Work place well being – physical, emotional and cultural

Work place well being – physical, emotional and cultural

Why well being matters

Work place well-being is not just about free fruit or lunch-time yoga (although these are great!)  It’s about fair working conditions, pay, policies and procedures and robust health, safety and security provisions.  It’s also about having an ethical value based organisational culture where managers role model the right behaviours and support employees to feel and deliver their best.

In today’s online world of and LinkedIn, company culture is laid bare.  With 40% of retailers struggling to retain staff the way you treat your employees can help achieve your business goals or, derail them.

The top three reasons why employees leave are career development; work life balance and their boss.  The top reasons for both short and long-term absence, according to a Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development 2019 Survey are stress; mental health and musculoskeletal disorders Similarly, according to this Survey, 49% of respondents blame their stress on poor management.

Employee well-being is therefore an essential part of your overall business strategy and proven to reduce operating costs and drive organisational capability.

Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats

To create your wellness strategy, first conduct a SWOT through the lens of your people to identify your areas of opportunity:

Your people metrics will provide some vital clues:

  • What is your labour turnover?
  • Is it higher in certain stores/for certain managers?
  • What is your cost to hire?
  • What is your absence rate?
  • What about absence costs?
  • What are the main reasons for short and long-term absence?
  • Are you seeing a high number of grievances against certain managers?
  • What are the main reasons why staff are disciplined?

Focus Groups

Probe the metrics further by holding employee focus groups: –

  • What attracted employees to the company?
  • What is the reality of their roles versus the job advert?
  • Do they have tools and resources to do their job?
  • Do they understand what the Company’s vision and values are?
  • What ideas and suggestions do they have to improve well-being?

Company vision and values

Is there a disconnect between theory and practice?  You can have the most compelling vision, ethical values and a solid well-being strategy.  However, if managers don’t understand these; there is a misalignment between their personal values and the Company’s, or, they lack leadership skills, any well-being strategy is doomed to failure.

Talk to managers on a one-to-one basis, probe their understanding of the vision and values; ask them how they role model these and what gets in the way of this.      Use these insights to adapt your learning and development plan.

Creating your plan

Use these findings as the foundation of your strategy.

Here are some other tips and suggestions: –

Absence Management

Introduce triggers so that any absence for stress, musculoskeletal or mental health problems (even for just one day) triggers an immediate conversation so you can provide the appropriate support and nip any problems in the bud.

Spotting the early signs of emotional distress and sign-posting to the right professional help

Whilst one in three of us will experience a mental health problem at some point in our lives, all of us will, at some point, experience emotional distress. In many instances, someone suffering from a diagnosed mental health condition will exhibit and suffer from the same symptoms as someone who is emotionally distressed due to a life event.    Therefore, we shouldn’t use labels and should focus on everyone and not just the one in three.

Train line managers on how to spot the early signs that someone might be distressed and sign-post them to the right professional help.  This could be a GP, an independent doctor, occupational health or, one of the free confidential 24/7 professional helplines.

Identifying each team member’s unique needs and motivators

A great leader is someone that recognises each team member’s unique needs; their strengths, aspirations and worries. When we tap into these motivational needs, we create clarity and alignment and drive emotional and organisational well-being.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs  explains that there are certain factors called maintenance factors that de-motivate us if we don’t have them.    For example, fair working conditions, policies and pay.  These are essential to our basic needs and without these we are likely to be de-motivated.  However, whilst we need these to sustain us, they don’t, in themselves, fulfil us.

The main motivating factors which determine how engaged we are and how motivated we are to succeed are a sense of achievement, recognition, work that is interesting and meaningful, responsibility and career advancement.

While these are the main motivators, a one size approach to each of the factors doesn’t work.  What constitutes achievement; meaningful work and career advancement means different things to different people.

In the same way that we use observation, in-depth questioning and active listening to identify each customer’s needs and expectations, great leaders also use this technique to identify each of their team’s unique needs, likes, dislikes and hopes to personalise their leadership style.

Train your managers in how to apply this technique to their teams and how to use the insights they glean to provide a personalised employee experience that helps each person feel and deliver their best and to spot any early warning signs that something is wrong.

Finally, like any strategy, continue to review and revise your well-being strategy on an on-going basis in line with your employees’ changing needs.

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