Why should leaders and employers be engaged around employee well-being? What's the moral and business connection?
First of all, it’s simply the right thing to do for leaders to care about the well-being of their people, whether you’re a CEO, a C-suite executive or a manager.
Second, because it’s good for business. There are multiple studies out there which show that taking care of your people results in higher business performance.
When COVID19 hit and forced many companies to move to remote work, their leaders recognized that they could actually trust their people to do a great job even if they were not in the office with someone watching what they’re doing behind their backs. COVID19 has been the accelerator, not the catalyst, of this emerging trend that beyond fair compensation and great benefits, the new cultural trend is to show you care about the well-being of your people inside and outside of work, and that you actually do something about it, not just talk about it.
LifeGuides was born out of that necessity pre-COVID, and COVID just accelerated our growth. This trend is here to stay. In fact, addressing the well-being of your people is your new competitive advantage in talent acquisition and retention.
What 3 things can employers focus on to improve the holistic well-being of their workforce?
#1 – Create a safe space where employees, managers and the executive team can all have a dialogue around mental and emotional health.
When Executives not only understand what’s at stake, but also embrace it by showing their vulnerability and sharing their stories, it has a ripple effect on managers and employees. It’s important to de-stigmatize the notion that you show weakness if you talk about your emotions and struggles. It’s important to normalize the fact our well-being state impacts our performance at work and it should be openly discussed. Your people should be able to express how they feel, raise a hand when they’re not doing well.
#2 – A couple of tools come to mind
As mentioned earlier, doing a company-wide weekly pulse survey helps gather regular feedback from your people, gives you directions on how you can adjust your well-being strategy based on the results, and measure the impact of your different well-being initiatives regularly (not just once a year).
In addition, every day the first thing I do when I get online (or in the office) – even before talking about business – is asking this simple but powerful question: “how are you feeling today?” Not ‘how you’re doing’, but ‘how you’re feeling’, as it is a much deeper question. It does two things… First, it creates that safe space for sharing feelings, but it also shows that the first thing every morning that matters to you is the well-being of your people.
#3 – Walk the talk
Make well-being part of your business and people strategic plan. Bring in vendors that support the well-being of your people.
Life events – personal or professional – are the largest source of stress. As a leader, you want to take care of your people first, but you don’t always have the answers or the time to help. Responding to the inevitable life challenges of your employees is an opportunity to express profound care for the well-being of your people. For instance, the LifeGuides Network® matches your employees to trained Guides who have successfully navigated the similar life challenges and are here to help your people through their journey to a place of relief, resilience, and positivity
What signs should leaders be alert to when it comes to burnout?
First, if you do a weekly pulse survey, you will see red flags immediately, and collect insights on how to address burn out.
Another warning sign of burnout is when your people start making repetitive mistakes. Occasional mistakes are part of a culture of experimentation and learning, and they should be embraced as a growth opportunity. However, when the same mistakes keep happening again and again, that’s your signal.
Tensions and disagreement can be healthy when they are encouraged by a culture of debate, brainstorming and open dialogue. However, when you see that healthy conversations become arguments, quarrels, and your people become irritated, this is another warning sign.
If you see an unusual number of sick days, this could be due to the flu season (or COVID), but this could also be due to burn out, as people feel the need to ‘take a mental break’.
If you use well-being vendors like LifeGuides, you can get aggregated data on the well-being state of your people based on the level of activity these vendors are seeing.
The workplace post COVID19 will never be the same. Employees will join or choose to stay with organizations that make the well-being of the people their priority. Which side of the fence will you be?