Running a business isn’t easy, we understand that. When you have so many different responsibilities as a business owner or MD of an SME, it would be understandable to overlook the wellbeing of your team – after all, they’re adults, you pay them to do a job and it’s their responsibility to be fit and well enough to come to work, right?
As we enter the dark and wet months of Autumn and Winter, of what has and continues to be another tough year, the effects of Covid, Brexit, the cost of living crisis and the recently confirmed recession on organisations and individuals’ working lives continue to be felt. ONS data shows that average wellbeing ratings have deteriorated across all indicators, including happiness and feeling that things done in life are worthwhile.
Whilst many SME owners and MDs will appreciate the human and moral case for supporting employee health, compelling business reasons could be less apparent. It is important to clearly outline and understand the business case for investing in workforce health in a way that reflects the context of the business.
It’s not a ‘quick win’ or tick box exercise, but a structured, thoughtful and strategic approach to understanding how to get the best out of your team on a sustained basis that’s required. We believe in keeping things straightforward and that’s why we developed this simple formula to help us explain:
Adam Davey, Director at Petaurum HR and Benefits Cloud commented “In my career, I’ve long since held the view that if you look after your people (ensuring their physical, mental and financial wellbeing is all in good shape) and you provide them with meaningful work that they enjoy, there really is only one inevitable outcome and that’s better, sustained performance – which has to be good news for every business!” In other words, looking after the wellbeing of your workforce (which is all about removing their barriers to sustained attendance, motivation and performance) is an investment, not just a ‘nice thing to do’.
Makes sense? If so, how do you then set about creating a wellbeing culture? Here’s our 5 Top Tips:
1. Encourage Conversations About Wellbeing
It’s ok not to be ok sometimes and the sooner this is accepted and understood, the sooner steps can be taken to get things (physical / mental / financial health) back on track. Many of us have a default response when asked if we’re ok… “yes, I’m fine thanks, how are you”. Sound familiar? Call it a defence mechanism, still upper lip or whatever you want. As a business owner / MD, if your team has issues, it’s inevitable that these will affect their performance to a greater or lesser extent. Open up conversations, make work a comfortable space to talk and do what you can to help or encourage them to help themselves.
2. Know Where To Find Help
Find local sources of support and help so you can signpost colleagues when needed. The Money and Pensions Service, Citizens Advice and Pensions Wise are all free services. Or you may choose to invest either in an Employee Assistance Programme, a wellbeing support programme such as our own Cirrus package or perhaps just deal with individual issues as and when they arise. Have information at your fingertips so you can be supportive and act quickly if you need to.
3. Encourage Education & Training
Understanding an issue helps enormously in terms of dealing with a situation when it arises and also in terms of being able to take proactive, preventative steps to avoid that situation arising in the first place. Whether it’s providing access to a wide range and depth of resources and information such as provided by Whitecalm in their wellbeing platform (available as part of the Cirrus package), organising lunchtime talks or even more formal training, such as Mental Health First Aid, as part of a wider programme of activity – all will have a positive impact on your wellbeing culture.
4. Lead By Example
Look after your own wellbeing. How can you look after your team if you don’t look after yourself? Prioritise your wellbeing and build this into your schedule. Take control of your working hours, spend time offline, stay present, prioritise and be prepared to say “no” or “not yet” and take regular exercise. There are no medals for burnout – set an example for your team to follow.
5. Organise Time Out Or Pause Points
Can you remember during the first Covid lockdown how the world seemed to stop? We would go out for our 1 hour’s permitted exercise and there was peace and tranquillity – a real connection with nature. How good did it feel? Try to replicate that, both individually and collectively. Escape for a lunchtime walk with colleagues in the local area, get some fresh air and reconnect with the outdoors – it’s amazing how much better you will feel!
And there you have it, our 5 Top Tips to developing a wellbeing culture.
Sounds interesting? If you want to know more or just fancy a chat, please don’t hesitate to get in touch [email protected]