If your company is looking to integrate wellbeing beyond the superficial, I recommend starting with these four questions and then building out your integrated wellbeing plan from there.
1. How is the wellbeing of staff linked to the overall business vision and values?
The appetite for moving fast and breaking things has thankfully been superseded by a desire for mature and conscious companies to look at the wellbeing of staff as foundational to commercial success. So, take time with this question. Flesh out all of the ways that your people and their wellbeing are central to your operation and seek to communicate that clearly.
Review the language with which the company presents itself inwardly and outwardly. Is there anything that needs to be amended to demonstrate the centrality of wellbeing to the overall health of the organisation?
If this is a new direction for your firm, start with an aspiration eg. we strive to be… we are working towards… we are building a community of… but don’t over-egg it. Your people need to believe it by experiencing the reality of this new commitment in their day-to-day.
2. How does the business support an individual with a physical or mental health crisis?
If you already have services and support in place, ask a few employees at different levels this question and see if they know the answer. If they don’t, think about your internal comms and find out where the gap is. If there is nothing in place short of statutory musts, consider your budget and research affordable services that can provide at least some on-demand support. If you aren’t sure where to start, ask other HR colleagues in slightly larger firms in your industry and see what they have.
3. How are wellbeing skills linked to business values and employees’ professional skills?
The early phase of corporate wellbeing was yoga and meditation once a week in the conference room. Whilst both of those are excellent, they will not reach everyone and most professionals are not intrinsically linked with the skills they utilise at work. Since founding The Conscious Professional in 2012 our courses, which began as introductory mindfulness and resilience offerings, have become more and more targeted.
Our most popular courses last year were The Wisdom of Impostor Syndrome, Mindfully Navigating Challenging Conversations, and Self-Compassion For Professionals. It is by thinking carefully about the needs of different groups, consulting with them about what they would find valuable, and offering a variety of topics, that you will engage those who traditionally reject the wellbeing offers.
Remember also, that as human beings we all find it quite hard to understand our own wellbeing needs, acknowledge their importance, and have the courage to speak up about them. There is a world of difference between a company that has unwittingly instilled a suffer-in-silence culture and a company where people know that they can safely share something vulnerable, be heard, and be supported. Moving from one culture to another, takes a lot of work and time. Learning courses which give employees the skills and language to understand and champion their own wellbeing are key.
4. How are wellbeing skills offered throughout the year?
It is fine to think about wellbeing days and weeks, but it isn’t enough (especially considering that the best wellbeing speakers will be booked out well in advance, so you may well end up with someone less credible as a result). Look at your annual plan for wider business events. Which of those can be enhanced with an additional session on wellbeing? Which offers opportunities to share the message about your new people-focused brand vision and values? Then, consider if you have the budget for an additional series of targeted astutely positioned wellbeing learning sessions and bring in the best speakers, trainers, and experts you can afford.
Oh, and if you are still wondering how to sell this into the C-suite, remember to download the recent Deloitte report which demonstrates that for every £1 spent supporting their people’s mental health, employers get £5 back on their investment in reduced presenteeism, absenteeism, and staff turnover.
By Neil Seligman, Founder of The Conscious Professional www.theconsciousprofessional.com
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