While the tone and tenor of the morning news have shifted in the recent weeks, you still need to steel yourself for an emotional rollercoaster when you turn on the news, flip open your morning paper, or (as I prefer) take a look at its website. News concerning Covid-19, its variants, vaccine efficacy and availability, lockdowns, school decisions – ugh. It all makes each foray into the day’s news a hideous adventure.

While there’s no doubt optimism is on the rise, there’s no getting around the fact that the pandemic is really wearing on people and the next few months will be no picnic.

The conversations we’re having with our clients bear this out – they are paying particular attention to the factors that describe employee wellbeing and placing extra weight upon the feedback that’s shared.

We’re continuing to encourage all our clients to run Benchmark Assessments with their teams, especially if they delayed doing so last year, in order for them to understand how their people are doing and where they need some support, so they can act to help their teams be as resilient, connected and confident as possible.

Our founder, Stefan Wissenbach, is on a mission this year to aid businesses as they plan for the recovery. However, he’s sounding the alarm right now about the need for leaders to pause their planning and check in on their people.

“Business leaders are about to be hit out of the blue with employee issues they never saw coming,” he warns. “And the tragedy is that this will occur just as businesses are poised for recovery and need all hands on deck.”

The risk he sees in one that most leaders haven’t contemplated – and that is the breakdown of company culture due to the intense and unrelenting pressure the pandemic has put on people.

“Employers are feeling a false sense of security due to the high levels of employee engagement and performance they witnessed last year,” he states. “However, at this stage in the game, people are exhausted. They’re at their breaking points. They’re fragile.”