How Leaders Prioritise Employee Wellbeing
There has been a trend within organisations towards recognising the value of paying attention to employee wellbeing rather than focusing on stress
A few years ago, a study by researchers at the University of Queensland established the importance of the role of leaders in helping employees to feel motivated and healthy. The impact on the success of an organisation of having a workforce who are productive and healthy should not be underestimated. This article is about how leaders prioritise employee wellbeing.
There has been a trend within organisations over the last few years towards recognising the value of paying attention to employee wellbeing rather than focusing on stress. Such an approach is much more proactive and person-centred. It engages employees in a much more emotional sense. Their mindset is more positive and their approach to work more likely to lead to higher standards.
When leaders prioritise employee wellbeing in the workplace they also benefit by attracting talent into the organisation. Individuals are now much more likely to choose an employer who cares for their work-life balance and wider wellbeing. An employer who acts responsibly towards employees is attractive.
It is interesting though that another study – undertaken by Right Management – reveals that 41% of organisations see employee wellbeing as a perk instead of a vital investment. This is a surprising take on the situation if we consider the cost to businesses of having unfit or unwell employees who are not productive.
What is often overlooked however, is that promoting well-being doesn’t have to cost heaps of money. A lot can be achieved through the behaviours and actions of leaders:
How leaders prioritise employee wellbeing
Setting a climate that promotes a feeling amongst employees of being part of a group is key. Giving them that shared sense of purpose and identity within their work team goes a long way towards promoting wellbeing. This, in turn, leads to higher levels of engagement.
As a leader, we need to be mindful of the signals we send to people through our communication, attitude, choice of words, body language etc. All of these affect the mood and mindset of individuals. This can affect whether they feel positive about their job and the organisation. It can affect whether they feel they matter and someone cares about them. Ultimately how a leader communicates can determine whether or not their employees believe in their own abilities.
Developing active listening skills enables leaders to empathise with employees. They are able to read their body language and understand what individuals are thinking and feeling. Knowing that you are being listened to and your needs are being considered helps people to feel valued. In turn this increases their level of wellbeing.
Lending an ear to employees who have concerns, ideas or opinions to share means that issues can be dealt with at an early stage rather than dragging on and impacting on wellbeing.
Every individual is just that, an individual. As such the signs they show they need support will differ across the team. From a change in behaviour such as being late for work, a dip in performance standards or an increase in absenteeism. Being aware of and looking out for the signs allows the leader to sensitively address a situation and offer the most appropriate support to rebalance the individual’s wellbeing.
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