Wellbeing: a strategic priority
World wellbeing week takes place this week from 27th June to 1st July 2022 and provides the opportunity to promote awareness of the wide-ranging aspects of wellbeing.
‘Wellbeing’, specifically in relation to the workplace, was one of the buzzwords to come out of the pandemic, at a time where working practices and the employer-employee relationship changed dramatically. Now, with both the right to disconnect and the cost of living crisis topical issues, it is no surprise that wellbeing is still very much on the agenda.
Wellbeing is expansive
Previously, there was a tendency to view wellbeing within the narrow parameters of physical and mental wellbeing, addressed by fruit baskets in the office and the offer of yoga at lunch. It is now accepted that rather than a narrow interpretation, wellbeing in fact encapsulates a wide range of areas including social, emotional, financial, digital, career, community and environmental wellbeing. Spearheaded in part by the pandemic, businesses have shifted their focus from what many regard as superficial, tick-box initiatives, to identifying wellbeing as a strategic priority to be embedded into an organisation’s culture.
Identifying wellbeing as a strategic priority serves an entire business by working to attract, retain and develop talent. In turn, employees who are supported and engaged are more likely to feel fulfilled and inspired in their role, which in turn leads to greater productivity, performance and ultimately, business efficacy. The importance of prioritising wellbeing in the workplace can be seen by the recent mass exodus of employees, dubbed the ‘Great Resignation’. Here, employees voluntary resigned from their jobs in droves, in search for greater work life balance and flexibility. Employees, now more than ever, are alert to an organisation’s wellbeing efforts and are using this to distinguish between potential employers.
How strategic wellbeing translates into day to day practices in the workplace will differ for each business, however businesses are likely to benefit from developing a holistic strategy, holding individuals accountable and investing in wellbeing as a leadership skill.
Developing a Holistic Strategy
Rather than relying on sporadic, one-off wellbeing initiatives, businesses who craft and develop a holistic wellbeing strategy are likely to see more long-term value as a culture of wellbeing is established.
Businesses who identify a member of senior leadership to champion wellbeing in the workplace and to be held accountable for these efforts, is likely to ensure momentum is maintained and wellbeing doesn’t fall away to other business priorities.
Investing in Wellbeing as a Leadership Skill
Typically, wellbeing is seen as something within the sole remit of HR. By investing in wellbeing as a leadership skill, the responsibility is distributed to managers at all levels of a business. By learning how to effectively listen to employees, engage in open dialogue and understand what employees need, managers can provide insightful feedback and implement initiatives tailored to the specific needs of the workforce.
Wellbeing: where next?
Wellbeing is not a static concept and should be seen as an evolving practice, adapting to the changing needs and expectations of the workforce. By identifying wellbeing as a strategic priority, businesses can boost their external profile, improve employee engagement and ultimately, drive greater productivity.