Fostering Employee Wellbeing In The Flow Of Work
The topic of "wellness" or "wellbeing" is widely spoken and written today. The use of these two words today is a result of a long journey as we kept evolving our understanding of the subject. The two words are more holistic and well-rounded. These encompass all four facets of a human – physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.
Gone are the days when the topic of wellness was largely restricted to diseases. Organizations have long embraced their focus on reactive care for disease, disorder, and distress. It is time, and we already see the shift happening around us in preventive care like the below which greatly helps employees to be in good spirits.
mental health support
work-life balance resources
My POV around employee wellness is to create a workplace of health and happiness at all touchpoints of the employee experience. My interest is to speak about the day-to-day affairs and aspects that influence creating a healthy and happy workplace. See if the pointers under each sub-heading below ring a bell in your head.
"If your actions match your words you have the power to inspire and influence change."
If your organization is keen on promoting a positive and healthy workplace, it starts with the leadership talking and living that language. The first indicator is how the leadership's immediate team or direct reports are doing in terms of health and morale.
How are they being treated? How do they handle work stress and busyness? What kind of allowances and investment is made on their health and morale? How frequently do they take leaves? Are they implicitly rewarded for working long hours?
These are pertinent questions to ponder as few organizations have leaders who propagate A to the larger audience and B to their own immediate teams. This is a real red flag and needs a prompt fix before people lose trust in the leadership. HR needs to get the leadership alignment right and strong.
Developing inclusive team managers
"Inclusion is your passcode to building trust with people and teams."
I truly believe that the micro-culture reflects the macro-culture being lived or not lived in the organization. People leave toxic "micro-cultures". The reason is they directly suffer from them, which strongly impacts their health and morale.
The influencer of micro-culture is the team manager; therefore, organizations must undertake appropriate measures to ensure the team managers are adequately competent to drive team health and morale.
Pivot your manager development programs to "inclusive leadership skills," wherein many facets are discussed about psychological safety, fairness, having a voice, etc. Just as we spend a lot of time and effort selecting a leader for a unit or section, the same time and effort needs to go into qualifying a team manager.
There are irreparable costs associated with having a bad manager. HR needs to actively ensure a workplace of health and happiness is created by placing positive and competent team managers.
Encourage employee commitment
"Employee experience is a participatory sport, everyone is responsible."
There is a misinterpretation that employee experience is the responsibility of HR, team manager, or leadership. But the fact is, it is the responsibility of everyone who walks in and out of the organization's ecosystem.
Every aspect of an organization influences employee experience, including each employee or individual. This fact is often forgotten and leads to an imbalanced equation.
The organization needs to do a clean job of verbalizing its core culture behaviors and pivoting them along the employee lifecycle of hiring, promoting, assessing, and rewarding. Most organizations do a great job of verbalizing their culture. But only a few organizations are adept at homogenizing it in the people and business processes, making it a way of life.
Making your culture the beacon gives you a common language and connotation to bring all on the same plane.
It is important to have measures in place to counteract employees who indulge in undesirable behaviors, leading to an unhealthy workplace. HR needs to identify, measure, and track employees' commitment to building a healthy workplace for sustenance.
Setting up organizational systems
"What gets measured gets done and redone until it becomes a culture."
After having straightened the leadership, team managers, and employees, it is key to have the right systems, processes and practices in place for sustenance.
Measure and track using a dashboard on leave utilization, work log-in/out hours, hybrid work choices, productivity metrics, employee engagement scores, attrition, etc. These data points will throw interesting correlations and causations.
Suggested read: 15 Crucial Employee Engagement Metrics For Successful Surveys
Trust me, this will be a potential fodder for great conversations leading to desirable and meaningful policymaking. Ensure there are 24/7 counseling or mental health services either in-house or partnered with a vendor.
Poll for topics of interest from employees around "wellness". Get expert speakers in-house or from outside to interact with to improve employee awareness. Allow employees to do short sessions on their hobbies or interests they have nurtured with fellow colleagues and friends at the workplace.
Eventually, when you know you have established the above four foundations strongly creating a healthy and happy workplace, talk about it to the world by taking part in awards, contributing to news articles, and branding it to the world.
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