Discovery leadership masterclass series with Frank Adu ANIM & Genevieve Pearl Duncan OBUOBI (Dr): Work-life balance (II)

Leaders today understand that too much ego can be destructive and can have broad-ranging consequences for a team or a company.
Frank Adu ANIM & Dr. Genevieve Pearl Duncan OBUOBI (Dr)

……Leveraging the power of employee wellness and engagement for corporate advantage

The recent book launch by Dr. Genevieve Duncan Obuobi clamoured a topical discussion around the role of employers in promoting the wellbeing of employees through a secured and a well- framed policy guides and practices that meet its performance imperatives, employee expectations and wellbeing. Her book “The Diary of a Branch Manager” recounts the over 10 years of her experience in banking and what she thinks are the core-based expectations and responsibilities of the Branch manager.

Dr. Genevieve Duncan Obuobi used the occasion to challenge more researchers and especially DBA Scholars to research more into practical issues in various industries to help share knowledge and provide effectively guide in developing better strategies for resolving issues that halts industries, affects employee wellness for economic growth.

Coinciding with the book launch was the growing concern and emphasis that saw the need to initiate discussions for greater employee wellbeing, support and engagement through seminars, training sessions and policy draft for corporate organizations through Discovery Leadership’s Work-Life Balance Program under the key policies:

  1. Career Building, Goal Alignment and Orientation
  2. HealthCare and Fitness Planning
  3. Finance Management and Retirement Planning
  4. Work-Stress & Time Management Planning

Defining Employee Wellbeing:

Happiness and wellbeing are critical considerations to many employees due to its implications on their mental and physical health. Organizational scholars have been interested in job satisfaction and its related positive attitudes and experiences on the job and employee performance. To that effect, it considered that to discuss the issue of employee wellbeing at work is to focus on job satisfaction and all positive attitudes and effects that guarantee the engagement meaning, growth, motivation, quality, connections and the social support of the employee guaranteeing the equal satisfaction of the objectives of the organization.

The employee wellbeing describes the state of employees’ mental and physical health, resulting from dynamic within and sometimes outside the workplace. These include their relationships with colleagues, use of tools and resources, larger business decisions that impact them and their work and many other factors. To encourage employees to participate, the organization needs to inspire them with useful and engaging internal contents such as publishing a seasonal wellness announcement with helpful materials, share employee stories, promote wellbeing training sessions, and deliver free resources and other related contents to keep wellbeing on top of the employees’ minds.

Arguably, when people are in a state of wellbeing at work, they are able to develop their potential, be productive and creative, build positive relationships with others, better cope with stress and make meaningful contributions. Promoting employee wellbeing program and communicating its benefits build internal awareness. However, to ensure employee wellness programs are built to achieve the desired outcomes, effective internal communication to drive employee participation is a must. Employees equally need to understand the benefits of wellbeing for both them personally as well as the organization as a whole.

The conversation around employee wellbeing and the future of work remain a significant subject when employers begin to think about the employees’ duties, expectations, stress levels, working environments and the overall impacts on their health and happiness. The keynote issue is the need for organizations to understand that employee wellbeing encompasses much more than just physical health but for everything pertaining to their happiness, engagement, experience, satisfaction and future.

Meanwhile, it is noteworthy to admit that, companies have been struggling to embrace employee wellbeing in the workplace for want of the genuine concern for incapacity, lack of proper structure, foresight, inadequate resources, and misaligned priority and so on. Historically, wellbeing initiatives were considered as not so important, and not a priority for many employers. However, things are changing and these changing times are having a significant impact on employees’ wellbeing.

Therefore, the need to support wellbeing at work, build and maintain a workplace culture that makes employees feel safe and welcome to work their heart out means the organization must do more. When employee welfare programs or policies are well thought-out, embraced and effectively implemented, the rippling effects are lower incidences of employee burnout, financial stress and higher rates of engagement which lead to higher productivity effects.

Initiating Employee Wellness Program

According to Powell, employee wellbeing in the workplace is categorized into mental, physical and social factors. Though many companies demonstrate a commitment to the wellbeing of their employees, many do not have a formal structure and policy direction or plan for its implementation. This situation largely accounts for why they won’t start. To initiate an employee wellness program as an organization is to understand your employees’ fears, needs, wants, problems and concerns. Only when the organization can make sure that its programs will be efficient and effective in delivering the expected results can guarantee its impacts on employees.

Evidence based research equally suggests that, well planned employee wellbeing programs inure mutually exclusive benefits in higher engagement, improved productivity, higher job satisfaction, better company culture, higher retention, reduced health cost and absenteeism.

Empowering Employees through Engagement

Today, the workplace has become the primary sphere of social engagement. The workplace provides an opportunity to connect with others, build relationships and find common ground. This in view, supports and promote the assertion that, a collective social identity with employee reassurance through collective engagement guarantee a safer and judgment-free space for employees to be better. Such collaborative environment led by diverse leadership, can encourage employees to share their experience openly and find solutions together.

Empowering employees should include giving them greater flexibility and autonomy at work. It’s been proven that self-directed work teams display more engagement and helped improve the firm’s performance in growth and profitability. Hence, if organizations wish to give employees a greater sense of ownership and ensure retention of staff, they must adopt an outcome-oriented approach where the benefits of employee empowerment should be prioritized.

Though the lessons from the pandemic have been difficult to accommodate and adapt to, they will remain relevant in the post-Covid work world experience. Employees’ prosperity and wellbeing in the future work must exceed their potential in organizations that value them as people and not just a means to a profit end.

However, organizations must prioritize people and purpose over processes to create a workplace culture driven by empathy and focused on holistic employee well-being. However, organizations that continue to place employee well-being and experience at the forefront of their decisions are assured of remaining relevant and competitively advantageous going forward.

Initiating an Employee Wellness Program

That being said, as employers what measures would suggest the improvement of employee wellbeing at work? The obvious guide is to conduct a thorough research to understand employee needs and figure out how you can meet them. The guide to such research is to ask the questions to establish how the company’s benefits have contributed to employee work-life balance.

Much more, it’s important to find out whether employees overly feel stressed at their current work and why? What measures or benefits the organization suggests to use to improve wellbeing at work and the need to enhance, change or start a new policy remain fundamental issues to look at. The underpinning concern for employee wellbeing are normally consolidated by the organization having a work culture that prioritizes wellbeing.

Consequently, if employee wellbeing programs are prioritized and effective, employees feel valued and engaged and the resultant effect of this is impactful performance.

The Corporate Capital Advantage

It’s observed that, the growing importance of employee wellbeing has had a sudden impact on the transformational agenda of human capital management for many organizations and the need to pay attention to this area is crucial for determining the realization of the corporate vision. Even though it may not be easy to become an employee-centric company overnight and put the people first, these unprecedented times where employees are challenged by greater issues of stress, health and financially related dissatisfaction have shown that such approaches of not caring first for the employee is not an option anymore, it’s an absolute must.

Consequently, most employees increasingly want to work for a company whose values match their own. The employees desire to work for organizations whose values align with their own defines the future of work which is, employee wellbeing. The commitments around wellbeing, inclusion and flexibility underscore a belief that work is not where you go but what you do to deliver results. With this underscored facts, organizational leaders ought to lead with empathy, flexibility and openness to what works best for each individual, team and employees in general.

The assumption however is, the majority of factors that hinder employee wellbeing would hardly exist if organizations begin to invest in building effective organizational culture where greater leadership skills, structures, policies form the integral part of its philosophy. One thing remains obvious that, understanding employees’ boundaries and working habits and respecting their unique needs and motives grant the impetus for the organization to provide the best opportunities to them.

Supporting employee emotional wellbeing is believed to have profound effect on both worker and organizational performance. The psychological effects are that, as employers are taking note and creating new offerings to bring social experiences to workers as they continue to work, these are helping to deal with stressors and promoting social, community, emotional, financial, career and physical wellbeing.

That notwithstanding, the motivation that work should be a positive experience and not merely reinforced by monthly salary to keep up the good work, the more employees enjoy what they do and take pride in it and better deliver great results as compensation.

Discovery….Thinking solutions, shaping visions.

Frank is the CEO and Strategic Partner of AQUABEV Investment and Discovery Consulting Group. Dr.  Obuobi is the Lead Consultant on Cx. Leadership & SME, Country Chair, Ladies in Business)


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