Workplace Wellness | People First
Workplace Wellness | People First
If well-being is part of one’s brand and the people that represent the organisation your greatest asset, then making sure that a healthy, happy workforce is a key consideration to ensure business success. With World Mental Health Day marked on 10 October this year, Candice Wilcock, People Manager – Growth & Innovation and Wellness, Smollan unpacks well-being in broader terms and what is being done to support employees in this space.

We know that employee well-being is about more than just physical health. The idea of ticking one box instead of looking holistically at the whole is a dated notion. Today we think about it as the way employee’s roles, expectations, stress levels and their working environment affect their overall work-life experience and engagement.

Prior to the pandemic, workplace stress has been described as the health epidemic of the 21st century – hitch a real time pandemic onto this already overladen cart, and someone, somewhere, somehow is going to feel the effects. Instead, the sweet spot when it comes to shaping a fresh, engaging, leading with care organisational culture, is one that champions a holistic approach that focuses not only on how we show up as a business, but how we support our teams to show up in both their personal and work lives. Supporting the investment potential of improved workplace well-being, will pay dividends in the long term.

As so much has shifted in the past two years, none more so than people’s psyche as we slowly start edging out of the pandemic – we have a greater understanding about how to manage our well-being. From getting to grips with remote work, issues of isolation and loss, how to manage the ups with the downs and raising a flag when it comes to asking for help. We have all suffered through so much shared trauma and grief, that in these moments it is imperative that we come together as a collective community in support of each other, but also to acknowledge that it is critical to start with one’s own self-care.

The idea that when the mindset is right, the individual can take themselves forward, where individual accountability given the right tools becomes the rule rather than the exception as one understands the state one is in. That said it can be hard to identify that feeling and ask for support. Successful, engaged organisations understand ‘it’s okay not to be okay’ and acknowledge that working with the whole people package, by providing a supportive safety net of sorts around financial, emotional, social, physical, and intellectual well-being – is a vital connection. Where support is rallied and authentic care is shown for people.

In order to drive this, we have intentionally designed our well-being framework to allow for supported, effective engagement as we partner our people with tools that allows ‘one to know what one doesn’t know’ in order to facilitate meaningful well-being practices. Financial Well-being – means making smart financial decisions; Emotional Well-being offers practical stress-management techniques around feelings and behaviours, tips on how to identify and calls to action; Social Well-being talks to building meaningful social connectedness in a remote world and fostering healthy relationships; lifestyle behaviour choices to ensure a balanced state of body, mind and spirit addresses the aspect of Physical Well-being and Intellectual Well-being focuses on developing positive self-mastery by promoting a growth mindset and owning one’s development journey. The point being, the more equipped one is the more likely better decisions will be made, effectively enabling the “I”.

We do this through education and awareness brought to life through townhalls, videos, conversations, literature, partnered sessions and storytelling. Where others have gone before, shining a light for those in need, where stories are shared and practical tools and techniques are showcased. Techniques such as practicing self-care – not necessarily an innate approach as it takes guidance, practice, discipline, and support. As an organisation, this is very much on our radar as ‘my mind matters’ focusing on mental health, is an engagement factor where we want to step up and offer help. We try to ensure all our education and awareness aspects are practical and simple, where every employee can choose how they engage with the information and content so it is a self-curated journey. Everyone is different and it gets tricky to personalise every initiative, but we try to capture their interest and create meaningful engagement.

Engaging with external partners that specialise in solidifying and transforming organisational culture has been an incredible value-add for Smollan. We have partnered with some amazing speakers and subject matter experts that help bring these crucial topics to life and provide hands on expertise and tools to support our employees’ well-being working towards building happier, healthier, more-fulfilled workforces for sustainable growth. By way of an example, Mindful Revolution have helped to support and embed a culture of mindfulness through 30-minute sessions for our employees every second Thursday, bringing mindful practices to life, conducting burnout surveys, and running inspirational talks. Our chosen partners have helped to create a cultural shift around our internal capabilities and the enablement thereof.

It is always a tough question to know when we as a business have gotten it right. I believe we will know if we have been successful if everyone has a consistently positive employee experience, where people feel that we care not only how they do their job, but how they do in life. Characterised in turn by a highly engaged, exceptional workforce where people want to stay, as it’s a great place to work. However, this is not a one-person job, or only the duty of a few, but the responsibility of an entire community that cares. Where well-being is not seen as a ‘thing we do’ or another initiative, but instead a natural part of every engagement we have with every employee in our business. From leaders, to teams, employees, and partners as we shift hearts and minds.

Maya Angelou, poet, and author said it best, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”