26 Mar 7 ways to implement an effective wellbeing strategy
In these unprecedented times, do you have an open-door policy for anyone feeling stressed and anxious? How well do you think this culture of openness and honesty is being communicated to employees? We look back to an article we wrote last year, focusing on building and maintaining an effective wellbeing strategy. The events of the last few weeks have led to a massive change, more uncertainty, and new challenges for many of us.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that 602,000 workers suffered from work-related stress, depression or anxiety (new or long-standing) in 2019. In the same year, 12.8 million working days were lost due to the same issues. The figures show the enormous scale of the damage that mental illness does to individuals and the wider economy.
Organisations failing to create a supportive culture and adequately address wellbeing are not just losing working days, of course; they’re seeing a loss of productivity and worst still, good people.
Seven Es blueprint
Each organisation’s wellbeing strategy should be different with a degree of flexibility, as to cater for all the different personality types within the business. After all, people deal with stress in different ways. But, Neil Shah, chief de-stressing officer of The Stress Management Society, offers up a neat blueprint of a wellbeing strategy, based on seven Es:
- Engage: Creating a work environment that is safe and inspiring.
- Exemplify: As a leader within the business, being an exemplary figure, encouraging others to do as you do.
- Empathy: Understanding the difference between empathy and sympathy, and showing that you care.
- Empower: Ensuring people are empowered to fulfil their potential and given the opportunities to show their best self.
- Encourage: Embedding a model of positive feedback that encourages people to strive to do their best work – while encouraging them to have a voice and to speak up when they crave further opportunities.
- Embed: It’s impossible to get a feel for someone’s wellbeing without ensuring regular conversations take place. People’s lives can quickly change. Ensure you have continuous conversations to keep track of where people are in their lives.
- Evaluate: Constantly evaluate your approach, trying to find ways of improving it.
Part of ensuring that people can do their best work is giving them the right tools. Technology that is a poor fit for the organisation and its people can act as an unwanted – often overlooked – source of stress. So, when you’re building a strategy to minimise work-related stress, don’t forget to consider the tools that people are using. While they’re unlikely to be the primary source of stress, they might be contributing to it.