Posted on 9th September 2015 by Sam Harrop in Our Thoughts, Employee engagement
Leadership teams spend time, energy and money trying to engage employees in the belief that they will perform better, be committed and go the extra mile for the business. And it is true that there is a positive pay-off – at the very least employees understand the most recent changes happening in the business and how they affect them.
Clear, concise and engaging communication is a great start to helping employees to understand where the business is heading and what role they can play in achieving success. Listening to ideas and feedback and responding and acting on these contributions help people feel valued and part of the bigger picture. Having the right conversations, at the right time and providing constructive feedback and development are also crucial to helping individuals perform to the best of their capability. Treating people as adults, showing respect and valuing differences all have an important role to play.
However, many employees still feel unable to perform at their best.
So what’s missing?
A factor we should consider and take more seriously is employee wellbeing. Wellbeing needs to be considered not as a ‘fluffy addition’ or just added to a long list of requirements for Health and Safety to deal with. Of course, the Health and Safety of employees is paramount and companies must take the risk to physical safety seriously.
But wellbeing is much more than that.
Wellbeing addresses the whole person. We all know we perform at our best when we feel good – when we have energy, feel positive and confident and ready to take on the world. Of course we need the skills and the know-how but that is only part of the equation.
We all recognise this when we watch sport – an athlete can have trained all year, honed their skills and their body into peak condition but if their confidence is low, they don’t feel focused or have issues on their mind they do not perform at their best.
We also know the key reasons for short- and long-term absence from the workplace and these include stress, back pain and musculoskeletal problems – all of which can be alleviated by a change in working lifestyle.
So how do we incorporate wellbeing into the workplace and change the way we work to benefit the organisation’s collective wellbeing? There are a number of strands to work on – from creating a clear sense of purpose and motivation, to building great relationships; from how we manage and coach, to educating people as to how to they manage their energy and build resilience; from implementing supportive policies, to encouraging ownership and personal responsibility.
A great place to start is to consider what wellbeing means for your business and plan a strategy from there. It is essential to align and incorporate it into other strategic goals and aspirations – make it part of a great people strategy. Wellbeing isn’t a standalone, nice to have addition – perhaps it is time to think of it as a vital vein running through your organisation.
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