In today’s fast-paced world, employees are facing increasing levels of stress at work. This can negatively impact their physical and mental health, as well as their overall job satisfaction and productivity.
As a result, many companies are now recognising the importance of prioritising workplace wellbeing for their employees. This includes implementing strategies and initiatives to create a healthier and happier work environment.
At The Thrive Lab we know that creating workplace wellbeing takes more than providing free fruit and a gym pass. Creating your wellbeing strategy needs to work on many levels, from promoting healthy habits to fostering a positive company culture. Here we discuss the four elements of success you need to consider.
Build a Strong Organisational Culture
Organisational culture plays a crucial role in creating a positive and productive workplace. It encompasses the values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours that shape the overall environment of an organisation. A strong organisational culture not only fosters employee wellbeing but also drives business success. But what helps your organisation create a culture of wellbeing?
The first step in building a strong organisational culture is to clearly define and communicate your values. These are the guiding principles that shape the attitudes and behaviours of employees within the organisation. Make sure these values align with your business goals and are reflected in all aspects of your company, from hiring and onboarding to daily operations. Effective communication of these values can help employees understand the expectations and behaviours that are encouraged in your workplace.
Effective communication is essential throughout your organisation in order to create wellbeing at work. Regularly communicating with employees, listening to their feedback, and addressing any issues promptly can help build trust and transparency within the organisation. This, in turn, fosters a positive work environment where employees feel heard and valued. This is vital to create the right conditions for employees to feel supported and valued by their organisation.
A culture that prioritises employee wellbeing also recognises the value of work-life balance. This doesn’t necessarily mean clocking off at 5pm every day. Engaged and motivated employees will often work above and beyond to help your organisation reach its deadlines and targets. But encouraging others to keep healthy boundaries, rest after periods of intense and demanding work, take breaks, holidays and switch off outside of work time can help employees achieve a better balance between their personal and professional lives. This, in turn, leads to reduced stress levels and increased job satisfaction. This may require some tough decisions about deadlines and investment in staff so that workload is reasonable, manageable and not dependent on one key player.
Equality, diversity and inclusion are also essential components of a strong organisational culture. Embracing diversity within the workplace allows for a variety of perspectives, ideas, and experiences to contribute to the growth and success of the company. It’s important to create an inclusive environment where all employees feel valued and respected regardless of their background or beliefs.
Moreover, a strong organisational culture should also prioritise employee growth and development. Offering training opportunities, career advancement paths, and recognition programmes can help employees feel motivated and invested in their personal and professional growth. This not only benefits the individual but also contributes to the overall success of the company.
Create Strong Teams
Positive relationships are a key contributor to employee satisfaction and wellbeing. Cultivating a team environment that encourages open communication, mutual support, and continuous appreciation and recognition of employee effort will go a long way to helping people feel good about coming to work.
Loneliness has a significant impact on wellbeing, as highlighted by a study conducted by Cigna. The study reported that loneliness has the same impact on mortality as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, making it even more dangerous than obesity. Furthermore, it was found that loneliness and social isolation can be as damaging to health as poverty or financial stress, underscoring the critical importance of fostering strong connections and teamwork in the workplace.
Psychological safety plays a crucial role in fostering a productive, innovative, and healthy team. It refers to a shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking. In a psychologically safe environment, team members feel comfortable expressing their thoughts, ideas, and concerns without fear of judgment, ridicule, or punishment. This openness boosts creativity, encourages the sharing of diverse perspectives, and drives collaborative problem-solving. Furthermore, it provides the foundation for trust and mutual respect among team members, factors that significantly contribute to team cohesion and overall workplace satisfaction.
Invest in leadership development for your leaders and managers
Leaders play a crucial role in creating and maintaining a culture that prioritises employee wellbeing. The impact of a manager’s behaviour can ripple across teams and organisations faster than covid!
According to a Gallup study, managers account for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores. This highlights the substantial influence that managers have on the wellbeing of their team members. Good managers foster a positive work environment that can boost employee morale, productivity, and overall satisfaction. Conversely, poor management practices can lead to increased stress, decreased productivity, and high employee turnover.
Good managers possess a range of characteristics that enable them to effectively lead and inspire their teams. They are excellent communicators, able to clearly articulate goals, expectations, and feedback to their team members. They also possess strong interpersonal skills, fostering a sense of camaraderie and mutual respect within their teams. Good managers are empathetic, understanding, and supportive, always ready to listen and provide guidance when necessary. They are also decisive and strategic, capable of making informed decisions that benefit the team and the organisation as a whole. In addition, effective managers have a strong commitment to developing their team members, providing opportunities for growth and learning. Lastly, they lead by example, demonstrating integrity, professionalism, and commitment in their actions.
Furthermore, leaders should prioritise promoting work-life balance and setting realistic expectations and work targets for their employees. This can help prevent burnout and allow for a healthier work-life integration. Leading by example is important here so it is important that leaders are also aware of how to maintain their own wellbeing and manage stress as research reveals a strong correlation between manager burnout and team burnout. When managers are highly stressed, their team members are likely to mirror this stress, resulting in a 2.2 times higher probability of reporting burnout. It has also been shown that employee turnover is higher in teams with burnt-out managers, indicating the adverse effects on team stability and continuity.
So, not only must managers and leaders work on developing their leadership style but they must pay attention to their own personal wellbeing.
Encourage employees to take personal responsibility for their own health and wellbeing
Personal responsibility for wellbeing is also part of the overall picture. Knowing what you need to stay well, how to manage your response to stress, what support you need and how to create boundaries for your work-life balance can be empowering and will help you get through those times in life where things feel difficult or challenging.
Create a personal wellbeing plan, learn how to set boundaries, know what you want and how to set goals, work with your strengths, invest time in your relationships and look after your physical and mental health for the long term. And remember, asking for help if you are struggling is the first and most difficult step. Don’t be afraid to reach out for support from colleagues, friends, or mental health professionals if needed. Talking about your struggles can help alleviate the burden and provide a sense of solidarity.
Make use of any resources available to you at work and if there are none, use what is available to you in your community or health care provider. Never before has there been so much conversation, investment and resource invested in wellbeing, you are bound to find something that works for you.
In summary, the pivotal role of an organisational culture that promotes teamwork, effective leadership, and personal wellbeing cannot be overstated. An environment that fosters collaboration and mutual respect amplifies the potential of teams, while the impact of leadership style on team morale and performance underscores the importance of nurturing leadership skills. Furthermore, putting wellbeing at the forefront not only aids personal growth but also acts as a catalyst for overall organisational prosperity.
The responsibility of wellbeing, however, is two-fold, encompassing both organisational support and personal commitment. Creating personal wellbeing plans, setting healthy boundaries, and leveraging available resources are all integral parts of this journey. Thus, it is essential that both organisations and individuals invest in wellbeing, as collectively they form the bedrock of a thriving, resilient, and sustainable work environment.