Putting wellbeing to work

Proven strategies with measurable outcomes

It’s time to see wellbeing as integral to performance – to recognise the health and wellbeing of employees as key factors in the health and success of a business or organisation.

Wellbeing in the workplace is the bedrock of performance.

Whatever business objectives or achievement targets you’re aiming for, putting people first is key.

Over the last 30 years I’ve dedicated my working life to helping improve the wellbeing of others – as a health practitioner, teacher, lecturer and researcher. My experience has shown that when wellbeing breaks down, everything is profoundly affected. Personally and professionally.

More and more organisations are beginning to accept and capitalise on this simple truth. Caring for your employees isn’t ‘pink and fluffy’. It’s critical to performance and productivity. It’s pivotal to maintaining the quality of relationships between teams and clients, customers or patients. It’s an investment with untold rewards.

59% of businesses worldwide cite improving performance and productivity as their top objective for supporting employee wellbeing

Xerox 2016

What can you do to put wellbeing centre stage in your organisation?

Team building, leadership programmes, CPD… Most organisations are already familiar with a range of activities that fall under the wellbeing umbrella. But almost always one essential ingredient is missing.

Imagine trying to change something that cries out for change by focusing on one end of the problem and ignoring everything else. Compare that approach with one that not only examines the problem, but explores how and why it became a problem in the first place, then dares to ask what needs to happen to support and contribute to a sea change in outcome.

The wide-reaching benefits of wellbeing in the workplace can be enjoyed by all only when leadership is fully committed and actively involved in the change process. Often this calls for a rethink in priorities and a deliberate shift away from ticking boxes and crunching numbers.

The Sweet Potato Consultancy works with leaders to create a culture of wellbeing through a bespoke whole-organisational strategic approach.

Building on strengths.

The most common way people set out to change something is to seek a response to a problem by asking what’s wrong? The Sweet Potato Consultancy prefers to ask what’s right? This helps identify existing strengths and often paves the way to turn a problem into an opportunity.

Only then can we move on to designing and implementing a strategy that not only meets the needs of the business or organisation, but makes best use of your team and resources.

Top-down, bottom-up.

Fundamental to the development of an effective Wellbeing in the Workplace strategy is that it’s both top-down and bottom-up. It reaches out to everyone in the organisation who plays a part, directly or indirectly. From senior decision-makers to grassroots front-line staff.

Only in this way, can you achieve a sustainable culture change that everyone owns and is committed to live by.

“A culture is strong when people work with each other for each other. A culture is weak when people work against each other for themselves.”

Simon Sinek – Motivational speaker and author of Start With Why

What could your Wellbeing in the Workplace programme include?

A cornerstone of the way The Sweet Potato Consultancy works is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Every organisation is different – a product of its people, policies and past. You may even be unclear about exactly what needs to change, simply sensing something isn’t right and a new course of action is needed.

This is why The Sweet Potato Consultancy will work with you or your leadership team to create a bespoke programme. Central to this will be a clear, actionable strategy with defined objectives, plus ongoing support, change monitoring and follow-up.

Every Wellbeing in the Workplace programme is different and will depend on your organisation’s needs and goals. It may include:

  • Specific development skills, training and coaching for leaders and managers
  • Identifying, measuring and improving individual and team motivation
  • Training for staff
  • Coaching for individual or team mental performance and wellbeing
  • Team building

Employer wellness programmes are a cost-effective way of improving workplace health and wellbeing and reducing staff absence.

Braun et al 2014

If it’s not proven, we won’t use it.

With the recent growth in coaching and business consultancy services, there’s now a plethora of programmes and tools to call upon.

While some of these are geared towards health and wellbeing, others are new takes on conventional methodologies, such as personality or strengths analysis. Most have their place, but The Sweet Potato Consultancy has a strict selection criteria.

Any approach I include in your recommended strategy must have a consistent track record of positive results and be backed by research.

This underpins the entire philosophy of The Sweet Potato Consultancy.

Lack of job satisfaction has clear links with mental health and psychological issues leading to burnout.

Faragher et al 2005

Compassion in practice.

Can you teach people whose job is caring for others to take better care of themselves in the workplace? And if so, could this help reduce attrition rates among newly trained healthcare professionals?

These were among the questions we sought to answer in The Compassion Project, a research programme designed to measure the impact of adopting a more compassionate approach to oneself, colleagues and patients.

The answer is a resounding yes. And the implications for every leader in every industry are huge. The individuals in our study showed a measurable reduction in stress, and early indicators suggest they are less likely to suffer burnout or leave their posts.

In today’s target-driven work environment, it’s all too easy to lose sight of the obvious. There are people behind every piece of data. Any organisation that forgets this is setting itself up for failure. Overlook the health and wellbeing of your staff and performance suffers.

But make the health and wellbeing of your people a priority and you immediately increase the likelihood of achieving your goals – and retaining your team.

Employers have a responsibility to maintain a healthy workplace and maintain workplace wellbeing.

DDA 1995, Equality Act 2010