Over the past 25 years, companies have made considerable improvements in workplace safety, sustainability, and environmental stewardship, yet employee well-being is still barely discussed, let alone measured.
I recently picked up a copy of Jeffrey Pfeffer’s new book, Dying for a Paycheck and almost jumped for joy when I read, right there in the introduction, the following question: “What about social sustainability?” Yes! It was so encouraging to see someone digging into this topic finally.
Pfeffer reports that more than 80% of workers believe that their employers don’t care about them. What kind of effect do you think that has on physical and mental health, turnover rate, and productivity levels at work? I’ll tell you: it’s not positive. But, there’s good news on the horizon.
Change Is Already Happening
In their book, Everybody Matters, authors Bob Chapman and Raj Sisodia suggest that leaders should focus on creating organizations where everyone cares, altruism is rewarded, and employee well-being is a primary concern. Many companies are already embracing this approach.
One Boulder-based organization has implemented “Flexible Fridays.” They pay all employees for working full-time schedules but don’t expect them to come in every Friday. Instead, one employee per department is on-call each week, while the rest of the team will occasionally check email and voicemail.
There has also been an increase in the number of companies operating virtually, making use of technology to connect regularly through meetings and virtual coffees. This way of working allows companies to recruit the best talent because geography is not a factor, and employees to live in their preferred environment without sacrificing job opportunities.
Great Leadership Makes All the Difference
The data is in, folks, and it’s showing that if you want to inspire greatness and create an office culture that is about more than just hours worked, you’ve got to show up for your employees. Here are a few easy ways to get started.
- Promote good health by developing a “people strategy” that includes employee well-being as a critical component of your overall business model.
- Provide your managers with mental health training. Teach them how to recognize depression, burn-out, and other mental health issues.
- Ask questions! Talk to your team members regularly. Ask them to describe any obstacles they encounter and ask them how you can help. Then FOLLOW THROUGH on your promises.
- Recognize and actively support milestone days in your employees’ lives. Make sure that your employees leave work on time for birthdays, holidays and anniversaries.
- Adopt a philosophy of “first do no harm.” Ask yourself how you are contributing to your employees’ wellness or lack thereof. And be honest with your answer.
If nothing else, working this way will have a positive effect on your bottom line, and may even change the way your employees perceive you.
Are you interested in becoming the kind of leader who empowers, protects and inspires? Then let’s talk.