Astronology guest writer Matt Zinman highlights three areas of well – being that organizations can invest in for their employees.
There’s a new paradigm. Whatever you thought were best practices are suddenly question marks. For one, you thought there had to be a firewall between “work life” and “personal life” and now we’re all just navigating life together.
Of course every company and culture vary greatly, especially by persona of its leaders. But, if any one thing that’s come into sharp focus as consistent, it’s that supporting workplace well-being has become a business imperative.
The fact of the underlying pandemic is that 76% of U.S. workers have contended with at least one mental health impairment in the past year – at the very least a combination of burnout (56%), depression (46%) and/or anxiety (40%).
In short, we’re all human. This is systemic. Odds are, leaders are at least as vulnerable and in need of life support.
To be clear, workplace well-being is much broader than “wellness,” which connotes a health-only focus. Well-being is the holistic lens. It includes environment, systems, relationships, as well as wellness.
Here’s an overarching sentiment: rather than view this topic as needing to rise to a challenge with some sort of tactical response to plug a hole in your organization to support employee well-being, view it as a significant opportunity to take a highly strategic approach to improve the foundation of your business, especially company culture, work environment and daily experience.
In doing so, you’ll find the opportunities at hand far transcend the topic of well-being. It’s about how people care for themselves and how organizations care for their people. The wellness of employees, including leaders, directly impacts the well-being of the organization.
That brings us to the opportunity to make three investments that pay exponential dividends.
Whether your organization already has some supports in place or is just beginning to address this need, now’s the time to reevaluate and formalize your internal communications strategies and practices. Who owns the ball? Does your company have anyone internally and/or any external support, such as a PR firm or seasoned consultant in place?
At the foundation, intentional communication practices will define roles among executives, managers, HR and others. What tone and messaging does a leader present in opening this conversation about “everyone being in this together?” What will resonate authentically, such as a leader with the ability to be heart-centered and instill the organization with a culture of empathy versus those more cerebral and methodical? Is now the time to survey employees to gain insights about their needs and wants and/or would a [virtual] Town Hall-style conversation be more effective? How will you empower managers to support employees in need? Would it help for them to do routine “check-ins”? In any case, the ideal organizational culture is one in which listening is encouraged and accessible with two-way communication.
Your company grows when your people do. The need for “Talent Development” is no longer limited to standard training initiatives about leadership, management, diversity, compliance or professional certifications. It’s time for companies to double-down on training by approaching it as an investment in human capital instead of as an overhead expense.
On one hand is the fact that the limited talent pool doesn’t lend itself to having the pick of the litter. This makes it more essential to solidify “power skills,” such as: emotional intelligence, critical thinking, problem-solving, adaptability, conflict management and teamwork. The same goes for supporting essential life skills involving mindset, personal awareness and mindfulness. More specific to supporting well-being is the opportunity to provide education resources that are online, self-serve, self-paced and experiential – ideally with a social learning component that fosters teamwork.
In case you’ve yet to have this in place, establishing and proactively managing a purposeful mentoring program is one of the most effective (and cost-efficient) means to strengthen cultural cohesion and provide employees with essential support.
While there’s no shortage of resources available for guidance, one critical success factor is to go beyond matching by creating an activity plan. In the absence of structure, mentoring can yield diminishing returns or fail entirely. More specific to well-being is the opportunity to provide discussion guides and accountability measures.
Adapting to the new paradigm of integrating well-being into the workplace culture involves much greater consideration, especially about the specific roles and responsibilities among different levels. Approaching it through a lens of planned communication, investing in holistic training and a mentality of mentoring is certain to positively impact people’s lives and the bottom-line.
Matt Zinman is a speaker, podcast host, author and educator. He adapted his book, Z-isms: Insights to Live By, into a highly practical, transformative and enduring employee enrichment program called the Life Upgrade. He combines his 30 years of professional experiences involving communication management and experiential learning with his personal insights to instill others with the mindset, well-being, relationships, and purpose – to live life fully.
Learn More: MattZinman.com/employers