With so many pressures on organisational leadership – sales, strategy, growth, staffing, training, product development, targets, deadlines, compliance and GDPR to name a few, some can be slow to prioritise wellbeing at work. However, the research is now showing very clearly that wellbeing at work is paying great dividends to those that invest in it in a meaningful way.
Companies on the Fortune ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ list have outperformed the S&P 500 stock index by almost two to one over the last 20 years. Employees want to be happy, healthy, engaged and challenged to the right degree at work. Research shows that when companies give employees what they want; purpose, connection, balance and belonging, they perform better. The most important asset of any organisation is the people. When companies look after their staff, they look after clients.
The Best Places to work competitions are growing in importance around the world. 600 companies signed up for the 4th national work place wellbeing day lead by Food and Drink Ireland on Friday April 13th up from 500 in 2017. It is great to see the growing interest but it is important for organisations to develop strategies that benefit their staff throughout the year – not just for one day.
For companies that are interested to expand their wellbeing at work programmes, here are my top three tips:
1.Broad-based and ongoing wellbeing programmes
Total wellbeing is about employees being at their best throughout the day. There isn’t a one size fits all solution. A company should assess and be open to look at anything that is preventing staff from being their best, from diet to sleep, to showing them how to effectively manage stress, how to work effectively, manage time, solve problems, let go of the past and connect with others.
Programmes do not have to be costly. Employers can offer an exercise-friendly workplace. Teams can do a regular group 5-minute mindfulness or light stretching session. Employers can give regular breaks to staff. People that take breaks every 90 minutes to 2 hours are shown to have a 30 percent higher focus than those with fewer or no breaks. Managers can maintain strong relationships with staff so problems get solved quickly. Employers can offer leadership support and development programmes to help managers lead and handle their own stress more effectively.
2. Understanding effective performance
Teams should be educated on the factors that bring about optimal performance. When wellbeing is prioritised, people will be able to move in and out of comfort zones in the optimal way so they can rise to the challenge and sleep soundly at night. It is not just about reducing absenteeism. The cost of presenteeism, where employees show up for work but underperform, is estimated as 10 times the cost of absenteeism.
3. Bring wellbeing into heart of the company culture
If you want your company to grow, focus on building people that drive growth and creating an environment where employees want to be – a place that addresses the more human needs of purpose, connection, belonging and engagement as well as boosting physical wellbeing and mental resilience. When leadership prioritises wellbeing, employees are more likely to stay (reducing staff turnover and recruitment costs) be engaged, loyal and perform better. It’s not just about offering a mindfulness class at lunchtime. It is about feeding people’s spirit and creating an environment where they can grow and make a difference.
Wellbeing at work is no longer a nice to have but a need to have for all employers that want to be premium brands with engaged staff and strong profits.