Planning for the New World: A Q&A with Mark Atkinson
Blogs 16th May 2019 3 minutes read
Healthy, happy employees are more motivated and perform better – no surprises there. In fact, one report claims that FTSE 100 companies that prioritise employee engagement and wellbeing outperform the rest of the FTSE 100 by 10 per cent.1 In short, supporting wellness in the workplace makes sense at every level, for employers and employees. So, what can organisations do to promote wellness at work? As it is Mental Health Awareness Week, we wanted to share our top tips:
1. Put wellbeing on the executive agenda
A greater focus on wellbeing has to start at the top. Organisations need to address the issue at board level and develop a strategy designed to support staff. When employees feel that leaders are mindful of their needs, they are more likely to be committed and enjoy better morale.
2. Train managers
Do your managers know how to help their teams? Do they lead by example? Do they encourage employees to work reasonable hours, take proper lunch breaks and ask for help if they need it? Make sure managers also know what support is available so they can direct staff to other resources. Create clear guidelines so managers feel comfortable talking about wellness.
3. Check your HR policies
Any wellness strategy needs to be supported by appropriate policies that are clear and co-ordinated. Are your current policies on areas such as Health & Safety, Sickness Absence, Bullying & Harassment and Working Time joined up and supporting wellness?
4. Create an open culture
When employees feel comfortable opening up, you can identify problems and find solutions. They need an honest, open, secure environment where their thoughts will be taken seriously. Make such conversations a normal part of working life, with managers meeting with staff regularly and asking how they’re doing. Encourage senior leaders to be role models and raise awareness of issues such as mental health.
5. Encourage communication and engagement
Creating an open culture depends on two-way communication. Seek out employees’ views and involve them in decisions. When staff feel that leaders listen, there’s greater trust and loyalty. Organisations can use a whole range of internal communication channels, from staff surveys and internal groups to away days and one-on-one meetings.
6. Encourage work-life balance
Work-life balance isn’t just good for employees – it’s great for the balance sheet: when people are fit and happy, they tend to be more productive. Promote sensible hours, lunch breaks and flexible working if possible. Make sure people are free to enjoy a full life outside of work.
7. Make sure people are valued and recognised
This might seem like management 101, but you’d be surprised how many organisations fail to treat their workforce as actual human beings. Wellness depends on treating every person with respect and decency; understanding their differences; and praising achievements. In short, acknowledging that individuals are more than just employees.
8. Build a closer team
Good working relationships can make all the difference. When colleagues like and trust each other, they’re happier and able to build a support network. You can encourage bonding through social events, buddy systems and knowledge sharing. It’s also good to make it known that negative behaviour such as bullying will not be tolerated.
9. Offer development
Employees who don’t have the chance to train or learn can feel bored, unhappy and frustrated. Make sure everyone in the organisation has clear opportunities to develop and that managers discuss their team’s professional aspirations.
10. Make the workplace pleasant
Excess noise, uncomfortable furniture, too little (or too much) light – the state of the working environment can have a surprisingly big impact on wellbeing. Listen to what your teams tell you about their physical workplace. Make improvements if you can: space dividers, plants and quiet spaces can all make a difference.
When it comes to mental wellbeing, so much depends on a welcoming, inclusive culture, where people feel free to open up. At Green Park, we’re committed to nurturing diverse talent and supporting mental wellbeing in businesses worldwide. To find out more, contact our Diversity, Inclusion, Culture & Ethics consultancy.
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