How to Promote Well-Being in the Workplace?

In the UK, 60% of employees say they would feel more motivated and committed to their work if their employers took action to support mental well-being. In France, 37% of employees say their employers don’t take into consideration their well-being in the workplace.

Therefore, 46% of French workers feel stressed at work. 42% of French employees think their work is purposeless. And last but not least, 32% of French workers need to ask for sick leave even if they are not sick.

Appalling figures if I may! How can we change this tragic mindset? Why is it so crucial to boost well-being in the workplace for CEOs? Please find my humble viewpoint and new strategies we all could implement.

Why well-being should be encouraged at work?

Figures have always shown that when employees feel validated, valued and their work has a clear purpose, they perform better and even recommend their company to others. This means, in turn, better visibility and overall business efficiency. This is usually referred to as ’employee engagement’.

In practice, and I have experienced it myself, employees are way too scared to lose their job or/and feel disparaged by their manager if they mention a family issue, a temporary mental illness, or simply give input on well-being in the workplace that may sound either ludicrous or overstated to the manager/employer.

It is often omitted unfortunately that ’employee engagement’ is directly linked to their ‘well-being’ and thus to the company performance. They are all parts of the equation.

A positive culture that values employees, their work, their added value helps them understand why their role has a meaningful impact on the overall process. It builds trust and loyalty, crucial components to the good functioning of the company and to its performance.

It is now critical to acknowledge the negative consequences poor or not ‘good enough’ conditions of work, either emotional or physical, have on productivity and take the right steps to make a change. You will not only increase your employees’ engagement but also your productivity, business efficiency, and turnover.

How to implement the first steps?

There are many options which have been proven successful in many companies worldwide. Let’s talk about a few of them now and I will write more about each different option in other articles.

1. Iniating the Simple Method

First, the simplest way is to offer employees opportunities or tasks they have been asking for whenever possible. This will boost their confidence and commitment.

Fostering Peer support has also a great impact when trust has been developed within the team. It may be easier for an employee to talk to his colleague, feeling safer with him than with his manager. If each member of a team is able to support one another, this enables a combination of skills and experiences that the company will benefit from greatly.

Electing a couple of mentors in each team can also help new employees to integrate faster and build trust and collaboration more efficiently. This also increases the diversity of skills and complementarity.

2. Improving Communication and Feedback

It may sound obvious but I cannot count the number of times I have seen feedbacks given in a non-empathetic way leading to well-known power and ego games. Clearly not helpful and worse, damaging the hard work and value of each speaker!

Employers and managers could help by asking their staff and teams how they are doing regularly, what kind of means they would like to be offered ideally, how they see themselves in the company. They could also think of ways to improve mental well-being in the office. Sharing is communicating and validate the employee’s role.

Whenever an employee is going through a rough patch and this has an impact on his work, managers should be available and help them by listening to them. Cutting them off thinking this is not related to work when obviously this anxiety has negative consequences on the worker’s tasks is unrespectful and damageable for the employee and the company. An employer or manager is not a therapist and it is not his role indeed but being considerate and respectful of their staff’s emotions is. Especially if the employee is a hard worker and the behaviour is not typical of him.

Asking for regular one-to-one sessions with a clear direction as well as phone catch-ups are compulsory to make sure employees do not feel isolated, ostracized or ‘forgotten’. This doesn’t mean ‘tracking them down’ and acting like ‘Big Brother’ which I have noticed so many times. It means monitoring and supervising with care to build trust and increase integrity.

3. Encouraging Positive Culture

Positive culture means promoting teamwork, collaboration and information-sharing across the whole organisation. This could be done by involving employees in decision-making, asking them how they feel about recent goals and management lines. Empowering them so that they feel autonomous and encouraged to suggest new ideas, new projects.

Employees need to understand how they fit in the bigger picture to feel useful with a clear and definite purpose. Do not hesitate to describe their tasks and role clearly so that they understand the importance of their own contribution.

Feedbacks should also be positive as well. Whenever possible, as soon as the good job done by the employee is noticed. By developing praise, the employee feels his work and efforts have been recognized, boosting trust and commitment again.

There are times when the manager or employer will have no other choice but to state the negative aspects of course. This should be done in a constructive way though, this is not about who is right or wrong, this is about performance and growth.

Therefore, it is quite obvious by now that boosting well-being means greater performance, efficiency, and beneficial environment for all involved. I have listed a few strategies that I will expand on in other articles so that you can get a good grasp on the implication of well-being on your staff. TBC…

N.B. I used ‘his’ and ‘him’ for consistency and readability only

If you have appreciated this story and would like to know more, do not hesitate to contact me or send me your thoughts.

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