Let’s set the scene. You’ve just landed another speaking opportunity for your spokesperson a couple days following a big release. It’s a great opportunity for the company and will help reach a large target audience. The briefing document is ready, and you’re ready to send it off, but your spokesperson tells you they’re burnt out. What do you do now?
Usually positioned at the top of the organizational chart, leaders’ mental health is often overlooked – personally and organizationally. This can be due to an overload of responsibility or the innate tendency to mystify people at the top. However, mental wellness in upper sections of the organizational chart can significantly impact organizational culture and outcomes.
Several studies, including the famous Hawthorne studies have highlighted how work environment and company culture can impact employee productivity. Mental health particularly can be a silent determinant to a company’s performance.
But when it comes to mental health, how can employees balance rest and productivity?
#1: Listen and act
The suite can be charged to deliver their company’s messages as it relates to their discipline on several occasions. Embodying the company can become one of their key job functions.
The first step to take when someone expresses that they need a break or do not have the bandwidth is to listen. You can then re-strategize according to their needs and act as an ally in navigating next steps for their wellness.
As allies we can also locate any resources or opportunities. To start, the Center for Workplace Mental Health offers several resources.
#2: Look for burnout across the organization
More often than not, if one person feels burnout, others could be experiencing the same thing. This is not because mental wellness is contagious, but because its effects can domino across the organization. For example, imagine your spokesperson is struggling with mental health and misses deadlines as a result. This could unintentionally put pressure on others, increasing their stress levels and fatigue. Close communication and strong intuition can help leaders detect when team members need additional support.
#3: Promote collaboration
Encouraging collaboration on projects across the company not only helps in sharing the scope of work – thus, reducing workload – but also creates the opportunity to build rapport amongst teams. With the new hybrid workforce, mental wellness, collaboration, and communication have been fundamental in reaching business goals.
#4: Spread the spokesperson wealth
On a broader organization level, one of the key ways of navigating burnout amongst spokespeople is making leveraging different people to talk about the company. This helps people foster their own brands while growing the number of people capable of delivery the company’s message and vision. Admittedly, some people may not be well-equipped to engage in public speaking or media opportunities. However, with the proper media training and message development, employees could adequately take on the role of a spokesperson. Regardless of the presence of a spokesperson, employees should be familiar with the fundamental messages that represent the company. This helps in managing for tomorrow, building agency amongst employees, as well as promoting transparency and trust across the company.
#5: Reassess and prepare
With all this in mind, when a spokesperson expresses they need a break from speaking opportunities, it may be time to assess how your business objectives align with your workforce’s bandwidth. This could be as simple as considering outsourcing opportunities, tightening media outreach, developing other avenues to deliver your key messages, or passing opportunities to new voices.
Mental wellness impacts everyone, and there is no one size fits all solution. However, with the right resources, opportunities, and support, companies can build a healthy culture that prioritizes everyone in the workforce while maximizing productivity.