Create well-being at work
Due to the overwhelming experience of the pandemic, our perception of the workplace has changed. A fundamental change is the realization that workers who were taken for granted are now classified as essential. At the same time, employees determine what is essential in their jobs, which leads many people to quit their jobs. Dubbed the “big resignation, it’s a wake-up call for leaders who need to both figure out how to retain employees and be able to attract future workers.
Jen Fisher, head of US welfare at Deloitte, has some ideas. The first step is to change leadership styles. She learned this lesson firsthand, as she describes in her new book, author of “Working better together: how to cultivate strong relationships to maximize well-being and increase results,”
I remember when I realized that meaningful relationships are essential not only to be a great colleague, but also to be a great manager. It was the day that a member of my team, a team that I had been leading for a few years, came to see me and said: “I don’t want to work for you anymore”. It wasn’t the job she was quitting; it was her manager that she wanted to leave and I was that manager.
Why didn’t I see it coming? I mistakenly assumed that I could expect things from her without asking, checking, and taking the time to interact personally.
More technology More human contact
Personal interaction has become more difficult, both because of our move to virtual in the past year and a half, but also because of the continued march of artificial intelligence (AI) and its ever-growing role. in the way we do our job. However, Fisher believes that as technology takes over the routine part of our jobs, it frees up time that can now be focused on the human aspects of the job – creative, cognitive, and intellectual. “These are the so-called soft skills, but these are the skills of the future,” she writes in her book. These soft skills should be called essential skills, she stresses. Other skills required critical thinking, emotional intelligence, authenticity, and empathy.
Take an emotional temperature
These human skills, which will be part of everyone’s job, must also be integrated into the way in which leaders manage the workforce.
If these aren’t new concepts, just accelerated because of the pandemic, why haven’t companies already changed their thinking? “A lot of companies just don’t know how to do this because work has always been considered separate from the worker’s personal life,” says Fisher. “Managers have been trained to reward those who put in long hours without understanding the negative consequences for someone’s health and well-being. Now we need to change what we value and celebrate what is uniquely human, like creativity and the ability to solve problems – things that the machines that work with us are unable to do.
Shifting to a culture that focuses and values employee well-being isn’t as difficult as businesses might think, says Fisher. “The first thing to do is to have open lines of communication to find out what your staff want. The form doesn’t matter – it can be surveys, focus groups, or face-to-face conversations. A business needs to understand where its workforce is at before creating and investing money in wellness programs.
In his book, Fisher describes five ways a team leader can contribute to wellness programs.
Encourage open conversations.
Focus on creating a safe workplace where people feel comfortable talking openly about physical, relationship, and mental health. Offer different opportunities for personal conversation, openly in a team or in confidence with resources such as a counselor.
Make rest and recovery a priority.
At different times of the year, encourage large populations to switch off to give everyone time to rest and recuperate. Make sure that people can also choose free time when they need it. Make sure that rest and recovery time is used by everyone, with fairness and as much personal choice as possible.
Develop mental health literacy.
Add virtual mental health classes to the learning program so everyone is aware and comfortable with the issues. It is a subject that many find distressing due to old cultural stigma or personal anxiety. A wellness program treats mental health frankly, providing resources, tools, and educational opportunities to help those in pain.
Support healthy habits.
Offer a wellness grant to help offset the costs of wellness-related products and services, such as meditation classes, yoga classes, and fees associated with gyms, hiking trails, charity runs, horseback riding, etc.
Share through storytelling.
Teach employees to share their mental health experiences and tell their stories in their own words. These stories are shared and promoted across the organization, and they are a great exercise in team building.
Focusing on wellness will reap far-reaching benefits, says Fisher. “Employees are going to change the workforce and the way companies engage and care for them as a whole person. This is a good thing because it will make the world of work a place. more agreable.”