We're living in a world of uncertainty with constant change due to Covid, technological advancements and changes to the way that we work. There has been A LOT of talk about 'The Great Resignation' recently, and here at The People Place we’ve witnessed never-seen-before bidding wars over talent, numerous counteroffers far above the market-reported 'averages', and constant requests for pay rises. 

Why does wellbeing at work matter? A 2021 report by HR software company Employment Hero surveyed 1000 workers here in NZ and reported that 48 percent of workers are planning to change jobs in the next year. In addition to this, new data from the MyHR annual Salary and Employment report, shows that between April 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022, staff turnover increased to 58.2 percent. These figures, combined with an all-time low unemployment rate of 3.2 percent in the March 22 quarter, means now is the time that we need to look after our people, because they are the greatest resource we have!

Why wellbeing?

Wellbeing means 'having the tools, support and environments we need to be who we are and to build and sustain lives worth living'. It includes both physical and mental wellness, and requires constant practice. A large proportion of your workforce likely spend a large proportion of their lives working for you; their wellbeing is intrinsically linked with work and therefore it makes sense to try to support positive wellbeing. Employees with good wellbeing are generally happier, more engaged and productive. They stay with your business longer, leading to decreased turnover and therefore reduced recruitment costs and have fewer sick days. Healthy employees lead to healthy whānau, which leads to healthy communities and a lower cost to society. 

Wellbeing goals for an employer

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to wellbeing, or a singular one-off seminar that's going to provide a magic bullet. However, I do have some suggestions outlined below, that can make a difference in your workplace. 

  • Be a good human. It's often the basics that are missed but are easily rectified. This means talk to your people, know your people, look after your people!  
  • What do you and can you offer?  Provide a diverse and inclusive environment to work. Different viewpoints and an inclusive culture make better business sense, and it's the right thing to do.
  • Encourage flexibility. Focus on productivity and outputs rather than hours. Understand what your people want; some may prefer more days working from home, others prefer to be in the office. Consider a model for work that serves all. 
  • Walk the talk. This one’s invaluable. Your leaders should make wellbeing a priority, and make sure your employees know this too. It can give employees ‘permission’ to look after themselves. It helps everyone to do what’s needed to build and maintain wellness. Additionally demonstrate open and transparent communication as this will help to build a culture of high trust which is crucial when enhancing wellbeing and happiness at work. 
  • Help your people to build resilience. There are so many stressors that we may be facing before we even step foot in the office, or login to work for the day—whānau wellbeing, financial stress, relationship stressors. While stress is unavoidable in life, building the resilience to effectively respond to stress, challenges, and change, can help you manage this. Resilience hinges on giving people the opportunities to build the knowledge, skills, and capabilities to thrive at work, and these skills will transcend the workplace as well. Get in touch if some 'lunch and learn' sessions on resilience is something that would benefit your workplace. 
  • Consider tools that help. I heard Sir John Kirwan talk at the Virtual HR Wellness Summit in September 2021. He has released an amazing mental health app called Groov which aims to help people improve their daily habits to improve mental wellbeing using tools and techniques based on science. Check it out - it's free! If you're able to, provide an EAP programme in your workplace. This gives employees a ‘place’ to visit for support, a third-party to help them talk through anything they made need assistance with - whether in their personal life, or at home. 
  • Invest in your leaders. In his book 'Leadership Gold', John Maxwell said people quit people, not companies. People leaders have a huge influence on whether your people are happy, well, and therefore productive at work. Investing in your people leaders so they are effective, positive, and respected leaders will of course pay off for them individually, as well as through the teams that they lead.
  • Be legally above board! And if all of that isn't enough, as a reminder, you must also meet the legal requirements of being a responsible employer. WorkSafe expects PCBUs to identify mental health risks and eliminate them so far as reasonably practicable. If the risk cannot be eliminated it should be minimised. This includes work-related mental health risks. We recommend that businesses have a Health Safety Management Plan and a Wellbeing Policy in order to ensure you support a mentally healthy workplace.

At the end of the day, even with the best tools and policies in place, you need to live and breathe your values. According to a Deloitte US Workplace Burnout Survey, 77% of people experienced burnout at their current job and 69% of employees felt that their employers weren't doing enough to prevent or alleviate burnout. If, in your business, you're not walking the talk, prioritising ineffectively, or settling unrealistic deliverables, then in this current climate, you're at risk of losing the great talent you have. 

Taking into account the world today, it’s probably self-evident that your number one business priority should be to focus on your people. The saying "look after your people, and your people will look after your business" has never been truer! He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. What is the most important thing in this world? It is people, it is people, it is people. 

Want help with Wellness?

We can help you design and implement simple, effective wellness strategies for your business that will make an impact to your people's experience at work. Give us a call on +64 9 300 7224 if you'd like to chat.