LeadersEdge blog
Insights for Shaping Tomorrow’s Leaders
Employee Wellbeing & Stress Management Best Practices
June 26, 2023

In last week’s blog, we provided some insights from Gallup's 2023 State of the Global Workplace Report. The study revealed there is still much work to do to address employee engagement and wellbeing in order to reduce the amount of stress and disengagement that organizations are experiencing globally.

As promised, this week, are providing some additional insights, best practices, and approaches to drive up employee engagement and reduce unnecessary stress for your most valuable resource – your people.

The most effective health and wellness programs are designed to alleviate stress and burnout and improve the overall wellbeing of employees. According to Workhuman, health and wellness programs also have the power to retain and attract talent. An impressive 67% percent of employees who work for organizations with wellness programs like their jobs more, and they are just as likely to recommend the company to others. Additionally, more than half of Gen Zers and millennials consider wellness programs important or extremely important when looking for a job.

While you can offer the most progressive health and wellness programs, if the company and leadership are not in sync on the messaging and promoting the use of such programs, the benefits and upside may not be realized.  

To be really effective, this effort requires a two-prong approach:

a) offer meaningful health and wellness programs that appeal to your employees, and
b) integrate health and wellness into how you work and operate as a team and as a company.

Integrate Wellness into the Way You Work & Operate

A recent Harvard Business Review article covered how creating a work environment decreases stress. When employees are constantly put under pressure caused by unrealistic workloads or deadlines or the lack of clear direction, it creates stress which triggers us to go into fight-or-flight mode. 

This is something that happens to our bodies when we feel threatened. The primal, more emotional, parts of our brains take over, and our ability to think long term, strategize, and innovate decreases. If we stay in this mode too long, eventually, we get burned out. In order to  counter this effect, you need to create a work environment that incorporates stress reduction habits and promotes wellness into the way you work and operate as a team and company.

To tackle stress management and combat burnout in the most effective manner, ensure you are delivering on the following best practices and approaches for your people:

  • Create a safe space for your people to challenge, ask questions in the most productive way so they feel heard and valued.
  • Partner with your people to ensure they are focused on the right priorities, so they utilize their time and energy more effectively.
  • Foster a culture of innovation and creativity by empowering people to fail fast and think outside of the box.
  • Give them the right training, tools, and support to do their job to the best of their ability.
  • Ensure you are providing the right level of support for every individual.
  • Build and nurture meaningful relationships and get to know your people as human beings.  Are they experiencing challenges that you need to be aware of so you can make the appropriate accommodations to help support them?  
  • Incorporate wellness breaks into your meetings, ensure for any meeting that goes beyond 60-minutes that you allow for a 5–10-minute break to recharge and refocus. Be mindful of the suggested start and end times for your meetings and time zone differences. 
  • Discuss and collaborate on work hours that will work best for the business and your employees’ overall needs, health, and wellbeing. Some roles may not allow for a lot of flexibility, but we need to offer some level of flexibility, or your people might look elsewhere.

We all have lives outside work and sometimes our personal lives can impact the quality of our work, so be there to support your people and their dedication and commitment will come back to you in droves. No one operates well under unhealthy levels of stress, and it is more likely to cause people to walk. Stress makes it difficult to think and perform at our best, and it definitely hinders creativity and innovation.  

There are other best practices that should be incorporated into our personal lives too, such as self-care which we have written about in previous articles and setting healthy boundaries, both personally and professionally.

There are endless amounts of articles and data that confirms the more engaged, satisfied and connected your people feel to the organization, the less stress they will feel as a result. In addition, the relationship they have with their direct manager will account for the majority of their job satisfaction.

Do not underestimate the impact you have on your people’s lives, and really think about whether you might be the reason they are feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Next week, we will build more on this topic, so stay tuned for some additional insights.

Alleviating Workplace Stress - For You, Too

What are your thoughts on employee wellbeing and stress management? How do you personally cope with stress at work? What best practices work for your organization? 

Stress affects everyone differently. If you need help fine-tuning your stress management initiatives, please get in touch.

You can email me at joanne.trotta@leadersedgeinc.ca or call me at 1.416.560.1806.

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