The world we live in today is constantly evolving, and the workforce is no exception. Some are suggesting that the idea of work-life balance is now a thing of the past, and in its place, we are now seeing a greater focus on well-being in the workplace. While previously, it was often accepted that work could be stressful, today, there is a stronger focus on wellbeing and supporting staff with stress management and resilience building.
The shift in focus has come in response to a growing acknowledgement that employees are the backbone of any organisation, and their well-being is essential for success. As such, leadership and well-being are interconnected and go hand-in-hand. Leadership is the driving force behind any organisational culture, and it plays a vital role in the promotion of well-being in the workplace. Leadership must ensure that staff can recharge, restore and remain prepared and able to meet the demands of their work role.
It is essential for HR professionals to understand the role of leadership in the overall well-being of their employees.
Well-being Leadership plays a vital role in creating and promoting an organisational culture that values and appreciates people, a culture that is focused on the well-being of employees.
A good leader understands the importance of employee wellbeing and takes steps to ensure that it is at the forefront of their priorities. Such leaders are attuned to their employees' needs, creating an environment of trust, support, and understanding. They understand that their employees are human beings with their unique lives, experiences, and stresses, and they take a holistic approach towards their well-being. A leader who promotes well-being is one who listens, communicates, and is open to feedback. They create platforms that enable their employees to express their concerns openly and constructively. They also encourage healthy communication between employees, which ultimately leads to improved trust, team cohesion, and a sense of belonging. Creating open, honest communication where issues can be raised, and discussed and solutions generated is at the heart of ensuring psychological safety at work. People want to feel they can trust their colleagues - peers, direct reports and their managers. When there is trust and accountability, people feel that their colleagues have their backs, and work feels like a safe place where they can thrive, learn, make mistakes and still be valued. Well-being Leadership is at the heart of this.
Productivity & Wellbeing
Wellbeing in the workplace is not limited to just physical health but includes emotional and mental health as well. A good leader understands this and takes steps to promote all aspects of employee wellbeing. They invest in resources and programs that encourage healthy habits, such as physical activity, healthy eating, and work-life balance. They also take the time to understand the diverse needs of their employees and tailor their approach accordingly. Sometimes leaders can place too much emphasis on productivity at the expense of well-being. Productivity is always important in work, and great leaders recognise that employee well-being is a significant contributing factor for productivity. Staff who feel valued, appreciated, cared for and supported to thrive are more motivated, engaged, and productive. They are more likely to take pride in their work, take ownership of their responsibilities, and work towards achieving organisational goals. A leader who promotes well-being will always ensure that their employees feel valued, respected, and appreciated. They reward and recognise their efforts, not just the results. They prioritise work-life balance, understand and promote self-care, and take steps to prevent burnout.
Retention & Wellbeing
A leader who promotes well-being also plays a critical role in employee retention. Employees who feel valued, supported, and cared for are more likely to stay committed to their organisation. Such employees are likely to speak positively about their organisation, which ultimately contributes to the organisation's reputation. A leader who promotes well-being also takes steps to prevent employee turnover by addressing the root causes of employee dissatisfaction. They actively listen to their employees to understand their needs and are not afraid to have difficult conversations. This might be conversations where they, as leaders, receive challenging feedback about the impact of their decisions. Or where they, as leaders, need to challenge others' unhelpful or uncivil behaviour because it is damaging the organisational culture. The best leaders visibly tackle these issues and take a firm stand on organisational culture, promoting it, protecting it and leading by example. They take steps to create a positive work environment that is inclusive, supportive, and respectful. This reduces turnover, promotes retention and creates a workforce that is proud of its organisation and committed to its goals and success.
10 Tips to support and enhance employee wellbeing
Here are ten tips for leaders to enhance employee wellbeing:
Communicate regularly with your team members: Open communication is key to building trust and positive relationships with your employees. Make sure to regularly communicate with your team members and provide them with the support they need.
Encourage physical activity: Encourage your employees to take breaks and engage in physical activities such as walking, stretching, and exercise. This will help to reduce stress and promote overall health and well-being.
Promote work-life balance: Encourage your employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance by providing flexibility in their work schedules and encouraging them to take time off and disconnect from work when necessary.
Provide opportunities for personal and professional development: Invest in the growth of your employees by providing opportunities for personal and professional development. This will not only enhance their skills but also boost their confidence and job satisfaction.
Foster a positive work culture: Create a work environment where employees feel valued and supported. Encourage teamwork, positivity, and inclusivity, and make sure to celebrate employee successes.
Provide healthy snacks and beverages: Promote healthy eating habits in the workplace by providing nutritious snacks and beverages.
Offer mental health support: Provide resources and support for mental health and wellbeing. Encourage employees to seek help and provide access to mental health professionals if necessary.
Recognise and reward good performance: Celebrate the successes of your employees and recognise their contributions to the company. This will boost morale and motivate employees to continue performing well.
Create a comfortable and safe work environment: Ensure that the workplace is comfortable, safe, and conducive to productivity. This includes providing ergonomic furniture, proper lighting, and adequate ventilation.
Listen to your employees: Finally, listen to your employees and take their feedback into consideration. This will show that you value their opinions and are committed to creating a positive work culture that supports their well-being.
Leadership and well-being are interconnected, and HR professionals must understand this relationship to create a positive and productive workplace culture. They must work towards promoting a culture of well-being by investing in resources and programs that promote physical, emotional and mental health. They must also ensure that their organisation's leadership is attuned to the unique needs of their employees and create a sense of trust, support, and understanding. By doing so, HR professionals can create a workforce that is motivated, engaged, and committed to their organisation's success.