5 ways to enhance the wellbeing of your people
In these challenging times, business owners and leaders must focus more than ever on the wellbeing and welfare of their employees. Campbell Macpherson offers a 5-step process to help you to help your people. Mental health matters. This is one of the key lessons we have all learnt during the past, crazy 12 months. ‘Well-being’ […]
In these challenging times, business owners and leaders must focus more than ever on the wellbeing and welfare of their employees. Campbell Macpherson offers a 5-step process to help you to help your people.
Mental health matters. This is one of the key lessons we have all learnt during the past, crazy 12 months. ‘Well-being’ had become little more than a buzzword for many organisations pre-Covid. But as anxiety levels went through the roof during this pandemic, even the most financially focused leaders became aware that the wellbeing and welfare of their people are paramount for business success.
No-one performs at their best when they are anxious. And we have all been anxious at one time or another during this pandemic.
As leaders, we must attend to our own wellbeing as well as the wellbeing of our people. Bear that in mind as we skip through the following list – a list that has been informed from the myriad of conversations with the delegates of the Leading and Embracing Change workshops and webinars I have been running for organisations and business schools worldwide throughout this year-long test of our ability to embrace change ourselves and help our people to do the same.
1. Communicate, communicate, communicate, communicate, listen
I asked a client for her top five ways to enhance the wellbeing of her people. Her reply was instant: “Communicate, communicate, communicate, communicate, listen.” Priceless. And she is spot on. You can never communicate enough and you can never listen enough during times of disruptive change. But ‘broadcast’ communication is inadequate. Communication must be two-way. A critical success factor that the vast majority of leaders ignore is that we must allow our people to air their concerns and fears – without judgment or recrimination. For only once these are tabled can they then be addressed, and if they are not aired, they fester and can grow to become impenetrable barriers to change, and major causes of anxiety. Too often, we listen to reply. We need to start listening to understand. Your people need to know you care.
2. Give them clarity
The unknown breeds anxiety. Your people need clarity of what you are trying to achieve – and just as importantly, why. This doesn’t mean that you need to have all the answers. But they need to know that you are confident in the future and that this confidence is based upon a clarity of who your business exists to serve, what makes your business special and why it deserves to win in the marketplace. They also help to be comfortable with the fact that there will always be unknowns and that you will all work through them together – with purpose.
3. Trust them
Leaders have learnt that they can trust their people to work from home and deliver. As long as we are clear about the outcomes that need to be delivered, we no longer mind if they are delivered by an employee in their pyjamas or with a needy cocker spaniel on their lap (which was the situation during one of my webinars as the delegate’s dog followed every slide and discussion during the three-hour interactive session). Another was joined by a chicken, but that’s a story for another time.
4. Give them structure
Yes, we humans like flexibility and autonomy – but within some sort of structure or routine. Too much freedom can result in anxiety and inaction. Some clients set times for compulsory twice-weekly, company-wide Zoom meetings. Others declared Zoom-free Fridays. One sent every employee a sourdough starter kit and organised a bread baking competition. Most scheduled one-to-one catch-up calls with each employee – not just to talk about work-related issues but also to ask that magical and sometimes life-saving questions: “How are you?” and “How can I help?”
5. Give them the ability to embrace change
Perhaps most of all, you need to give your people the skills and approach they need to enhance their resilience; to accept and embrace change – good and bad. This is the most valuable skill you could give yourself and your people – for life and at work. Change isn’t a project, nor is it a one-off storm that we simply have to sit out and let pass. It is a part of life – as are the emotions we experience when confronted by dramatic change. These emotions are normal. The emotional barriers to change that we erect are also normal – and they can be overcome. We can learn to harness these emotions, accept change and look for the opportunities.
As Nelson Mandella said, “Do not judge me by my success. Judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”
You need to give your people the power to change.
Campbell Macpherson is a sought-after speaker and international business adviser on leadership, strategy and change who splits his time between Australia and the UK. He is a keynote speaker, Executive Fellow of Henley Business School and author. His latest book, The Power to Change (Kogan Page 2020) has been shortlisted for the 2021 Business Book Awards. More information about Campbell and his workshops and webinars can be found at: www.changeandstrategy.com