Companies often get lost in corporate process management, productivity, efficiency and many other common aspects of what is regarded as elements for business success. But what if employee wellbeing was the pillar to achieve all of the above in a healthy and sustainable way?
Improving workplace culture is a matter of many things, including process efficiency, healthy productivity, talent attraction and retention, professional development, or personal wellbeing. And today we want to stress the importance of this latter element. In fact, we wonder if it is even possible to achieve all of the above without an active focus on employees’ overall wellbeing.
When we talk about focusing on wellbeing as a key element of a healthy and functioning workplace culture, we are actually pointing out a very simple fact that often seems to go unnoticed by some companies: you are not solely managing a company, you are managing people.
Managing a company requires an understanding of processes, markets, law etc., but managing people requires empathy, compassion, care and other very human components that don’t always get prioritized. So, where can we start to improve employees’ wellbeing inside the company and improve workplace culture too as a result?
Managing people requires empathy, compassion, care, and other very human components that don’t always get prioritized.
Employee wellbeing as a business strategy
It is increasingly harder to separate personal from professional. Perhaps it is not even fully possible to do so. As we navigated the pandemic, lockdown, remote work, and the aftermath of it all, setting boundaries between work and home life became unmanageable.
Individually, home chores and family responsibilities constantly interfered with work obligations, and viceversa; and as a company, navigating governance in a completely new range of circumstances, made engaging, supporting and just plainly working with employees a never ending road full of obstacles.
Sometimes these obstacles seem to be a thing of the past, but we believe this is actually just the beginning, in the best possible sense. It is a fresh start to build a healthy, functioning, flexible and empathetic workplace culture that nurtures employees’ wellbeing and drives productivity and development naturally.
As we talked about on a previous post, flexibility is an important and necessary place to start revisiting workplace culture, as well as a key element for wellbeing. But as we mentioned before, companies are managing people, and therefore need to put a focus on a more compassionate, empathetic and overall human workplace.
How to make workplace culture more human centric
As we analyzed what makes a healthy workplace culture and a safe space for people inside their organizations, we came to the conclusion that there are two most relevant topics or aspects of corporate culture that need to be addressed. On the one hand, we need actions that will encourage a healthy work-life balance; on the other hand, inspired by the younger generations’ demands, mental health should start being introduced and prioritized.
A more flexible and personalized schedule can actually prevent burn-outs or quickly-done mediocre results as a consequence of time mismanagement.
Fostering work-life balance
Time is the most precious thing that we have and being able to use it wisely can be a life saver for many reasons. Unfortunately, most companies might not be ready to take on the challenge of breaking traditional rules and setting up a four day work week, but there are similarly helpful options to begin with:
- Allow for employees to manage their time and time-off. Sometimes meetings can take too much of our day and leave little room to actually work. An interesting possibility to explore is giving workers the freedom to establish their own preferred schedule, limiting the time in which they are available for meetings in order to adapt responsibilities in a way that is more manageable to them. Meetings are just an example, but a more flexible and personalized schedule can actually prevent burn-outs or quickly-done mediocre results as a consequence of time mismanagement.
Mental health as part of the workplace culture
Millenials and Generation Z have been key advocates for the importance of mental health to grow exponentially in the last few years, and specially after the pandemic. Just like physical health is important and companies can (or should) offer healthcare for their employees, mental health seems to be at a similar state of relevance. In fact, how companies approach mental health will soon become an important differentiator between businesses. Here are some ideas on where to begin establishing a mental health strategy or action plan:
- Train managers to be empathetic. Empathy is part of every human being in one way or another, but offering somewhat of a ‘technical training’ on empathy will allow managers and senior employers to identify possible burn-out, stress symptoms or emotional distress signs among employees. Having regular check-ins or one on one sessions is also a useful tool for keeping track of employees mental wellbeing.
- Train employees on mental health. Similarly to the previous point, training employees on mental health issues, resources and basic understanding of human empathy like listening without judging, could be more interesting to many than manager training. Let me explain. Unfortunately most people may not be willing or feel save expressing certain things to their managers, but would however be ready to share concerns with fellow co-workers. Encouraging and giving the option to be trained to workers of all levels could give your company an even bigger safety net of mental health for everyone.
Engage employees through transparency
We believe and work for transparency to be one of the key values driving the fight for climate action, social wellbeing and good governance as it is the only way to understand what we are doing wrong, what we are doing right and what it is that we are not doing yet.
Because being transparent is not only an externality to a company, or a given organization, to help build trust and reputation; it is in fact also a great learning and improvement mechanism. You cannot manage what you don’t understand. And so we advocate for transparency, integrity and precision as imperatives to the fight against climate change.
In this regard, it is essential to our work to promote good corporate governance, meaning that the processes of disclosure and transparency are followed so as to provide regulators and shareholders as well as the general public with precise and accurate information about the financial, operational and other aspects of the company, including a more accurate definition of the ESG performance.
We have developed a corporate government tool that helps establish ESG impact objectives for employees in regards to the sustainability strategy of the company. Through our technology we are able to activate and track employees’ impact, creating engagement that translates into improved ESG metrics, reputational value and an overall positive impact for the environment and society.
If you want to know more about how we work to create a positive social and environmental impact, click here.