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The pandemic, and how employers dealt with their staff during this time, was the last straw for a lot of UK workers. Whilst some saw it as the perfect opportunity to pursue a ‘dream job’, or start up their own business, others viewed the situation in a completely different light. Sick of being treated badly with little care for their health or well being, many felt unsupported, overloaded, undervalued, overlooked and unheard, so they opted to leave and find employment elsewhere.

Care and concern

Businesses who recognise this and adopt the need to take into account employee well-being as part of their recruitment and ongoing management will reap benefits. According to recent research, employers who demonstrate care and concern for employee health and well being are usually rewarded with high levels of loyalty, with employees four times more likely to stay with the business.

Essentially staff want their employers to listen and to provide help, support, and have proactive measures in place, to help them stay healthy, rather than reactive measures to help them recover when they are ill.  With this in mind it is time to invest in a workplace health and employee well-being programme. This could include regular surveys, having specific questions on exit interviews and/or introducing or upgrading an existing Employee Assistance Programme (EAP).

Create a healthy working environment

Having health and well being programmes in place is all very well, but you also need to provide managers with the right training and development including emotional intelligence, self-awareness, communication skills, self-care etc. This will ensure they can not only create a healthy working environment, but also understand their role within it. After all employees look to their managers to understand what is expected, what is reasonable and what is encouraged.

By ensuring more focus on people and less on targets and deadlines, it’s possible to have a positive impact on individuals and teams, as well as the company’s reputation and performance.

With managers onboard, they need to:

  • Promote a healthy work/home life balance by setting an example
  • Be available for individual and team self-care and downtime on a regular basis
  • Encourage people to talk about what is bothering them on a personal, as well as a business, level
  • Listen to what they are saying and what they are not saying
  • Show empathy and demonstrate high levels of personal care
  • Signpost to relevant support services
  • Feedback often to those higher up in the organisation

Prevention is better than a cure

Mental Health First Aid training for staff is becoming increasingly popular. But whilst it’s essential to equip people with the knowledge to spot the signs and symptoms of common issues, it’s also important to try to prevent the sources of these issues too. So, managers need to feel empowered to call out behaviours and policies as acceptable if they are deemed to be having a negative impact on positive mental health.

Well-being starts at the top, it’s not a tick box exercise for a few people, it’s a commitment by everyone in a position of authority to do something to make a difference. By embedding well-being into the heart of your culture, you can provide a happy and healthy work environment where employees want to stay.

How can we help?

If you need any help, support and advice on how to successfully roll out a well-being toolkit to your managers, please call 01327 317537 or email caroline.robertson@actifhr.co.uk for non-obligatory advice.