Delivering outstanding results and achieving big success at work leads to happiness, right?
WRONG. In reality, it's the other way around! Happiness is the starting point, not the destination in the equation of work and happiness!
Studies overwhelmingly show that happy, healthy employees work harder, are more productive, and achieve more successful outcomes regardless of the industry or sector they work within. Organisations who invest in the wellbeing of their employees enjoy lower staff turnover and sick absence from employees who are twice as likely to be engaged, ten times less likely to suffer burn-out, and nine times more likely to stay with their employer for at least three more years (Source: Limeade). FTSE companies who invest in wellbeing and engagement outperform others by 10%.
Put simply - employee wellbeing is good business!
Never has wellbeing been so important – the global pandemic saw life-satisfaction plummet to it's lowest levels for 40 years across Europe, which is home to the world's 'happiest' countries (Source: McKinsey). Given we spend on average 1/3 of our lives in work, what companies do, or don't do, to promote and support employee mental health and wellbeing really matters. But not all Wellbeing programmes and initiatives work; in fact, done badly they can have a significant negative impact on employee engagement, loyalty and tenure.
As a business which recognises and prioritises our people as our number one asset, Amoria Bond's commitment to employee wellbeing has been recognised in multiple industry awards and accolades as the 'Best Recruitment Company to Work For'. We want to encourage and promote widespread employee wellbeing, so here are our top tips on to boost employee wellbeing:
A CLEAR FRAMEWORK
Many organisations adopt a distinct, formalised 'wellbeing strategy or policy', which can be an effective approach, particularly if you are starting from scratch. The danger of this approach is that wellbeing is seen as a nice-to-have "add on", rather than a priority, and quickly get side-lined in your business.
Developing a wellbeing framework, aligned closely with your company values, is often a far more sustainable strategy that embeds 'Wellbeing' into your company's wider policies and practices. At Amoria Bond, we have developed our Wellbeing programme around the '5 Ways to Wellbeing' which is an established framework that's proven to support mental health and wellbeing.
The programme complements and supports our company Purpose of Progressing Lives Everywhere, which we are continually working to authentically build into every aspect of our business. For example, during the pandemic we hugely ramped up our focus on 'Connect', ensuring that in our day-to-day operations employees were given both the time and technologies to enable meaningful connections and opportunities to talk and feel listened to.
Workforce wellbeing is a long term organisational commitment; not a one-off, or even once a year/quarter/month exercise. It requires genuine Board and senior stakeholder buy-in, ideally with a defined Board Sponsor (at Amoria Bond we have sponsorship from the non-Exec Founders and a lead Board MD) to drive engagement and successful implementation throughout the wider management team and organisation. An effective Wellbeing programme will require ongoing organisational investment in skills, knowledge, and resources, both internally and externally.
PROVIDE TRAINED MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AIDERS
Part of the investment towards an effective wellbeing programme should go towards ensuring that employees have someone they can turn to for support or advice with any concerns or issues they may be facing. At Amoria Bond we’ve introduced mental health first aiders within our offices who can be those available contact points to anyone in need.
We currently have five mental health first aiders in the business who are recognisable faces to our teams and understand how to provide a safe, confidential space for people to talk. They will also be able to direct people to suitable resources that could provide additional help if required.
Having trained mental health first aiders is such an important and effective solution to supporting employees’ wellbeing, and giving them one-to-one direct support and advice.
BRING IN THE EXPERTS
Whether you’re just introducing a wellbeing strategy or you’re trying to develop it further, you should really look beyond your own organisation to find the tools and advice that will most benefit your employees.
At Amoria Bond we’ve worked with a number of wellbeing experts who have delivered workshops, talks, activities and more for our employees - many of which we’ve also published on our dedicated wellbeing youtube playlist, or featured as guests on our Progressing Lives Everywhere Podcast to benefit our clients, candidates, contractors and followers. This includes experts such as:
Julie McGann from Unicorn Wellness & Leadership Academy who delivered mindful meditation sessions which we’ve now published for our colleagues, candidates, clients and followers on our wellbeing youtube playlist.
Rhonda D’Ambrosio who delivered sessions on maintaining mental health in recruitment
Kate Hayward from Performance Pot, who trained our mental health first aiders and also delivered mental health and wellbeing training sessions to all our leaders.
Caroline Mohr who delivered an inspirational and motivational session at our 2021 AGM
Damian Hughes who talked to the whole company at our 2020 AGM and also offered his expertise in mental health and wellbeing as a regular guest on our Progressing Lives Everywhere Podcast.
HEALTH-CHECK YOUR BUSINESS AT THE OUTSET
Thankfully, this isn't as complicated or time-consuming as it might sound and shouldn't require an external 'specialist' (despite what they might tell you!). BAU organisational data should provide much of the insights you need: sick absence, retention and turnover levels are an obvious and important starting point. To get a complete view, you need to look at bit deeper and look at working hours, flexibility, work-life balance, targets, job 'control' and autonomy, job security, reward and recognition (is it more carrot or stick?!) etc.
At Amoria Bond, we use a range of methods to check in with our people regularly, including our bespoke companywide Cultural Survey, which helps us benchmark how healthy our business is. This allows us to make changes to improve employee job satisfaction and engagement, we explicitly measure wellbeing as part of our Cultural Survey to check if what we are doing is helping employees... which leads nicely on to the next top tip…
It's essential to involve and engage employees in developing, and if possible, delivering your organisational Wellbeing programme. When employees are involved in the process, they will feel a sense of ownership and naturally champion it, which in turn will help increase participation and engagement with the programme. Give employees multiple channels to get involved. For example, Amoria Bond has a dedicated Wellbeing inbox for ideas, suggestions, and feedback about our Wellbeing programme; we engage with existing employee resource groups to gauge feedback on what is, or isn't working; use surveys, and ask people for their input both in teams and 121.
Think about everyone in your organisation before launching a new Wellbeing initiative or activity. Our companywide AB Active Challenge was deliberately designed to ensure everyone, could participate: https://video214.com/play/X6yV3x51dgPXEhWG66BuNw/s/dark
DON'T TAKE OFFENCE!
Not every wellbeing initiative will work. When you get it wrong, or something doesn't quite land as hoped or intended, take the time to understand why, and reset. It might only be a small tweak that's needed – for example, we discovered that the timings of our Summer Wellbeing Series delivered by external specialists were not working companywide due to differing time-zones, so we ran duplicate sessions and replays.
Don't try and wing it week to week, or month to month, have a structured organisational Wellbeing plan for at least the next 6-9 months – both activities and themes. Again, we've found the 5 Ways to Wellbeing framework invaluable in shaping Amoria Bond's Wellbeing plan, enabling us to interlace our wellbeing initiatives with other strategic initiatives and programmes, such as CSR, Diversity and Inclusion. Executing our plans resulted in fantastically successful events like our AB Active Challenge, which brought together the 5-Way themes of Be Active and Give, and our PRIDE Facebook live event which connected employees around the world to celebrate and promote PRIDE.
Mental health is a significant component of wellbeing, and yet most organisations shy away from mentioning mental health, hiding behind more comfortable phrases and words – like Wellbeing, Wellness, Happiness, Mindset etc. Wellbeing programmes must help to normalise conversations about mental health, and that starts with acknowledging and including it in your wellbeing resources and offerings. Amoria Bond has taken a conscious decision this year to recognise key mental health awareness dates, and promote these both internally and externally. We have an employee wellbeing portal, which includes a section dedicated to providing resources and support promoting mental health.
MAKE IT VOLUNTARY
A wellbeing programme that forces mandatory participation is doomed. Even worse is a programme that pretends to be voluntary but manipulates participation through top-down pressure. In both cases, employee participation will be half-hearted at best and hugely damaging to morale.
If you involve employees in developing your Wellbeing programme as described above, engagement and participation in the programme will come naturally. It's also important to remember that some of your Wellbeing initiatives will only be relevant to a small proportion of employees, but this doesn't mean they are less valid. Again, understanding this comes down to authentic employee involvement and inclusion.
HOLISTIC AND FUN
The best Wellbeing programmes are varied, and include a range of activities and initiatives, allowing employees to personalise what wellbeing means to them.
Consider the various ways to wellbeing, and how they may they affect employees' lives and performance, including financial, mental, emotional, social, spiritual and professional health. Every area of employee wellbeing is important, and a holistic programme will help you more fully meet more, if not all of them.
Amoria Bond's Wellbeing programme includes a wide range of of sessions - Pilates, HiiT, Nutrition, Mindful Meditation, Power of Positive Mindset webinars, office rounders, netball, football and running clubs... in the past we've even had masseuses providing massages at the desk in the office.
Have fun with your Wellbeing programme… smiling, and laughter are a vital part of personal wellbeing after all 😊