Did you know that only 52% of employees believe their workplace is mentally healthy? Or that over 60% of employees needing time off for a mental health condition wouldn’t share the real reason for their absence?
These figures shared by Heads Up Australia draw attention to the expectations of, and perhaps current failings in, today’s business leaders.
Most know that employees who enjoy wellbeing at work are more likely to be loyal, productive and offer better customer service than those who don’t. What they tend to struggle with is how to move beyond employee engagement and unlock the creative and commercial benefits of a thriving workplace.
Such leaders are not alone. Few organisations invest in comprehensive or cohesive programs to manifest employee wellbeing. The competing pressures of market disruption, increased volatility, financial constraints and a lack of urgency are often cited for this disconnect.
At Sentis, we’re passionate about people, their safety and wellbeing. That’s why we’re delighted to share the 5 critical steps to take an organisation from good to great on the back of a commercially driven wellbeing strategy:
Step 1 – Consider the Organisation’s Maturity
The most sustainable interventions are those in which the objectives take into account the organisation’s level of maturity and the extent to which its cultural factors (e.g. leadership, practices, environment, employee beliefs and attitudes) are helpful of, or hindering to, the change process.
Step 2 – Apply Design Thinking to Guide Interventions
Needs assessments are often haphazardly conducted by organisations, or the results are misinterpreted; both of which expose any intervention to possible derailment. A needs assessment should focus on the key indicators of employee wellbeing, and be both simple to administer and analyse.
Step 3 – Develop a Comprehensive Plan for Intervention
Contextual factors during the intervention, even basic decisions about how it is implemented, can influence the impact of the intervention and how it is maintained over time. In order for a wellbeing strategy to succeed, there should not be any ambiguity about the importance of the planned intervention and who will be participating.
Step 4 – Involve and Support Frontline Leaders
Employees look to their supervisors for leadership, picking up on cues about how seriously they should take the intervention, what opportunities they will have to implement the tools or concepts introduced to enhance their wellbeing and how much support they can expect to receive from the organisation. Frontline leaders directly influence the success of any strategy.
Step 5 – Analyse the Effectiveness of the Interventions
Collecting data from the outset – any barriers to the intervention being embedded in the business as well as benefits both subjective (e.g. employees’ perceptions) and objective (eg. business metrics) – assists leaders in making ‘just-in-time’ refinements to the intervention as it is implemented, limiting the possibility of uncovering it ‘did not hit the mark’ after the bulk of the resources have been expended.
As explored in an earlier article, our work not only provides a sense of purpose, but also contributes to our mental health. This may explain why Australians work some of the longest hours in the developed world. However, when a full time worker averages more than 43 hours every week, the personal cost and impact on their mental health is considerable.
To create a culture of wellbeing at work; the interplay between physical, psychological and social factors warrants attention and only those leaders who give careful consideration to same will ultimately create positive employee experiences in the workplace. The rest will simply wish they had paid more attention.