In an environment, where the World Health Organisation has identified burnout as an “occupational phenomenon”, the topic of work place wellbeing is in the spotlight. You have to admit, it's about time.
Burnout is just the tip of the iceberg. Empowering the whole ‘self health’ of your people is a larger topic, one well worthy of your time and effort.
When prioritised also one that can unlock significant gains within your business, ultimately leading to an improved bottom line. Are you listening?
If you’re a leader with an appetite for growth in this area, read on. Implement some or all of the practices that follow, and you will be on your way to quantifiable business improvements. Plus you can call yourself a better human. WIN:WIN!
Wellbeing culture is a product of vision, values and action. Saying you care about the health of your staff isn’t enough. Show it often, in big and small ways. Be honest with yourself, are the leaders of the business practicing what they preach? A powerful way to move this in the right direction, is to ensure that wellbeing is hard wired into the company values and a component of KPI’s.
Better still, work on the belief systems across leadership roles in the business. Many of whom have learned bad behaviour over many years. It’s a great shame to see senior leadership making strides only to find middle management are still stuck in bad behaviour. Behavioural change requires significant effort. Make the effort.
Prioritise your own health and wellbeing and make a habit of doing so demonstrably. Go to the gym or for a run at lunch time. Be honest when you’re going to the Dr (or dentist etc). Take a day out when you aren’t well - don’t be a martyr, it sets a poor example. Be honest about your own health challenges, be vulnerable and courageous. Leaders who go first are far more likely to encourage an open dialogue.
Consciously observe your people in your interactions. When something doesn’t seem right, it usually isn’t. Choose a safe space and open a conversation. As per above, it will feel even more safe to the employee if you go first.
Acknowledge all of the people you work with, not just your direct reports. Smile and do your best to remember names. Your human-ness is incredibly important in creating that safe space.
Resist the temptation to try and fix people. A position of enquiry and empathy will lead to more open and honest conversation and create genuine ways to provide support.
Invest in the right support system (insurance and training for instance). If you’re a small business without HR this is even more important. Have a plan for how you can navigate health crisis should they occur. Don’t allow yourself to get into a situation where your fear (for the business impact) is greater than your empathy.
Create a nourishing environment in the office. That may mean an overhaul of what’s available in the kitchen, provided for working lunches etc. Encourage the staff to set up meditation sessions. Negotiate discounts at local gyms. Enter teams in local lunch time sporting competitions.
Track employee perception against metrics that matter in relation to health and wellbeing. Be sure to include mental and physical aspects. Set improvement goals. See number one.
If there's a recurring problem with burnout, treat it seriously. It is serious. It likely means your approach is not simply about offering support, that a major shift in overall culture is in order. With stress leave on the rise, it’s an investment you can’t afford to ignore.
Ready to be a better human? Consider this an invitation. WIN:WIN's are good for the soul, the business improvements are a bonus.
If you’re looking for a consultant to support you through transformation, please get in touch. You can email email@example.com, or visit our Corporate Health page. Our offerings include customised work shops & training, employee retreats, coaching services and consultancy appointments.