How do you create a company-wide resilience ‘sprint’ in an ‘agile’ world?
Employee mental health cannot be ignored as the leading cause of long-term sickness in Australia. As co-founder of HealthChase I speak to people, organisations and elite sporting clubs every day on how to engage teams to activate real change to better support mental (and physical) health outcomes. We also work with high performance leadership teams, many of which are using Agile concepts to project manage rapid change to remain competitive by ‘sprinting’ to meet the needs of customers. To cope with these changing environments, creating resilient teams is a priority.
Empowering people to be their most resilient self, increases the ability to cope with difficult and changing situations, at work and outside work and is key to being able to bounce back from challenges or adversity and succeed. Fortunately, individuals and teams can be taught and encouraged to become more resilient. For this reason, I thought I’d share how to create a company-wide resilience ‘sprint’ in an ‘agile’ world.
A little background… Agile led organisations adapt quickly to customer needs and business goals through cross-functional leadership, collaboration, teamwork, ownership and accountability. Frequent short sharp meetings of leadership teams identify changing needs and instigate ‘sprints’ of usually 2 or 4 weeks based on key criteria identified. The success of the ‘sprint’ is measured against these key criteria.
The good news is that a lot of the Agile concepts clearly link to behaviour change and resilience. The team at HealthChase have spent the last 4 years measuring employee engagement and behaviour change supporting wellbeing through Game based programs and here’s what we’ve found.
- Prioritise mental health and resilience and make it clear on visual boards. Place it front and centre, talk about it and agree on the key criteria, goals and desired outcomes for the team and business when it comes to mental health. Decide on length of sprints, 2 or 4 weeks? Anything longer loses momentum and engagement. Many organisations who have completed an engagement survey or track absenteeism will already carry the information to prioritise needs, but you need to take the next step and implement action to activate change.
- Keep the sprint framework simple and agile. As with the agile models, strength lies in the simplicity and swift adaptability to current need and implementation. We’re busy people and don’t have time to learn, track and analyse complicated and changing models. We found the hardest part of developing any new program is bringing it back to a basic and repeatable framework that consistently works regardless of focus. At HealthChase we use a game-based framework to activate employee and athlete engagement and promote resilience and high performance in short, sharp and rewarding sprints. We capture key metrics measuring outcomes and have four years of data demonstrating repeatable outcomes.
- Sprints should connect teams and create opportunities for peer to peer sharing and learning. Opening up communications and learning from each other in a timely way is more impactful than on-line content platforms. Team connectivity is a resilience precursor in its own right. Create an environment where communications are shared in a timely and visible way. Allow for peer feedback to get conversations around mental health going. Our recent 25 day Game ‘played’ with Australia Post’s 710 Retail Outlets rewarded for practices supporting better mental health and resilience and saw over 7,200 photos shared and 55,644 shared peer communications supported by a Game Master and on-line education. Peer to peer learning is the preferred method of learning.
- Team up for change. People are more likely to make a change for the good of the team or someone else than for themselves. Four years of behaviour change data collected at HealthChase confirms that teamwork is the leading engagement driver and motivator of behaviour change. Like agile leadership, teams working together bring greater results through purpose (also a resilience driver) and accountability to the team. This is why content platforms have such low engagement and results when it comes to activating change. They require self-motivation and often doing it alone.
- Don’t be prescriptive. Give people opportunity to use their skills and preferences to reach their goal. In our experience choice is the second highest motivator of change. “Don’t tell me what to do, let me do it in a way that suits me”. Give me options.
Gallup (2018) showed that employees feel greater confidence in the competitiveness and financial future of their organisation when their organisation is more agile and proven customisable game-based frameworks are a fantastic way to ‘sprint’ towards team resilience, positive wellbeing and performance supporting an agile way of working.
For more information on resilience models and game based wellbeing sprint models please contact Kyla at firstname.lastname@example.org