With more and more emphasis being placed on staff engagement and its connection to productivity, creating a space in which people can flourish is becoming a priority for many organisations. The age-old expression ‘you get out what you put in’ rings true when creating a positive work environment and can certainly reap real rewards for organisations.
In the UK, full-time workers put in an average of 37.3 hours per week, and their wellbeing is partially in the hands of individual employers and business leaders. Initiatives to encourage workplace wellness are great. From flexible working to mental health support, or financial rewards for performance.
Despite best efforts, research from CABA, the charity supporting chartered accountants’ wellbeing, found over half (58%) of employees revealed they’d experienced reduced mental wellbeing, such as suffering with stress, anxiety or depression, due to poor personal wellbeing at work. Additionally, 74% of employees said their concentration had been affected and 53% had seen poor results or performance. With statistics this alarming, it is imperative that CFOs put employee wellbeing at the forefront.
As a senior leader, wellbeing needs to be on your agenda but it needs a strategy. According to research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), only a third of organisations have a formal wellbeing programme in place, and fewer than half (43%) of respondents said that wellbeing was on senior leaders’ agendas.
What can you do as a senior leader to combat the wellbeing issue? To be effective, employee wellbeing schemes must be reflected in and begin with a company’s culture, leadership and people management. Senior leaders have to buy into any initiative otherwise it will fail. It is important that CFOs set the tone for the culture of the whole organisation.
“It is important that CFOs set the tone for the culture of the whole organisation.”
As a business grows, senior management can become removed from the front line, making it more difficult to understand employees’ individual engagement and wellbeing needs. This makes it imperative for leaders to create a culture where employee ideas are listened to and acted on, so as not to lose touch with the status quo.
A recent report shows the US, Germany and the Netherlands have the happiest employees, whilst the UK ranked as one of the lowest. UK business leaders would do well to look further afield when it comes to employee wellness.
Below are three simple yet effective ways to increase and maintain employee wellbeing, and give your company the optimum chance of success:
Encourage creativity and flexibility
Jobs can be repetitive and employees may feel that overly restrictive rules and processes impede their creativity. By giving workers a little more autonomy, and the flexibility to work in a way that suits them best, you may be able to boost productivity and employee morale, helping to increase output in the long run. You may even be able to retain talented workers for longer than might otherwise have been possible. Invite suggestions from your employees as to ways the organisation can improve.
Boost employee health
Healthy employees are much more likely to be happy individuals who turn up for work and put in a good shift. You can do more to improve the physical and mental wellbeing of your staff, and detox the workplace. Examples could be subsidising gym memberships and providing complimentary fruit or healthy snacks, in order to encourage better dietary habits. Cycle-to-work schemes and fun team competitions that support healthy behaviour can be welcome ways to promote a healthy workplace.
Many of the UK’s top firms know that wellbeing runs much deeper than small steps to aid physical health. A holistic approach, treating employees as multi-faceted individuals, can also reap great rewards. Mindfulness training is a great tool to help your employees relieve stress and feel balanced, but also increase productivity and focus on their day-to-day work. Mindfulness practices such as meditation and breathing, not only help employees be more present but also enhance their efficiency.
Employers lacking a holistic wellness policy will most likely be seeing dips in productivity and decreased employee loyalty. Employee wellbeing is not a nice-to-have or a tick box exercise, it’s a necessity if employers want to attract and retain the best talent.
Wellbeing is important, both personally and professionally, and it is key that CFOs remember that. Further information can be found in our first ever whitepaper, which is available to download on our website.