In an ever-connected, high demand and increasingly turbulent world, building employee resilience and safeguarding their well-being is a significant business priority, and if it’s not, it should be. However, how to do this successfully is a question that is very much front of mind for many HR Leaders and was the focus of our recent Midlands HR Leaders Forum.
Employee resilience and well-being
The benefits of a resilient workforce have been discussed in great detail with employees who demonstrate high levels of resilience often having a greater ability to adapt to change with ease, quickly bounce back after stressful situations, have a greater sense of control and focus on positive outcomes as opposed to negative ones. Key traits any employer would want in an employee, however they are now more important than ever given the ever-changing nature of business and ongoing organisational uncertainty.
But it’s not just linked to coping with uncertainty, investing in resilience and well-being can also have a direct impact on an organisations ability to attract and retain top talent. This is particularly true of younger generations who place greater importance on work-life balance, CSR, career breaks and employee support, and will often look to websites such as Glassdoor to read first-hand what other employees had to say about their experience.
Initiatives to promote employee resilience and well-being
During our recent event, attendees discussed the many initiatives they had put in place within their organisation to improve the resilience and well-being of employees, from mental health first aiders, to sleep experts, to breakout areas and healthy snacks, as well as introducing work-life balance programmes such as working from home or taking sabbaticals.
All great initiatives on the surface, however attendees were in agreement that in order to ensure the success of these initiatives there must be a culture of resilience and well-being embedded in the workplace and that it must be championed by leaders throughout the business.
One HR Director in attendance explained how feedback from employees regarding weekend emails had led to a new well-being initiative within their organisation, encouraging employees to switch off during weekends and holidays by only sending emails during the week and not taking their phones on holiday.
Others detailed how their organisation had developed a culture of complete flexibility to suit all employees, with less focus on being present from 9-5, instead focussing on outputs and achieving results.
The importance of organisational culture on well-being
When developing resilience and well-being in the workplace it’s important to promote the correct initiatives, however if the culture of the organisation does not fully support these initiatives and employees still feel over-worked and undervalued then workplace stress will continue to be an issue.
Before putting any resilience and well-being initiative in place it is important to review your current organisational culture in the context of whether it promotes or negatively affects well-being. To begin ask yourself these key questions:
- Organisation – Does it promote a culture of health, well-being and work-life balance?
- Leaders and Managers – Are they able to identify, address and support issues employees raise regarding stress and work overload?
- Employees – How are they managing their own well-being and resilience and what more can be done?
Generally, the consensus throughout the event was that we are currently seeing a culture shift in the world of work, with people demanding flexibility and expecting a better, more flexible work-life balance, which organisations will need to provide to build resilience and safeguard well-being. Initiatives such as mental health first-aiders and yoga lessons are all good, however organisations need to have the right culture in place to support this, one that is championed by all leaders throughout the business and where employees feel empowered to challenge any behaviours that negatively affect well-being.
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