A supportive working environment is not just a ‘nice to have.’ Investing in workplace wellness is now a necessity as data backed research shows the importance of employee wellbeing and how it directly correlates to business success. According to Mind Share Partners, employees are 2.5x more likely to stay at a company for 2+ years when leaders invest in their wellbeing.
As leaders strive to create resilient and inclusive organisations, a people-first culture is what will set them apart from the competition. Companies need to be willing to invest in wellbeing initiatives and recognise how self-care can be used both personally and professionally as a tool for success. At a basic level, this may look like employee assistance programmes and a benefits package that includes access to healthcare services.
Equally important is the need to foster a workplace culture that values open communication, empathy, and support. Leaders need to send a clear signal that the mental health of their employees matters to them, and that they are willing to listen when people reach out for assistance.
Setting an example through leadership
When it comes to supporting employees and their wellbeing, we can’t underestimate the impact of empathetic and supportive leadership. Alongside creating an environment where honest conversations can take place without fear of judgment, leaders can normalise the discussion around mental health and ultimately mental health challenges.
Mental health awareness training can also help employees be more proactive in supporting their people. This can be achieved by recognising that everyone is different, and a personalised approach to each employee is vital to employee happiness.
Setting reasonable expectations and establishing healthy boundaries is an integral part of promoting wellness in the workplace. Leaders can help employees find a balance between work and personal life by implementing flexible work schedules, promoting self-care, and encouraging them to take time off and fully disconnect so they can rest and rejuvenate.
When employees have the time and space to focus on self-care, they are better equipped to bring their best selves to work and perform at their highest potential. What does this look like?
For me, self-care is about making sure I’m taking care of myself holistically, which encompasses mind, body and spirit. I like to kickstart my mornings with prayer, exercise, and positive thinking as I find that it really sets me up for the day.
It’s important to recognise that our version of looking after ourselves can change over time and as our lives evolve. The best way forward centres around taking the time to understand how you can best look after yourself in the moment, and communicating this openly with colleagues and managers.
Providing access to resources
One of the fundamental principles of investing in workplace wellness is providing employees with the right resources and tools to take action for their physical, mental, and emotional health. This may include services such as counselling or mental health training. Yet, mental health and wellbeing is a complex puzzle, and therefore there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to tackling issues such as burnout, anxiety, or depression.
Organisations should look to offer a variety of resources for its teams in the hope it caters to the broadest set of people. For example, when it comes to burnout, this is a major organisational health hazard affecting individuals no matter their position in a company.
To tackle this at a senior level, leaders are responsible for implementing business-wide policies that create a positive work environment, which could include leaders monitoring employee utilisation to avoid burnout.
At an individual level, employees should be equipped with tools to recognise and address signs of burnout. For example, scheduling focus time, reducing unnecessary meetings, and establishing priority lists can all contribute to creating a work environment that supports and empowers individuals to take ownership of their workload and their mental health.
Building resilient organisations
All the above factors contribute to organisational resilience, which is not just about a company’s ability to bounce back but also understanding the importance of rest and recovery. For example, by supporting employees in achieving a healthy work-life balance and providing resources for stress management and self-care during intense periods. Organisations can foster a resilient workforce that is better equipped to take care of their individual selves, navigate challenges and adapt to change.
Overall, investing in workplace wellness is a multifaceted approach that requires commitment, resources, empathetic leadership, and a shift in workplace culture. Not only does it lead to increased productivity and engagement, but it’s also a strategic advantage for companies today in attracting and retaining talent.
With the right resources, support, and a commitment to nurturing a culture of wellness, businesses can create a resilient and inclusive environment that empowers individuals to bring their best selves to work – resulting in a thriving workforce that drives business success.
With 18 years at Acxiom, Crystal is now the Director of Engagement and Inclusion in Human Resources. She spearheads Acxiom’s IDEA Council, which focuses on enhancing diversity and inclusion strategies. Crystal is dedicated to fostering a vibrant workplace culture that promotes inclusivity, innovation, and teamwork. She also forges partnerships with organisations and community leaders to drive positive community transformation.