Well-being is about people and creating conditions for everyone to thrive. Looking beyond the deliverables it includes areas such as health, relationships, education and skills as well as what we do, where we live, our finances and the environment.
We spend a large majority of our time in the workplace, so organisations need to create ecosystems where people are encouraged to make better lifestyle choices. Promoting healthier behaviours empowers your people to be the best they can be, which will help them and your organisation to perform better.
In the past, people thought health in the workplace related only to minimising physical hazards such as chemicals and heavy-lifting. However, health and wellbeing, in general, has moved on in leaps and bounds since then.
Running an organisation that employs people means much more than just paying them each month. There’s a long list of “well-being requirements” that go alongside being an employer. In this article, we’ll outline a few of them.
The CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development), states that “an integrated approach to health and well-being can nurture heightened levels of employee engagement while fostering a workforce where people are committed to achieving organisational success.” MyPeople wholeheartedly agrees with this and believes that it is vital for HR professionals to have their finger on the pulse when it comes to their workforces. It is also essential that senior leaders be aware of the importance of workplace health and well-being and that they champion the relevant actions to ensure that it’s taken seriously across the organisation.
Today’s business environment is rapidly evolving, and HR is having to adapt to become more responsive to meet these changes. As a result there is seemingly a divide in approach for HR professionals; People-focused or Strategic.
For people-focused HR professionals, learning programs are structured on empowering managers and people to make decisions, teaching managers to coach and develop others and creating a great work environment. The word culture evokes those qualities. These HR leaders are less about enforcing and establishing guidelines, policies, and rules and more about creating a place where the vision and values drive behaviours.
The UK Working Lives 2019 report published by CIPD, illustrates the collaborative steps that policymakers, employers and workers themselves need to take in order to help ensure work is a force for good for everyone.
These include, but are not limited to;
- Creating clearer paths to career progression
- Increasing access to flexible working
- Improving line management and HR capability
- Reviewing job design and organisational culture to reduce excessive workload and stress
- Championing mental health and overall well-being.
Overall the findings reflect employer’s growing recognition of their critical role in improving the health of the workforce. This is great news for employees across the UK, but there are several statistics we ought to keep an eye on too.
Did you know, for example, that 40% of organisations have trained managers to support staff with mental ill-health, but only 30% of those say that managers are confident to have sensitive discussions/signpost staff to expert help? That also means that 60% of organisations are not prioritising helping their employees with mental ill-health, which can be catastrophic for the workplace.
When it comes to well-being benefits, organisations often find it difficult to find a solution that is sustainable, delivers positive change and engages their employees. In recent years, it’s become more apparent that in order to achieve the above, organisations need to do more than just offering ‘benefits’ – they need to create a well-being culture. A healthy and happy workforce is more productive, motivated and engaged which ultimately leads to organisational success.
A good well-being requires organisations to be agile with a dynamic approach, understanding their people and what their challenges are. There is no one-size-fits-all approach and only by understanding the well-being requirements of an organisation, its teams and on an employee individual level, can outcomes be developed to support them. Knowing what is impacting people and making insight-driven changes increases people’s effectiveness and well-being in an organisation.
Sir Richard Branson said it best: “If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers. It’s that simple.”
There is too much emphasis on well-being programmes being too expensive. However, there doesn’t need to be a cost associated with well-being. It can simply be reminding employees to take their holidays on a regular basis, taking a general interest in people’s day to day activities and workload or simply just raising awareness of mental health and providing opportunities for discussions to take place.
Well-being is a requirement not just an initiative.