Aspects of Wellbeing

What is missing from your wellbeing strategy?

There is no doubt that Covid19 Pandemic has put workplace wellbeing front and centre as employers innovated to find ways to support their staff working remotely, working remotely with the kids at home, key workers, key workers with kids at home and furloughed.  The pandemic has touched each and every one of us in some way and every one of the aforementioned categories of worker has bought its own set of challenges which have impacted upon our wellbeing in one way or another.


The HR Forums I belong to have been full of requests for recommendations for Mental Health First Aid training, employee recognition schemes and ideas and ideas and tips for maintaining morale.  It’s certainly made me think long and hard about my own wellbeing; the different aspects of me and my life that influence it both positively and negatively and how it all applies on a wider scale as a people professional trying to support employers and employees during this time.  Mental Health, Physical Health and Financial Wellbeing are aspects that will appear in most wellbeing strategies, but here are some aspects of wellbeing that might not be so obvious yet will have a significant impact on the overall success of your strategy:

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Values and Leadership

Firstly, do employees know the organisations values? Secondly, do they lead by example in demonstrating them?  One of the biggest ways to undermine a wellbeing strategy is to not address behaviour and policies that are at odds with your organisational values.  You can’t have “respect” as a value if your senior leaders don’t demonstrate it; you can’t value “trust” and then allow managers to micro-manage; you can’t value “collaboration” and then dismiss the ideas of others.  Leaders role-model their values and challenge others appropriately when they do not.  Take another look at your organisational values with your team; discuss what they mean to them?  What behaviour do they see that supports or undermines those values? Agree a team charter that captures this and encourage staff to refer to the charter when they see others not abide by its values; the whole team will soon start to role model the values and wellbeing will improve as a result.

Process

Ineffective processes are the cause of many frustrations at work. Whether it’s the handover from one department to another; a bureaucratic hierarchy or an IT system that keeps crashing – the bits of our jobs that make us pull our hair out are having a negative impact on our wellbeing.  Talk to your team about their work frustrations and create cross-team working groups to work on getting them fixed.

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Teamwork

We all know that teamwork makes the dream work; but when the team doesn’t work then the impact on wellbeing can be huge.  Often teams will work well individually, but have problems working with other teams.  Working on values and behaviour will have a positive impact on teamwork too, a further step in this direction is to get your team talking about the “why” of the organisation together and why the organisation’s why is important to them.  If you’ve not seen it yet, check out the TedEx Talk from Simon Sineck on the Gold Circle and Why.

Recognition

Never underestimate the value of a simple and genuine thank you; when our efforts feel like they are going unnoticed our wellbeing starts to takes a dive.  Recognition doesn’t have to come with a big award ceremony and a shiny trophy (although that’s nice too!) it can come from colleagues and customers as well as more senior managers.  Ask your team how they like to celebrate and then celebrate their successes; whether that’s by ordering in pizza for lunch or leaving a handwritten thank you note on their desk.  Take time to find out what makes your team members feel valued and make the effort to recognise them.

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Relationships

The quality of our interactions with others, both at work and at home, impacts on our sense of wellbeing.  As well as offering a traditional EAP, supporting your teams development with leadership skills, communication skills, problem solving skills and dealing with difficult conversations will not only have a positive impact on working relationships, the increased self-awareness is likely to have a positive impact on personal relationships too.

Purpose, Drive and Balance

Individuals who have a clear purpose and the drive to achieve it often deliver exceptional performance; but if they lack balance or external factors alter the balance, high performers can find themselves at risk of burnout.  High Performers are determined to succeed, great at problem solving and confident in their abilities – but they can often take on too much and might not be very good at asking for help; choosing instead to work harder or longer to succeed, besides, they’ll tell you that them doing it is quicker than delegating it. Whilst sometimes necessary as a short term fix, working harder and longer cannot be sustained long term.  Employers can support their high performers with regular check-ins to ensure they are not striving for unobtainable super-goals; ensuring that what can be delegated is delegated and they are getting some balance in their lives.

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Self-Awareness

How well we know ourselves, at our best and at our worst, can give us an insight into how well we are.  Our resilience, assertiveness, self-esteem and self-confidence; problem solving ability, focus and intuition are all aspects of ourselves that inter-relate; and if one aspect is negatively affected it can have a knock on impact on other aspects.  Say we’ve had a few sleepless nights worrying about an older relative who is unwell; we start to lose focus and find it hard to concentrate when we are tired, as a result we miss something our intuition would normally have flagged to us and the situation it creates feels bigger as a result, or is it just our ability to problem solve? Was that self-doubt? Or self-criticism? With our waning self-confidence goes our assertiveness, allowing ourselves to be walked over or just taking the easy path as it’s all we’ve got the energy for; before we know it we’re in a downward spiral. 

Being aware of ourselves and how we are responding to situations can help us to identify when we need to stop and make a change.  If you are able to, provide leadership development to all staff; leaders are self-aware and leadership takes place at all levels.  Having regular and authentic conversations with your team members will help you notice and provide support when someone starts to spiral down.

 
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