The Victorian lockdowns of 2021 have tested people’s resilience in new ways. To counter the ongoing threat of business disruption and worker exhaustion, it makes good business and social sense for workplaces to continue to instil a wellbeing culture.  Human flourishing is the experience of feeling good and having high psychological and social functioning. In the workplace, flourishing individuals experience positive emotions, are energised and motivated, find meaning in their work and function well socially by feeling a sense of belonging and wanting to help others. One of the most widely researched motivation and wellbeing theories is Basic Psychological Needs Theory (BPNT). BPNT proposes that all humans have three core psychological needs that must be satisfied in order to maintain wellbeing.

  1. Competence; feeling effective and experiencing mastery.
  2. Autonomy; functioning with volition and congruence with one’s interests and values.
  3. Relatedness; being socially connected, belonging, feeling cared for and giving to others.

Basic need satisfaction at work is linked to a number of desirable organisational outcomes including lower burnout, less stress, increased organisational commitment and proactive, innovative behaviours.

What can workplaces do to support their employees?

The quality of social context is important for BPNT. Behaviours displayed by people who are important to an individual in the workplace, support their competence, autonomy and satisfaction.

Relatedness.

Behaviours that support relatedness needs include enquiring about others’ feelings, actively listening and expressing empathy, taking another’s perspective, taking an authentic interest and care, enjoying companionship and taking opportunities to develop connections with others. Activities could include having a weekly 15-minute check-in with the team just to share one highlight from the weekend, or if you know a colleague lives alone you could call to discuss a work matter (rather than emailing), or making sure that the quiet person on the Zoom call is asked for their point of view or endorsement of a decision. While no one needs to ever own another person’s emotions, acknowledging and listening to someone’s feelings (without having to solve their problems!) is a very powerful way to enhance relatedness.

Competence.

Competence-supportive behaviours from leaders facilitate desired effects and mastery. This includes knowledge sharing, offering tasks that are challenging, yet achievable, providing structure and guidance, and providing informational feedback. People need to be regularly acknowledged for their adaptability in different work conditions including remote working. Informational feedback involves providing a clear explanation of what “done” looks like and acknowledging progress towards “done” before factually outlining gaps or work still to be completed. Scheduling regular checkpoints on progress are extra important during remote working when spontaneous face-to-face discussion and opportunities for questions no longer exist. Peer mentoring on skills as basic as online decluttering or running engaging Zoom sessions, or as complex as mastering the art of business development can support an individual’s need for competence.

Autonomy.

Autonomy-supportive behaviours from leaders include offering opportunities for choice and input, encouraging self-initiation, and encouraging staff to problem solve. Encouraging or acknowledging even small improvements and innovations in the workplace can be a great way to satisfy people’s need for autonomy. Giving staff problems to solve with the appropriate guidance and governance can too.

Any of these habits and behaviours will facilitate wellbeing during the good times. They are especially worth cultivating during times of struggle to lift or keep you and your teams at the level of flourishing.

Call Steople today to discuss the Wellbeing and Resilience needs of your team – contact us

How would you rate the wellbeing of your team members? Are you doing everything possible to care for their wellbeing as well as your own?

Psychological wellbeing is a key ingredient in any workplace. Research has consistently shown that when organisations invest in their employees’ wellbeing, they are more productive and innovative.

Increased creativity levels have also been shown to increase general wellbeing. In a study conducted at Otago University in New Zealand, 650 people said they felt a substantial increase in their wellbeing after taking part in a creative activity and they viewed their relationships with other people more positively. The research also indicated that creative outlets have lasting effects on wellbeing.

Wellbeing and creativity have a symbiotic relationship with each other, and both will increase simultaneously. So how do you encourage a culture of wellbeing and innovation within your workplace?

There are several steps you can take to immediately increase innovation and wellbeing. Among these are:

  1. Making time for brainstorming and reflection
  2. Being open to team members’ ideas
  3. Holding walking meetings to exercise while discussing work
  4. Building alternative workspaces with a change of scenery
  5. Encouraging breaks
  6. Fostering diversity
  7. Providing learning opportunities
  8. Creating trust and fostering psychological safety

Creating trust and fostering psychological safety are especially significant. Psychological safety is when employees feel safe expressing themselves without fear of embarrassment, rejection, or punishment. In 2016, Google analysed teams as part of their Aristotle Project to find the most optimal team composition. They analysed their own company using 50 years of team research for two years, and the top predictor of team performance (based on revenue) was psychological safety. Cultivating this is important to encourage the introduction of new ideas within your company and create high-performing teams who are not afraid to push the boundaries and elevate themselves to new heights.

There is a greater emphasis on personal mental health currently highlighted in the media, causing public awareness of this issue to be at an all-time high. Workplace health and safety is becoming increasingly legislated to protect employees. Competition in the employment market is making it harder than ever to keep the best team members. It is important to ensure that your workplace makes the necessary improvements to boost employee satisfaction. The best part is that none of these steps are too costly or too lengthy. In this case, less is more. By acting to address areas of improvement, your workforce will be more creative and more productive. To make your organisation the best that it can be, contact a PeopleScape wellbeing specialist today to teach both leaders and team members the key elements of wellbeing amid the intense demands of the workplace.

Discuss the return on investment from improved employee wellbeing with a PeopleScape Consultant today – Contact Us
By Audrey McGibbon, Co-Author, GLWS

“Is wellbeing a fad?”

We were asked this question recently and our instinctive response was “We hope not!”. Not given how much positive change we have seen come about through the recent focus on wellbeing. But, thinking more about it, it’s a fair question. Wellbeing/wellness programs and initiatives have popped up like mushrooms all over workplaces – and in some quarters, this could feel a little like ‘jumping on the bandwagon’. But our true response is a firm no – that like many other ‘themes’ of recent times (diversity, psychological safety, even engagement), wellbeing is an essential ingredient in creating a workplace culture where people do their best work, are creative and innovative, collaborate effectively and perform sustainably at a high level to meet organisational objectives.

There probably are people within organisations addressing wellbeing as a fad, perhaps implementing a few ‘lunch ‘n’ learns’, supporting a ‘get fit’ campaign and encouraging healthy eating at work. Nothing wrong with any of that, but they are unlikely to achieve lasting change in behaviour. Or, for that matter, any of the desirable outcomes from seeing a real uplift in wellbeing – such as reduced absenteeism, increased engagement, innovation and retention, and sustainable high productivity and performance. (If you are yet to be convinced that these are the outcomes that investment in wellbeing can bring, then please ask and we can guide you to the evidence). That’s because these programs, by and large, are not very ‘sticky’ – and, without fundamental shifts in how the leadership of the organisation engages with wellbeing, are doomed to under-achieve, if not fail.

For wellbeing to stick, and for organisations to see the benefits, it needs to be embedded in the expectations and behaviour of all leaders.

Wellbeing as a core leadership capability

We all know that initiatives in organisations have to be supported from the top to stand a chance of getting off the ground, surviving and achieving their objectives. With wellbeing, we would like to see this go one stage further – indeed, we believe this is fundamental to realising the cultural shifts required to truly embed wellbeing.

It’s time to view wellbeing as an essential leadership capability.

Organisations expect leaders to have well-developed skills in people leadership, emotional intelligence, stakeholder relationships, strategic thinking, problem-solving and so on. In this day and age, shouldn’t we also expect leaders to be capable of developing wellbeing?

And by developing wellbeing, we mean:

  1. Attending to their own self-care,
  2. Attending and promoting ‘other-care’ for the people they lead,
  3. And being champions of wellbeing across their organisations.

Here is our attempt at a fuller definition of ‘enabling wellbeing’, and we offer this up as a gift to stimulate your minds on what might work in your own organisation: “Making purposeful and well-informed choices to optimise wellbeing for self and others, role-modelling wellbeing as a priority, embedding reliable disciplines and influencing positive change in the system for others.”

How your organisation can enable Wellbeing

To make wellbeing an essential skill, it needs to be documented within your organisation’s frameworks and integrated into performance reviews.

We propose you:

  1. Update your organisation’s leadership capability framework to include wellbeing as a
    clear and explicit expectation.
  2. Redesign or augment your leadership development initiatives to include leaders’ development of this capability as a core component of every leadership development program, at all levels of leadership.
  3. Build engagement in your wellbeing strategy to a point where you can set wellbeing KPIs as part of every leader’s performance targets.
  4. And finally, evaluate performance and reward leaders for their success in enabling wellbeing. After all, what gets measured, gets done. The world is changing. Leaders are under more pressure to perform and respond to rapid organisational, social and technological change than ever before. The best of the best will understand, model and uphold positive wellbeing practices in the workplace.

Leaders who role-model and prioritise the wellbeing skills and behaviours taught to them will become an organisation’s most powerful enablers of improved employee wellbeing and all the possible benefits that come with it. But it’s only strong leadership, behavioural and cultural change driven by wellbeing data that will deliver.

Speak to a PeopleScape consultant about your Wellbeing strategy today