It starts with more conversation.
The above may sound strange but one of the most common discussions pieces of the moment is that many are struggling because they do not feel they belong within a team, a community, a company and they do feel safe enough to be able to allow their voice to be heard. If we want great talent and people to prosper then this does need changing.
Studies have repeatedly shown that happiness hinges on social contact, and with 1:4 adults struggling with mental illness along with a shocking 48% rise in children between five and 15 diagnosed with emotional disorders (including anxiety and depression) since 2004, it has never been more important to start reaching out and opening up a conversation with those around you.
Many boards ask the question – why is it that young talent is struggling with a fear of failure and struggling to cope?
There are many answers but most are connected to feeling they are in a safe environment. So the questions that needs asking is “how do we create safe environments?”
It is not an easy issue to solve as many are struggling today with financial worries in the background which create a sense of unease and vulnerability. 4:10 today are losing sleep due to this concern which of course impacts on how they feel at work. This is compounded by another report noting that over 40% of employees feel lonely at work and struggle to build friendships. This is clearly sad and a negative influence.
Of course, there are many that will blame social media and there is some validity in this but arguably the primary issue is that real daily conversation has declined by a reputed 70%. In fact there is a direct parallel between the rise in loneliness figures and the decline in conversation – so the logical theme is that we need to start talking again, bringing people together to listen, understand far more and build new relationships.
The UK is an exciting society in many ways. Setting politics to one side, it is diverse and inclusive and it would be even better if we could reverse the above figure on the decline in conversation as this would in turn breed greater understanding and friendships that do cross boundaries. The world is changing and interestingly people are watching less TV but yes more social media which in turn is supporting a narrowness of understanding and thinking as all that is seen is not challenging perceptions and knowledge.
Little beats conversation and discussion – so the more that we can talk the better. It is the start of being able to reverse negative trends.