People really are an organisation’s greatest asset – I know this to be true in our organisation. I have an exceptional team of talented creators, without whom we couldn’t do what we do! And moreover, as an eLearning provider, we know the importance of nurturing and encouraging professional and personal skills through learning experiences to get the very most out of your staff. Learning resources support individuals to learn how to be a better leader, how to give a kick ass presentation and how to hold a successful meeting. However, organisations tend to overlook, beyond those professional skills, actually nurturing and supporting the mental health and wellbeing of our staff, going beyond career-based performance and thinking about each individual as a whole person.
“Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.” – Anne M. Mulcahy
So, to ensure our teams are able to perform to the best of their ability and therefore maximising the productivity and success of an organisation as a whole, it’s essential that we prioritise the wellbeing and everyday health of our staff.
Mental ill-health is costing the economy a staggering estimated £99 billion each year. According to the CIPD report published in May, mental ill health is an even more significant issue for organisations than in previous years, with over a fifth now reporting that mental ill health is the primary cause of long-term absence in the workplace. There has also been an increase in the last 12 months of reported common mental health conditions, such as stress and depression.
So why is this the case? Well, employers are increasingly recognising mental health as a significant workplace issue, which is a fantastic step forward, and it’s encouraging to see that clearly there is an increased awareness and conversation around wellbeing more generally.
However, the levels of work-related stress and mental-health related absence are not improving, which the CIPD attribute to a stubborn implementation gap, between the aspiration of the organisation and the actual practice.
Also researching in the state of the UK’s mental health, Bauer Media and Mental Health First Aid England have recently delivered a petition to Downing Street, calling for a change in the law to give mental health equal importance to physical health in the workplace
The Where’s Your Head at? campaign survey revealed that:
- 86% of the men and women who responded agreed that mental health is one of the biggest challenges facing the country today and over a third (33%) of those people said they are more stressed now than they were a couple of years ago;
- 90% of the public say they still feel there is a taboo around discussing mental health;
- Over half (56%) of respondents said that if they had to take time off work due to stress/anxiety then they would tell their boss the truth, but this was lower for those living in London.
So how can employers be more proactive in how they support the health & wellbeing of their staff? Well, we can start by looking at how we can help to combat the root causes of mental ill health and commit to effective employee wellbeing strategies across the organisation to raise awareness and support of wellbeing at work. The positive effects of such a strategy can include lower sickness absence and presenteeism, better employee morale and increased engagement, as well as forging a healthier and more inclusive culture within the workplace.
“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. Take care of your employees and they will take care of your clients.” – Richard Branson
MicroLearn committed to supporting Workplace Wellbeing 18 months ago, when we first started developing our new Wellbeing content in collaboration with Liggy Webb. We made a commitment to creating content which went beyond workplace skills and focused on the individual, looking at ways to maximise Creativity, Empathy and Resilience at work.
So, why did we choose to work with Liggy?
Liggy is recognised as a leading authority in behavioural change and has worked as an international consultant for a wide range of organisations. She’s written a number of books, including a title on Resilience all about how to cope when everything around you keeps changing and has recently released new BiteSized books on Agility and how to avoid Burnout!
We first met Liggy through our work in the charity sector, and together have devised a dedicated series of resources which support learners in better understanding key areas of wellbeing. We add to this range every quarter, with the most recent course added to the library being Great Conversations, all about the importance of conversations in the workplace, techniques for starting a conversation and how a combination of active-listening, questioning techniques and confidence can help to make us great conversationalists.
With MicroLearn’s knowhow in developing accessible, engaging bite-sized resources and Liggy’s subject matter expertise, we’ve joined forces to make something which is really relevant and reachable by millions of learners – making these essential topics readily available, in the same way as traditional professional skills are promoted in the workplace.
One way to really prioritise Workplace Wellbeing is to make finding help and support as easy as possible. We’ve created our content library to offer reliable and effective resources to support individuals, content which goes beyond simply box ticking compliance or professional soft skills training, in order to put the power of knowledge and awareness of mental health in your learners’ hands. It’s a really good idea I think to consider creating a larger, company-wide campaign, to support workplace wellbeing regularly and positively. Make wellbeing something that is emphasised throughout the business, from the top down and work to create a culture through a series of regular activities and messaging, which aims to break down the walls and support all individuals to get the very best out of them.
One idea you could try is sharing a Weekly Wellbeing Wednesday – perhaps an email with an infographic attached about a different topic each week. Maybe you could follow this up with a forum where you can get staff talking about everything from Relationship Building, to Relaxation, and from Changing Behaviours through to Mindsets.
By opening up a conversation, both on and offline about Mental Health, self-care and emotional intelligence, you will be creating a more open and understanding working environment, with staff who are motivated, productive and healthy.
MicroLearn continue to add to the Wellbeing range with relevant topics to support our learners beyond just becoming great managers, first class presenters or top team workers, but actually to learn for themselves how to cope with challenges, thrive in change and manage their mental wellbeing to be the best versions of themselves.
“To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.” – Doug Conant, CEO of Campbell’s Soup