Here at Ovation we try to help our clients achieve financial wellbeing. Debbie Kleiner Gaines from PES Consulting is very interested in the concept of wellbeing, especially in the workplace. We asked her to give us a few thoughts that business owners and managers might find interesting.
Workplace wellbeing is a concept that many organisations have become familiar with in recent years. Most business owners are aware that if their workforce is happy and engaged, they will be productive and generate successful business. Of the organisations that are aware of the concept, only those that are acting on it are reaping the benefits, attracting and retaining top talent and gaining a competitive edge.
Over the 13 years that I owned and ran my health benefits business, Best Health, it became clear that the landscape of organisations was changing, and it still is. Increasing numbers of employees feel that their employer is responsible for their wellbeing, accepting that responsibility changed the dynamism and productivity of my own staff.
Feeling motivated to wake up and go to work is not a common theme among employees, it’s often found that they feel obliged rather than inspired. So, it’s critical that businesses do what they can to ensure that they are offering more than financial reward to their staff.
Walking into an office full of smiling faces and a worker-bee buzz is a great feeling, the atmosphere says ‘happiness and productivity’. Great senior staff create this by building trusting relationships, quickly sensing when negativity is lurking and working with employees to maintain an open and honest forum for two way communications.
In the past, I’ve used tools like forums and team meetings where everyone gets to be heard, and some organisations implement an online peer to peer networking platform. This is an online forum which could be based on your company intranet, allowing conversation and information to exchange freely between employees.
If implemented and used correctly it can reveal how your staff are feeling and what is important to them. Keep in mind that peer to peer networking should be open yet monitored and responsive, to combat any negative comments or topics escalating.
Wellbeing has many meanings. Clients often say “we want to do something about wellbeing”. What that “something” is, can be a mystery even to them!
Typical client problems we help to solve include retention, motivation, productivity, absenteeism etc. However, why not set up a bespoke wellbeing solution in order to stop these issues arising in the first place. Having a plan is the start and a good old chat over a cuppa with us will certainly help you clarify what you mean by Wellbeing at work.
Come and hear more at the forthcoming PES seminar on Workplace Wellbeing. More information here.
According to the report, British workers are more engaged in the trend towards an Ageless Workplace than any other trend. This allows ‘returnment’ as opposed to retirement and enables people to work for as long as they choose, which is great news for employers because they can retain their long serving staff and take on employees with vast experience. However, 32% of British workers feel exhausted by juggling their career, family, friends, fitness, health and stress levels. The Future Laboratory reports that this could cost British businesses £44bn long term. You can use workplace wellbeing tools to help to manage these factors and keep your staff committed, by showing you are committed to them.
Encouraging employees to eat well by providing free healthy food or fitness discounts will show them that employers care for their wellbeing and therefore their life outside and inside of work. However, life can often be challenging, stressful and unpredictable. Therefore, mental wellbeing is equally as important and it’s critical that there are tools in place for unexpected changes in employees’ social and work lives.
Workplace wellbeing tools could be counselling, flexible working hours or reviewing employee workloads to make sure that they are able to perform the role that is expected of them. It can also be achieved through training and support, not just to enable employees to rise up the ranks within the company but to manage their roles day to day so that they don’t feel overwhelmed. Employees may benefit from technology based training, organisational training e.g. time management or even social skills training.
An important element of workplace wellbeing to consider is reflection. Businesses need to know how these tools are working for them, whether they are working for everyone and what may be more suitable. I believe that being insightful is vital to the success of a business and by taking a step back, business leaders will learn how particular employee groups respond and they can begin to build a picture of the organisational wellbeing wants and needs, attracting and retaining top talent and gaining that sought after competitive edge.
My personal interest and experience in workplace wellbeing has led me to study an MSc in Workplace Health at Nottingham University and I currently lead wellbeing and customer relationships at PES in Bristol. As a part of this we run Bristol Workplace Wellbeing, a free workshop where HR professionals and business owners can exchange challenges and solutions. Keep a look out for similar events in your area as these are valuable opportunities to share and learn about workplace wellbeing across a variety of industries. The next event is 15th July at Penny Brohn Cancer Centre in Pill, Bristol, BS20 0HH.