Talent has now prioritised health over wealth and is searching out workplaces that support their sense of wellbeing.
What can you do to transform your workplace into a Healthy Place to Work?
Step 1. Understand & Measure using a ‘Salutogenic’ Model
The first step is to have a shared definition of Health. Many have a very narrow view. They feel ‘healthy’ is simply the opposite of ‘sick’, but that is not the case. Progressive organisations have a holistic and ‘salutogenic’ view of the factors that drive a person to be resilient and capable of delivering in a sustainable way. Leaders need to keep their finger on the pulse by measuring all the elements (www.healthyplacetowork.com) of a healthy workplace.
The ‘salutogenic’ word was first coined by Aaron Antonovsky, who studied people who had demonstrated extreme levels of resilience in the face of tremendous challenge. He discovered that a deep sense of coherence allows humans withstand immense amounts of stress making them extremely resilient. The workplace can be a busy and demanding environment, some aspects can have a negative effect on a person’s health (pathogenic), others can have a positive effect. (salutogenic). The key is to measure and monitor all those factors and respond by reducing the pathogenic factors and increase the ‘salutogenic’ aspects.
Step 2. Get the Leaders on board
Two statements in the Healthy Place to Work assessment process stand out. “Senior leaders at my organisation care about the wellbeing of employees and Senior leaders at my organisation demonstrate healthy behaviours”. Leaders have a significant impact on the workforce. If employees truly believe they care and authentically behave in a heathy manner, they will follow. Leaders need to show a passion for health, support with resources in an effort to move the dial.
Step 3. Move Workforce health from Tactical to Strategic
Most organisations have an ad-hoc, tick-box approach to employee health based on building awareness through programmes and events focused on reducing illness and absence. The ones that achieve ‘Healthy Place’ certification understand that workforce health is the biggest driver of organisational performance. They use data to support an evidence-based approach. They respond to presenting needs, culturally embedding and making systemic changes to support the development of a sustainable and resilient organisation.
Step 4. Move fast & focus on the biggest issues
One of the biggest mistakes happens when organisations launch a survey and respond slowly. Within one to two months of completing a survey a respondent should see change. They need to believe in the process. “You said we did” posters build confidence that their opinions were listened to and acted on. It means you will get a higher response rate next time as people see it as an effective process for change. Solve the biggest presenting issues. Many other issues may disappear if you deal with the problems causing most pain. Enjoy the result, more discretionary effort, greater agility, high productivity, increased creativity and collaboration and better all-round performance.
Health is the Answer
Attraction, retention, and performance will improve if employee health improves because it is intrinsically linked. It will be worth the effort every time.