By Rose Oswald Poels
All of us have been tested, both personally and professionally, more this year than likely any other. Even before the pandemic really hit, bankers were juggling ongoing strong mortgage loan volume while also working on balance sheet management with no real end in sight to this low interest rate environment. With winter and the holidays fast approaching, and COVID cases at all-time highs in the state, it may be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Keeping your own spirits up as well as the morale of your staff are going to be critical in the upcoming months.
WBA’s Alex Paniagua recently wrote an article, “Maintaining Staff Morale in Covidian Times,” that I would urge each of you to read. Three WBA Associate Members contributed their expertise by sharing some of the best practices to ensure morale in the workplace continues to thrive. Checking in regularly with staff and being transparent are two at the top of the list. You may also want to share this article with your co-workers to start the conversation in your own institution.
Of equal importance to our Associate Member experts was culture which often drives more within our organizations than we think. That same idea was similarly addressed by the WBA Bank Executives Advisory Board during their topic considerations for the upcoming event. When they discussed staff morale becoming a bigger issue due to the pandemic, the conversation steered itself naturally to a healthy workplace culture being a key to keeping in-person and remote employees engaged. That’s one of the reasons the upcoming theme for our event is “Advancing Your Culture.”
Another resource you may consider is the WBA Human Resources Conference* which featured a session on becoming a mental health champion called “If It Weren’t for My Panic, I’d Be Going Crazy: A Humorous Survival Guide” presented by Sarah Noll Wilson. The challenges of mental health can be exacerbated during these times when connecting in person safely with others is also a challenge. Recognizing and addressing these challenges personally as well as in a professional setting can help.
For myself, I truly believe making the extra effort to be kind to one another is one of the most powerful things we can do to help our families, our co-workers, and our fellow Wisconsinites get through this. Everyone is processing the current situation differently and will be affected differently. A little more kindness and understanding can make all the difference with employee morale.
* The WBA Human Resources Conference is available on-demand. If you are interested in obtaining it, please contact WBA’s Miranda Helt at firstname.lastname@example.org.