Performance Management in Times of Crisis

We sat down with Drs. Lisa Aufegger and David Wasley to learn more about performance management in times of great stress and crisis.

  • Dr. David Wasley, Senior Lecturer in Health and Exercise Psychology at Cardiff Metropolitan University.
  • Dr. Lisa Aufegger, Honorary Research Fellow at Imperial College. She holds a PhD in Performance Science.
How can employers be empathetic to their employees' mental health needs, while still ensuring work is completed?

DW and LA: Employers should ensure that employees stay healthy and happy, which, among others, include reducing their risk for (mental) illnesses, addressing quality of work life issues, and ensuring overall job satisfaction. In times like these it is important to increase employees' psychological capital or capacities, which are reflected in the cognitive, behavioural, and emotional resources that individuals draw from when responding to challenging circumstances. These capacities could be employees' perception on achieving goals (optimism), successfully applying coping strategies, experiencing positive feeling of confidence (efficacy), an increased ability to create multiple pathways to deal with situations (hope) and, if workplace adversity arises, the ability to bounce back and use an alternative path (resilience).

Employees who possess high levels of psychological capacity are able to better prepare and face stressful situations and experiences within their organization. How can employers ensure that such psychological capacity is maintained, nourished, or even enhanced? Studies have shown that high-performance work systems, strategies such as enhanced team-working, greater job autonomy, assured job security, and a supportive management have been positively related to productivity and financial performance in large firms (250 or more employees), and to labour productivity in smaller firms (fewer than 100 employees). Thus, reassurance and support from the management will be key in sustaining performance and expectations from employers.

Relevant references for further reading:

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