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Why employee & business wellness are inseparable, and what every organization should be doing about it.
It’s no secret that employee disengagement affects the bottom line of business. When staff are unhappy and burned out, ROIs are affected, insurance skyrockets, absenteeism grows, and health, safety, and quality issues increase. According to some studies, it is responsible for up to half of annual workforce turnover.
While more and more organizations are taking steps to address wellness as part of employee engagement strategies, many policies function as band-aid approaches, addressing symptoms rather than the true sources of toxicity within an organization.
To create actual change, every leader in the organization must be willing to have an accurate awareness of all levels of the business and implement practices that create health for all.
Here are 3 foundational practices all businesses need to apply to begin improving company and staff wellness from the top down:
Engage with all levels of the organization
If there is toxicity in your business, do you know where it is coming from and why without making assumptions or jumping to conclusions? Are you taking a personal interest in people, building rapport, and asking questions?
Disengagement doesn’t occur overnight, it occurs when warning signs are missed, dismissed, or avoided — most employees don’t speak up because they either fear the consequences or believe it’s futile because no one will listen anyway. Employee discontent in these conditions will spread like wildfire unless there is genuine interest in addressing issues and hearing ideas for how to change things. To have true awareness of what is going on, you have to be proactively willing to listen with impartial ears to all levels of the organization and be willing to find out what is working and what is not.
Provide genuine opportunities for collaboration, innovation, and employee contribution
The highest causes of employee disengagement and burnout center on being valued and making positive impact in ways that are important to the employee themselves — whether that is being seen and heard, using their creative talents, or having opportunities to stretch and grow in their career.
Does your organization provide an environment that values creative and innovative input from all employees — regardless of level or position? Are you leveraging the full talent and knowledge of your employees and giving them creative control, or is micromanagement more common?
Creating conversations and outlets for employees to engage across levels and departments not only increases business communication and awareness, it can break down inter-departmental barriers and generate open innovation, which is an essential element of business growth.
Lead by example
True leaders lead by authentic example. Do you prioritize health and wellness for yourself and your employees? Are you committed to your own growth, and to providing genuine opportunities for employees to do the same? Do you understand the importance of prioritizing the nurture and care of your body, your intellect, and creative outlets and do you put them to practice in your business for the benefit of all?
Authentic change starts with you. You cannot expect staff to do one thing while you do another — people always know when you are being disingenuous or only paying lip service to an idea.
Your organization can be a fertile environment for business growth, innovation and success, and it is the talent in the business that will get you there — starting with you and the choices you make. Commit to being engaged with the entire organization, to ignite creative, innovative and open communication; lead by genuinely embodying effective practices, and you will become a dynamic change agent that invites both employee and business health (and wealth) to thrive.