After reading Peter Kirk’s thoughts on “Finding the right balance” I was inspired by his point about wellbeing and in particular, the wellbeing of our staff. I wanted to highlight this point and how important it is to the growth of a business. It is no secret that obtaining growth and sustainability comes with some investment, and a very important investment, that I believe is often overlooked, is the investment into the wellbeing of your team.
A ‘replaceable’ attitude
A common mistake for the traditional business owner is to see their employees as something easy to replace. They also see “wellbeing” as a parameter unworthy to be accounted in a world where cost efficiency is everything. However, adopting this attitude can only lead to stagnation of growth or even failure.
If you look at the successful companies of today; Virgin, Google, Apple, LinkedIn, and Airbnb, you will see that they have placed employee wellbeing at the forefront for growth. We all know the famous words of Richard Branson, “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients”.
Start looking at your employees differently. Invest the time to get to know them and determine what value you can add to their wellbeing. The productivity and drive to succeed in their role will follow.
Don’t ignore obvious triggers of employee retention and satisfaction
The human element of success is definitely one that needs to be explored from all possible angles. Humans are unique creatures and we are far from being robots in a factory line. There are many variables at play when it comes to human behaviour.
Multiple studies reveal that well beyond half of employees, in general, are disengaged with their place of employment. To put it in other words, they do their jobs for the direct financial benefit, with little to no respect paid to other driving motivational factors to work. This is the direct result of employers failing to understand that they are not just hiring some professionals and that they are hiring complex individuals, each one having a sensitive and unique internal mechanism. If you have a little time on your hands or are interested in starting your own quest for knowledge in this area, here is a great paper by Cynthia D. Fisher titled ‘Happiness at work’. It is quite extensive so be sure to grab a coffee first.
Your strategy should start with you
In our society, wellbeing at a job equals earning enough money to have the lifestyle you want. However, failing to admit that there are other driving factors involved can only lead to a burnout or to a crisis of purpose. With almost half of the day spent working, commuting to work, or just preparing for work, job satisfaction and wellbeing are crucial. Business owners need to develop a strategy to avoid having their team feel like they are doing something they consider pointless, boring, or simply hate. Some business owners don’t realise that they could be adding to the cause by failing to motivate, support, and engage their workforce.
Growth requires a certain momentum of repeated positive actions which are fueled by enthusiasm, satisfaction, and full commitment. These building blocks need to become the pillars of your employee wellbeing strategy. Equip yourself or your managers with the right tools and training so that you are able to spot the kind of energy that dominates the workplace environment and take active measures to push things in the right direction.
Take care of your employees and they’ll take care of your business
This one sentence resumes all there is to know about employee wellbeing and why you, as a business owner, need to give it a serious thought. Zooming in at the smaller components often reveals a reality that is hidden from the untrained or blinded eye. You can easily call it the chemistry of a business, the basic set of relations that kinks in success and satisfaction. Any business that targets the sky should learn to take care of its smallest cog.