Train managers to be supportive and mindful
It isn’t just about buying a product or course, building internal competence and confidence and developing managers’ personal skills is about enabling them to have open, honest and compassionate conversations around workplace wellbeing. After all, the way managers behave and interact with employees can make a real difference to engagement and productivity and when done properly, it can truly support business success. The key is to focus on the potential return on investment of wellbeing initiatives rather than viewing them as a ‘nice to have’ expenditure.
Get up and walk around
Managers who aren’t afraid to talk informally to their employees to gain an understanding of what’s going on with teams and direct reports will be able to intervene and respond appropriately and achieve better engagement levels. Average management is waiting for problems to emerge and subsequently responding to them. Great management is noticing such problems at an earlier stage and being committed to improving dignity at work.
Take a flexible approach
Managers and business leaders who are able to take a flexible approach to time can have a huge impact on the workplace. For example, if someone is feeling stressed and anxious because of factors outside of work, empowering them to take some time out – even if it is just half a day – to sort it out will mean they can come back to work refreshed, revived and ready to make a valid contribution to the business again. The ‘give-get’ culture works well – allowing an employee to leave early or come in later, demonstrates that the employee is a valued and respected to make a responsible decision.
Ask staff what they want
We often find that employers think they know best and are quick to take action without properly researching what employees want and need from the workplace. In fact, organisations often take it upon themselves to address employee wellbeing by offering up gym memberships, free massages, acupuncture sessions and the like, but in some cases these can fail to make a difference. Thinking outside the box is key: what do employees really need – or what questions should I be asking to get them to articulate it? This also improves employee engagement and a sense of inclusion.
Measure the impact of wellbeing initiatives
The old phrase ‘what gets measured, gets treasured’ couldn’t resonate better in mental health – which has too long languished in hazy definitions and a lack of clarity. Measuring the impact of interventions you make on productivity and engagement will help you to determine what is working and what is not and enable you to take the appropriate action.