Best practice: promote health and wellbeing initiatives

by 05 Dec 2011

Promoting wellbeing in the workplace and fostering a culture of understanding has well documented benefits for the business bottom line, namely by getting the best from employees, but according to workplace psychology experts effective management remains lacking in this area.

The APS College of Organisational Psychologists – whose members are experts in the science of people at work – have developed a guide to assist employers with specific strategies to promote corporate wellness.

Build an ongoing feedback loop

  • Take time to have regular, informal conversations with each member of your team on how they’re performing. Regular feedback (rather than an ‘annual review‘) is more likely to engage your employees to do their best and will recognise their contributions.
     
  • This practice will make them feel valued and help highlight any areas for development as they arise.

Enhance the meaningfulness of the work

  • It is important for your employees to feel connected with the larger purpose of the organisation.
     
  • Having regular conversations about how individual roles contribute towards driving the overall direction of the organisation can often help your employees feel more connected and valued in what they do.

Provide role clarity

  • A key source of workplace stress is often a lack of clarity around the roles of various employees. It is important to ensure that employees have regular opportunities to discuss their tasks and what is expected of them.
     
  • Having regular discussions about goals can also help to identify the best ways to support employees to reach these goals (i.e. identify need for additional training or development, coaching, mentoring, etc).

Encourage trusting and respectful communications

  • When having a sensitive conversation with any employee, ensure that this is held in a separate space that provides privacy and respect.
     
  • This way you can communicate appropriate concerns, support wellbeing and demonstrate your capacity to listen and offer considered responses.

Set the standard

  • If you witness behaviour or a conversation that is inappropriate, make the time to intervene promptly.
     
  • It can sometimes be helpful to address the standards of acceptable behaviour (or language) by sharing examples of how it could negatively impact on the wellbeing of others.

Acknowledge good work and practices

  • Be ready to acknowledge and recognise instances of good performance, outstanding team efforts and innovative ideas as you are to respond to negative elements of employees’ behaviour or performance.

Offer support through organisational resources

  • Do not hesitate to draw on organisational resources available to help employees manage their stress and wellbeing at work, such as flexibility, work-life balance policy, OH&S policies and procedures or Peer Support, Mentoring or Employee Assistance Programs.
     
  • Communicate about how they might utilise these policies and programs to help manage their wellbeing.

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