Communication essentials: wellness

It’s hard to believe we have made it this far without talking about wellness. With offices opening back up and people wanting to return to work, this is definitely a topic that is popping up quite a bit.

Most of what I’m reading centers around the perks being offered to help ease the stress of work/life balance as well as how to return to the physical office. I featured one of these pieces in last week’s ‘ben thinking,’ mainly because it does such a nice job of reframing how companies should look at perks:

How COVID affected employee perks and what they will look like post pandemic.
Samantha Todd; Forbes. July 9, 2021

But as good as that article is … this is the one that led me to write about wellness today:

America’s workers are exhausted and burned out – and some employers are taking notice.
Soo Youn; The Washington Post. June 29, 2021

From a leadership perspective this comes back to – as it so often does – how are we leading by example? And what does that really mean?

As much as the articles have in common, they contrast on one point – resetting employee perks because that’s what employees want … v. companies making this the new way they will work. One is leaving it up to employees … one is telling employees this is how it is.

The latter is important because unless you put change into action, employees may not believe you really want them to take advantage of these kinds of perks and wellness programs. Here are three things to consider when choosing how you put wellness and mindfulness into action:

Transparency. Why are you putting these programs into place? Yes, there is an employee benefit – but what led to that? Explaining what you’ve learned and why you’re doing something may help an employee dealing with stress, burnout – or more – open up and accept what you’re offering.

Personalization. This isn’t a program that is there for employees. It’s a program that is there for the company. And you are part of that company. How are you taking advantage of these initiatives? See that first point again – maybe find a way to share, weekly or monthly what these programs are doing for you.

Invest. No, I’m not talking about the financial side of this. I’m talking about time, trust and listening. Your teams can’t see this as you’re offering a program because you have to … it is because you want to. You are invested in them – which means you need to not only encourage their participation but follow up and find out how they’re leveraging it (or why they’re not).

The biggest takeaway? Lead by example. Employees will have their eyes on you, seeing if you are participating – or judging. And as we’ve learned over the past year, they are looking to you to keep their best interests at heart.

Leadership has never been more challenging. Or more rewarding.