Few things impact company culture, productivity or profit in quite the same way as employee wellbeing. Your people are the lifeblood of your organisation, and with the right levels of care and support, they’re the best brand ambassadors you’ll ever have.
But how do you help your colleagues to really care for themselves?
As the old saying goes: “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” In other words, giving someone the tools, knowledge and circumstances to do something for themselves will always have the greatest impact.
People generally want to look after their mental health, but they don’t always know how to do it. Your role as an employer then is to nudge your employees into more mentally healthy behaviours, and to pave the way for their continued self-care.
Giving Employees the Power to Care for Themselves
1. Create a culture of permission
Introducing ‘wellbeing time’ is a really effective way to let your people know that it’s okay to spend time focusing on themselves. You might feel like your employees don’t need anyone’s permission to look after their health and wellbeing, but the ‘keep calm and carry on culture’ is so ingrained that a lot of people need exactly that. Giving your teams a set number of hours every week – specifically for their wellbeing – creates a culture of permission, and really encourages people to care for themselves. At BetterSpace, our people have four wellbeing hours a week to log against our six pillar methodology; they could happily take an hour’s nap, and log that against our sleep pillar!
2. Share anonymised data
If you implement wellbeing time in your organisation, measuring how people use that time not only gives you a fantastic insight into what’s important to your people, but offers you another tool for smashing the mental health stigma. Sharing anonymised data about how people choose to use their wellbeing time makes it far more acceptable for everyone in the organisation to prioritise their mental health, while normalising a whole host of wellbeing activities. Not everyone finds solace in the gym or meditation, and an insight into how other people find their peace can be very inspiring.
3. Make mental health part of the conversation
Creating an environment where people can openly share how they’re feeling, speak without fear of judgment, and be completely themselves is incredibly empowering. For that to happen, mental health and wellbeing have to be part of the everyday conversation, and not treated as taboo. Building this psychologically safe environment requires buy-in from your company’s most senior leaders, so encourage leaders to talk openly about stress, share lived experience of mental health, and put their hand up when they need support. Again, it’s all about creating a permission space for people to feel comfortable expressing their own needs, feelings, and challenges.
4. Give people access to quality wellbeing resources
Encouraging people to prioritise their own wellbeing is a great starting point, but if you really want to have an impact on the lives of your employees, you have to equip them with the tools they need to take care of themselves. Whether it’s access to counselling, paid gym memberships, social experiences, or physical wellbeing products – from books to sleep aids – giving your people a choice of wellbeing resources removes the financial risk they’d otherwise face when trying to find what works for them. At BetterSpace, our people have a personal budget to use against any of the wellbeing resources across our platform.
5. Signpost to support
Whether you implement a winning EAP (Employee Assistance Programme), create a library of self-help resources, or establish an army of wellbeing ambassadors, none of it will be effective if it’s sat in the background gathering dust. Your people need to know what’s available, and how they access it at any given time – meaning consistent communication is key. Use your internal comms channels to spread the word and then repeat, repeat, repeat. Send regular emails that spell out what support is available; pop an impossible-to-miss button on the company intranet; schedule reminders in your weekly team meetings – anything to ensure your people know where to come for support when they need it.
To find out how BetterSpace can help you to empower your people with employee-led wellbeing resources, get in touch with one of the team today, or book a free demo of our science-backed platform.