Employee wellbeing is an all-encompassing term covering a wide range of ideas and facilities that are centred on the wellbeing of your staff. Employee Wellbeing is about more than physically wellbeing. Ongoing research suggests that physical, social and psychological wellbeing are closely interlinked, and that sickness absence is often a symptom of work stress and/or low engagement.
Work organisation, job design, management practices and communication are key to a healthy work environment and in preventing work-related and non-work related health issues from developing or worsening. CIPD have a wellbeing hub where you can find plenty of resources and inspiration to help take a more holistic approach to health and wellbeing.
Key areas you may wish to focus on are:
1. Health, safety and welfare
Policy: Ensure the physical working environment is a safe and healthy place to work in. You should have you have an up to date Health and Safety policy in place. Useful guidance on how to write this can be found on the HSE website.
Work Station Assessment: Undertake work station risk assessments and assess hazard risks such as slips, trips and falls. Useful HSE guidance and templates can be found at www.hse.gov.uk/risk. Think about what temperatures in the working environment are reasonable. Advise staff not to sit still for too long, or spend too much time looking at a screen and to take regular breaks. This will promote good health but also decreases accidents and mistakes. Always promote positive relationships. Deal with any issues quickly rather than avoid them e.g. stress, bullying.
Occupational Health and EAP: You may wish to consider how you could use resources such as Occupational Health services and/or an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP).There are many providers available, further guidance about providers is available from the Human Resources team.
2. Good job design and fit
Job description: Ensure all those working with you have an up to date job description and person specification (a useful guidance job description template can be found in our recruitment article).
Contract: Ensure you have signed contracts of employment in place within 28 days of an employee commencing work. This is a legal requirement as well as being best practice.
Performance and Development: Put in place regular performance appraisal reviews and try to offer access to training and development. A template for this can be found at the bottom of this page.
Engagement: Where possible get employees involved to give them the feeling that they are part of the parish’s success. Areas for involvement could be goal setting, strategic planning and suggestions for improving work methods and working conditions.
3. Flexible working
Flexible working has evolved to become the norm. Many workers want a better work life balance and this means flexibility over their time and the space they work in. Where you can, you may wish to capitalise on any requests for flexible working and make these into a win-win situation. Flexible working often leads to a happier more productive member of staff and optimisation of resources (such as computers and desks) through for example working from home and hot-desking.
A template Flexible Working Policy is available from the Human Resources Team. This includes how a member of staff should go about requesting any changes to their working pattern, hours or location, and how you may like to respond, once you have given their request proper thought and analysis.
4. Leading and managing
Good management can make a huge difference to all staff. This naturally drives up performance, while engaging staff and helping them continuous improve. Some good management skills and traits are as follows:
- Setting clear goals: should try to clearly imagine the future the parish desires. Plan and prioritize activities in line with parish aims, this will create good focus for yourself and others.
- Leadership and persuasion skills: use these to take others with you and create the required buy-in into any goals and the direction you have set.
- Showing empathy and creating trust: empathy is the ability to mutually understand feelings of the people around us. Acknowledge personal accomplishments, birthdays, anniversaries and other positive life changes. An empathetic manager is able to create trust.
- Delegating work: let employees get on with their jobs but set a clear direction and expectations. Don’t micro manage or be too controlling – it’s a fine balance.
- Data analysis: make fact-based decisions. Informed decision making requires you to understand data and use metrics and put this information in context.
- Decision-making skills: try not to put key decisions off or move responsibility for them to others, unless you have a good reason. It is also important that you continually try to improve the quality of your decision-making by supporting decisions with the best available evidence.
- Performance management and coaching skills: give back by providing constructive feedback and supporting others in their personal and professional development.
Effective communication can take many forms and is essential for building positive working relationships. Face-to-face verbal communication is often considered the most effective and preferred by employees. However, written communication including, reports and emails are often more suitable when the information is detailed and complex.
Great communication is a product of planning. When putting together your message the following may be useful to consider:
- Know your audience: think about what people need to hear, and how to deliver your message so that people will be able to understand it.
- Body language: track reactions to your message then tailor your message in delivery and adjust your communication style as necessary.
- Speak to groups as individuals: try to make every single person in your audience feel as if they are being spoken to directly. Try to look at everyone as you speak.
- Listen and solicit feedback: actively listen and focus on understanding others perspectives. Check your message has been understood never assume the message you intended has been heard.
- Be authentic: admit any mistakes quickly. When you can’t share certain information, let staff know, this builds trust. Ambiguity often breed distrust and anxiety.
- Be proactive: be quick to head off rumours by sharing news good or bad in a timely manner. Remember in a vacuum of information people can often jump to the wrong conclusions.
6. Employee Wellbeing Activities
Many of these don’t cost a lot of money and there are lots of ideas available, however, whatever activities you do undertake consult staff to find out what they really want and what they think will improve their working environment and wellbeing.
Healthy initiatives and activities could include social and group activities e.g. choir, running club, exercise classes, meditation, Christmas lunch, Summer gatherings, wellbeing days. You could promote fitness, better eating habits, cutting sugar and salt down within diet, giving blood, giving up smoking (NHS guidance can be found at www.nhs.uk) and reducing alcohol intake.