suffering from levels of workplace trauma similar to that experienced by first responders.
That’s why effective wellbeing programs including counselling, on-site psychologists and training that enables team leaders to spot early warning signs of deteriorating mental health have become an essential part of the BPO workplace.
At Enshored, we recognise that the success of the company is wholly dependent on building a supportive culture for its staff. And just as we seek to empower start-ups by bringing solutions and improvements to the table, we also continually strive to empower our people.
Our people’s development and growth are as important a part of our business plan as winning new verticals and driving up profit. This stems from a culture that’s confident, capable and part company, part tribe. Giving people a sense of belonging is key, as is the sense that they’re supported and looked after.
This is not simply a mission statement. It’s something we live and breathe, as was demonstrated during the Covid-19 pandemic, which was an incredibly stressful and unsettling time for workers.
In 2020, when the pandemic struck, nearly half of our work disappeared in sectors like travel, leisure, and hospitality. Instead of letting go of our hardworking team, we re-trained them while keeping the same levels of pay. We did not use the opportunity to cut costs and did not take up the Filipino government on its offer to introduce a 10% pay cut across the board.
It cost us tens of thousands of dollars each month, but we took the hit to support our people and their families. And we were rewarded with a stronger, more resilient workplace culture as a result.
“The pandemic created a lot of fear but we had some hope to cling to,” recalled Christine Marie Corado, Acting Team Manager at Enshored. “I was an agent back then and because we felt really supported, we felt incredibly motivated. I knew people who worked for other BPO companies and they didn’t hear anything from the management. All they heard was that they wouldn’t be paid unless they could get to work and that was impossible because of lockdown.
“When we heard that Enshored was going to dispatch computers and headsets to everyone so they could work from home, it was an enormous relief because we all thought we were going to lose our jobs. This was the time when I knew that I belonged here and knew I was in the right environment with the right people.”
But while the pandemic was a time when workplace culture was very much under the spotlight, Corado is quick to add that the support they receive hasn’t been rolled back since.
“In one year I’ve been promoted twice and all of that is because of the support I’ve received from team leaders and managers,” she says. “Whenever I have questions they’re always there and they drive you to become more assertive and better at your job.”
Our employee well-being programs ensure all team members:
In addition to this, Enshored supports social/family initiatives including
With the Philippines BPO industry contributing nearly $30billion to the economy each year and showing 8-10% annual growth, it has become a vital sector for the country. Indeed, it’s now estimated that the country holds 10-15% of the global BPO market.
And as it continues to grow, the race for talent will almost certainly be won by BPOs that prioritize employee wellbeing and positive company cultures.
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