Work Culture Importance

There is a growing awareness of the impact well being can have on individuals, businesses, the economy and society.It has been observed through surveys that there is a growing interest from the investment community in wellbeing as a leading indicator of financial performance and market value too.It has been concluded through that organisations with effective wellbeing programmes outperform the market.

Wellbeing includes people’s physical and mental health and the social/relationship aspects of their work environment. It is a key driver of engagement so it also turns out that the employee wellbeing programme is beneficial for both the business as well as maintaining the sanctity of the individual. But to be effective, wellbeing doesn’t always mean spending money. Recognising people as individuals, showing appreciation and trusting people by providing flexible working are no-cost ways of addressing work-life balance.

Organisational culture is critical to wellbeing since a culture where people feel trusted, valued and respected will in itself engender feelings of wellbeing. Organisations where the culture is poor are more likely to suffer lower levels of wellbeing so, whilst wellbeing programmes are important, they will be less effective if the organisation’s culture is poor.

  • What is Wellbeing?

Wellbeing goes beyond just ‘wellness’ and important as that is, it’s a complex blend of the physical, psychological, social and relationship aspects of the working lives of employees. It includes factors such as their working environment and how they get on with their manager and colleagues.. Nowadays there is an increased societal awareness of the non-financial aspects of wellbeing or ‘happiness’ and the impact this wellbeing has on engagement. A number of government initiatives have been launched to try and tackle the growing issue of the effect poor working environments have on the lives of the employees and the cost to the economy through lost working days and increased sickness payments.

  • How can wellbeing at work be improved?

Employers have the potential to influence the wellbeing of their staff. There is no 'one size fits all' but where employers are able to raise well being in their workforce, they are also likely to see improvements in the performance of their workplace.There will be different factors that influence wellbeing at an individual level. A research suggests that employers who are able to focus effort on a number of these areas should be able to increase wellbeing. Primary factors that influence wellbeing in a work environment are as follows:

  • Involvement in organisational decision-making can also be beneficial.Good communication and consultation is an element of this, as is having a 'voice' at work, whether through unions or more direct forms of involvement.
  • Variety in the work employees undertake, can be addressed through job design.
  • Staff to respond positively to a sense that their job has significance within the workplace, as well as the perceived value of the job to society.
  • Clarity on what is expected out of the staff, including feedback on performance, which could be addressed through a combination of effective induction, clear terms and conditions and a regular appraisal process.
  • Supportive supervision, which may be addressed through ensuring that line-managers are adequately trained and an environment in which co-workers offer support can also be positive.
  • Benefits from positive interpersonal contact with other people. This includes contact with managers and co-workers, as well as with customers or the general public.
  • Opportunities for employees to use and develop their skills, which could be through training on and off the job, and/or by increasing the variety of work they undertake.
  • A sense of physical security is important for employees, including the safety of work practices, the adequacy of equipment and the pleasantness of the work environment.
  • A sense of job security and clear career prospects both help increase wellbeing.
  • Staff responds well to the perception of fairness in the workplace,not only in terms of how the employee is treated but also how they see their co-workers being treated. Negative behaviour such as bullying can be damaging to well being - be it from co-workers, customers or managers. Effective use of procedures for responding to bullying coupled with disciplinary and grievance procedures where needed would be one way for employers to address this.
  • Higher pay was also registered as a strong positive motivator. However, this relationship depends not only on the absolute level of pay but how this compares with pay of other workers.

Alongside these factors which can boost wellbeing, research also shows that when the demands of a job are particularly high, this can reduce wellbeing. It was noted that job demands resulted not only from the amount of work a member of staff was undertaking, but also from the level of compatibility with pressures outside of work. One means of addressing this would be by consideration of opportunities to undertake flexible working.

A key thread that runs through many of these factors is ensuring good, open communication with employees. Unions and employee representatives can be helpful in involving employees in decision making, especially in combination with good leadership and line management.A well looked after team leads to a happy work environment and optimum productivity. Having achieved all that, there is just no looking back!

“ Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t”