The Weight Of The World Is On Employees’ Shoulders.

Employees have the weight of the world on their shoulders.

6 min read

There’s a lot going on in the world right now.  In the UK alone we are facing an increase in our energy bills which is sending so many people into a spin.  As well as COP26 in Glasgow and global leaders grappling with what to do about the very real challenge of  climate change and a continued fluctuation in COVID 19 numbers.

I know, I could go on, as there’s so much happening around us and anyone reading this blog could add a dozen other things to this list.  For now, I am choosing to stop listing all the macro world problems and national challenges and ground myself.

My question to you all however is how are these effecting your workplace and the wellbeing of your employees?

Just seeing everything in the media and then putting pen to paper feels heavy on my heart and mind and that’s without the personal challenges I face into each day that I must work through.  The load we bare is not insignificant and cannot be ignored.

Recently Infinity Wellness partnered with Isabelle Griffith, an emotional resilience coach and trainer to look more deeply at the topic of trauma informed leadership.  If you look again at the list of macro challenges around us, each issue, depending on the resilience of an individual, will cause a level of lived and real trauma. 

What’s more, each of these national or global challenges will impact us all either mentally, emotionally, or physically.  This then leads us to one place, micro challenge, that which becomes more personal to us, impacts our wellbeing, our mental, emotional, and physical state and overall has an impact on our ability to perform at home and at work.

I have talked about this before but this time around, my sense is that employee wellbeing must focus on anything and everything that affects the human condition.  Addressing how employees are feeling, what they are thinking and paying attention to how the impact of macro global or national challenges are affecting them is critical to employee engagement, organisational growth, and profitability.

In a study by Gallup, CEO Jim Clifton said “your manager has a bigger impact on your health and wellbeing than your doctor.”   In the same report, the overwhelming insight shows that employees must have their ‘basic needs’ met when considering how to boost engagement and developing a solid workplace wellbeing strategy and longer-term culture.  So how do employers understand an employee’s basic needs and how can these basic needs be met?

Steps to support employee’s wellbeing in the workplace.

Step 1:

The first thing to do is to ask the question – what do employees need in order to be well at work, and how are these needs being met, if at all?  This might include asking for ideas, suggestions and importantly creating space for honest discussions about what might be causing employees to be ‘unwell’ at work.  Leaders must be open to these responses and create a safe environment that is truly upheld, where employees can give candid feedback in order to generate effective and important insights that the company can do something with.  Honesty of employees should be recognised, and such individuals should be seen as role models.

Step 2:

The second step is to understand the feedback.  What are your employees telling you and how can the company look at strategies and measures to respond to the insights and what your employees are telling you?  Often at this stage of managing wellbeing change, a company might have hundreds of data points and pieces of information that support the wellbeing change agenda. 

It’s in this second step that together, leaders can decide on what’s easy to change, consider symbolic actions that support the cause and increase employee engagement by doing so.  It’s easy to feel overwhelmed so being able to ground yourselves as a leadership team and take confidence that as an organisation you are well on your way to understanding the current wellbeing culture of the organisation and can begin to prioritise change is a great step forward.

Step 3:

The third step is to act. Once an organisation has understood the feedback and decided how to apply it for the long-term, activating the change is the third step.  Adopting a ‘you said, we did’ approach to workplace wellbeing can create a big and positive shift in employee engagement. 

It’s helpful to remember that good employee engagement equals good wellbeing outcomes and vice versa.  In this third step, organisations should be mindful that this is a journey and something to be developed over the long term. 

Too often, even now in these latter stages of the pandemic, I am caught up in conversations with companies of all sizes where, essentially a tick box approach to wellbeing is still the go to mechanism to support employee wellbeing.  Essentially, this is a real waste of time and frankly not good enough.

Longer-term employee wellbeing:

If you don’t engage your workforce and find out what the real wellbeing challenges are, you will continue to throw good money after bad decisions which in turn will not impact your organisational wellbeing in a positive way. 

If anything, a tick box approach to wellbeing will disengage employees and do more damage.  They will feel as though they are not being listened too and in the grand scheme of things aren’t really considered as an important commodity or factor in the broader strategy of the company. 

Employees will vote with their feet, let’s face it, other companies that are adopting this type of approach to changing the culture of wellbeing for the long-term whilst evidencing a true desire to support their people with whatever life throws at them are amongst those employers who will engage, attract, and retain talent. 

There is good news hidden in this blog.  Infinity Wellness have designed and delivered this three-stage approach to wellbeing culture change for organisations across the world with evidential success. 

We call it Discover, Design, and Activate.  What’s more, is that we use a tried and tested cultural change framework to ensure that all wellbeing programmes that focus on shaping and embedding employee focused wellbeing strategies don’t just work but are effective in how they land, embed, and engage.

Take the first step and talk to me, Stephanie Unthank, Director of Infinity Wellness to discuss your organisations longer term wellbeing needs and start from a place of employee focused change and innovation that will separate your organisation from the competition when it comes to creating a culture of wellbeing to be envious of.

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