Wellbeing that works

When we talk about wellbeing we don’t always mean the same thing.

For some it is about fitness. For others it’s about mental health.  For others, it is simply about physical health (the absence of disease).

There are so many lenses through which we can view a topic as broad as this; physical, psychological, nutritional, financial, social.

The World Health Organisation defines wellbeing as: Wellbeing is where each individual realises their own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to their community. 

Other ideas about wellbeing talk of thriving, flourishing or being your best self.  Some talk simply of happiness. 

When it comes to wellbeing in the workplace, different perspectives are taken.  Some organisations focus on managing absence and ill-health.  Others want to improve wellbeing to increase productivity.  Others consider it as part of their employer brand or corporate social responsibility.  

Whatever the overall aim or approach, there are three parties in the workplace wellbeing relationship; employees, managers and the organisation itself. 

The organisation is responsible for the strategy, plan, culture and resources.

The manager is responsible for enabling wellbeing within their own team, having wellbeing conversations, tackling behaviour likely to negatively impact upon wellbeing – as well as doing the managing ill-health stuff. 

The individual employee is responsible for their own wellbeing and what they choose to do to support it.

For wellbeing in the workplace to really deliver, all three roles need to be considered and addressed.

·         The development by the organisation of an overall strategy for employee wellbeing, with an operational plan to deliver it and budgets and resources allocated.

·         Managers trained in their role within wellbeing, capable of spotting the signs that something is wrong, able to have effective wellbeing conversations and understand how their role is capable of enabling or negatively impacting the wellbeing of others.

·         Both manager and organisation can provide permission – they can influence the organisational culture. 

·         Finally, employees who are enabled to focus on their wellbeing, can maximise the offering of the organisation and can raise areas of concern without fear. 

An approach that fails to take into account all three parties to wellbeing at work, won’t work.  You may be able to make small improvements but they will not have the potential impact of a holistic approach.   

For wellbeing that works, all three players must part of the game.

Small Numbers; Big Impact

There are some employment policies that don’t have a big impact.  Not in terms of numbers of employees impacted, at least.

But to a small handful of people, these policies make all the difference in the world. 

Let me give you a few examples:

Fertility Treatment Policies. 

Domestic Violence Policies. 

Premature Birth. 

Cancer.  

Menopause.

Carers. 

Even if you employ hundreds of people, these policies might only see the light of day every once in a while.  A few times a year perhaps. 

You can get by without them.  Deal with these situations as and when they arise.  Do what feels like the right thing to do as and when.  It’s doubtful that an employment tribunal will criticise you.  There’s no ACAS Code of Practice to fall foul of. 

There’s often a desire not to have too many policies.  Let’s face it, in most organisations there’s often already plenty to read and keep up to date with. 

But there are reasons to have these policies all the same.  Some of your employees won’t ask questions or raise an issue for a whole variety of reasons from being embarrassed to worry about stigma or implications for their career.  Knowing that you have a policy gives them permission to do so.  Having a policy also gives your managers a framework within which to work; it gives them clarity on what to do when challenging issues arise.  Having a policy can provide information to your people at what could be some of the most difficult times of their lives.  These policies also set a tone for those that never need to use them: that your organisation cares. 

Like any policy, they don’t have to be long or overly complex. You don’t need to get people to sign them.  You don’t have to cover everyone in your induction or your company handbook. You can just have them, let people know that they are there if they need them, use them when you have to.

Small policy changes, small numbers of employees…….but big impact. 

PS. We write these sort of policies.  Just ask us for help. 

Candidate Experience – what, why, how?

Remember the saying that you only have one opportunity to make a first impression? Your recruitment process is your first impression. The candidate experience is everything that happens between a potential new recruit engaging with your organisation in a way that leads to them becoming a candidate (most often, seeing a job advertisement) through to the conclusion of the process. For some, this might be the day that they join your organisation as an employee. For others, it will be the point at which you conclude their application with a thank you but no thanks communication. 

Candidate experience includes your employer brand; the external perception of your organisation as a place to work. It encompasses all of the processes, from application forms to psychometric tests to the interview itself. Each and every communication and interaction. At its most simple, candidate experience is the way that you make people feel during recruitment and selection. 

Why is candidate experience so important? There are several reasons. 

Firstly, candidate experience is about your company reputation. In an age of increasing transparency, candidates, successful or otherwise, will share their experiences on review sites, or simply talk about it on social media. Today, most candidates don’t just respond to a job advert and then head off to an interview when offered. They will peruse employer review sites, they will check out the social media feeds – they will do their research way beyond the corporate website. They will form an opinion of an organisation from this vast array of data – and the interview process will either confirm or deny those first impressions. 

Of course, for many organisations, job applicants may also be consumers, linking inextricably the consumer brand and the employer brand. Even unsuccessful candidates can be an advocate for your brand if you provide them with the right kind of experience.  

But it’s not just about reputation. It’s also about engaging talent in a competitive market. The second reason why candidate experience is so

important is that, for the successful applicant, the candidate experience is the start of the employee engagement process. The experience of the recruitment and selection process is a window into your organisational culture; its overall experience provides an insight to an applicant on what it will be like to work for you every day, should they accept. A poor candidate experience may directly impact on whether someone chooses to accept or reject a job offer. When they do accept, the steps before their actual start date can either reaffirm that decision – or call it into question. Put simply, poor candidate experience is a missed opportunity for businesses.

Finally – providing a good candidate experience is the right thing to do. Can you remember the last time you were looking for work? Talk to many people and they will describe job hunting as a fairly miserable experience. Unanswered applications. Ignored requests for feedback. Ghosting. All too often, the effort required of a candidate is vastly disproportionate to the time taken to consider their application.  How you treat your job applicants says much about you as an organisation. Where people take the time and trouble to apply for a role with your organisation, so too should the organisation take the time and trouble to make this a human and fair process, with the experience of the candidate right at its heart. 

Recruitment is too important for it to be undertaken poorly. It’s time to focus on the candidate.

You can download a copy of our book on Candidate Experience with a free 30-day trial here.