When the senior management team of an organization meets to discuss the next best strategies for competitive edge, it is highly unlikely that the mental wellbeing of their staff will make the list. But a new report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) UK, explains why it should be an item on the list. The average cost of sickness absence alone grosses around £554 a year per employee. This means that an organization with 2000 employees would be incurring a seven-figure wastage. Of course, this excludes the indirect costs of reduced productivity that arise from presenteeism, quiet quitting, reduced morale, or engagement. The advantages of a robust wellbeing strategy cannot be overemphasised.

There is evidence of well documented links between increased performance, engagements and productivity and wellbeing interventions. Which will ultimately lead to improvements in organizational bottom-line.

Stress, burnout, anxiety, and depression are on the rise in today’s VUCA world of work and wellbeing initiatives need to be more strategic. A strategic organization wellbeing intervention would require a wellbeing audit or assessment, (like a learning needs assessment carried out before a training intervention) to highlight where corporate culture is misaligned or where management behaviour is toxic.

Speaking about management, line managers behaviours are very critical determinants of employee wellbeing. Line managers are promoted up from the shop floor to the top floor based on their performance in operational matters. They are hardly trained on how to manage people in ways that make them feel empowered to perform at their peak. So, we have cases of managers arriving at the top floor, totally lacking in the emotional intelligence required to motivate and boost the morale of their subordinates. The result is reduced engagements and decreased performance.

 

A strategic wellbeing intervention should include emotional intelligence-related training that enable managers to create and support positive wellbeing cultures. It also requires organizations to carry out regular wellbeing audits to reveal where challenges lie so that solutions can be proffered to nip them at the bud. Employing mental health therapists and wellbeing training professional as external consultants is another strategic approach. These consultants report at the organizations on specific days of the week, to provide services such as one-on-one or group counselling, wellbeing audits/ checks as well as psycho education, all of which would promote and support employee wellbeing.

Corporate wellbeing is part of the performance puzzle. Organizations that continue to ignore this part of the puzzle do so to their detriment in the long run. Yes, employee wellbeing is a business issue.

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