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What role can leaders and managers play in supporting connectivity and ultimately, wellbeing?
As teams become more siloed and digital exhaustion becomes a real threat to productivity, a line manager’s behaviour and the culture they create in their team is the biggest influence on an employee’s work experience. By improving their management capabilities, managers can improve their own wellbeing as well as that of their team.
Katie Bannon, said: “A good place for a business to start is by asking themselves if their managers feel comfortable having conversations with their teams about mental health.”
Alicia continued: “Back in April 2021, AVEVA launched our global “It’s OK not to be OK” initiative. Our senior leaders got involved sharing their own experiences of challenges during these unprecedented times. It landed really well across the business team and led to company-wide inclusive, compassionate and empowering storytelling.”
Having leaders confidently sharing their own experiences is only the start of an authentic and honest company wellbeing journey. Google spent years figuring this out. Leaders also need to ask and listen.
Katie added: “Regularly asking and listening to what and how your employees are feeling is a vital part of understanding exactly what is affecting their wellbeing and what they need from you to address it.”
“Polls and research don’t have to be time consuming and arduous, quick temperature checks - for example an email survey asking employees to give themselves a rating of between 1 - 7 on how they’re feeling - can help you gauge mood, sentiment and motivation throughout a business.”
“Think beyond just implementing the tools (such as collaborative communications tools like slack, teams or workplace) create content and support based on what your employees really want – whether that’s 10 minute mindfulness ideas, an employee radio station/ podcast or a more social space to have more genuine personal ‘water cooler’ moments - understand and tailor ideas to match your employees needs.”
Encouraging collaboration and connectivity throughout the business
The road to wellbeing isn’t just a one way street, however, and effective leadership is only part of the puzzle. Normalising wellbeing and making it a natural part of the day to day of doing business, empowers employees to prioritise their mental health and recognise where they need more support.
Alicia continues: “At AVEVA we’ve worked really hard to embed even more openness and honesty into our culture in how we talk to each other, how managers lead teams and how we treat each other. We’ve created new processes and ways of working to encourage awareness, human connectivity and wellbeing.”
For example, we have ‘meeting free Fridays’ - when formal meetings are effectively banned! We were all experiencing ‘Zoom fatigue’ at one point and instigating an invitation to our employees to go ‘meeting free’ on Fridays encouraged focus on their own workload, rather than having to turn up to endless Zoom calls. Of course employees still connect informally if they need to, but on Fridays we empower our teams to get through their workload before the weekend.
We also have our ‘walking meetings’ where we all commit to going for a walk during the meeting and talking on the phone, rather than being sedentary and sitting in front of a screen. As well as getting us outside and moving our bodies, we’ve noticed it’s also worked as a real leveller, with team members sharing stories of their walks, in turn encouraging the more social and human interaction you would traditionally get in an office setting.”
Our mental health weeks and mental first aid training are also positive initiatives we’re really proud of at AVEVA.”
How to embed the right level of employee support in our changing workplace
The webinar concluded with three key take-outs that can be actioned immediately:
1. “Keep it top of the agenda”
Make sure wellbeing stays on the corporate agenda – create an ‘Always On’ campaign paired with a quick and agile more emotive polling.
2. “Content is king and queen”
Centralise your resources, create good valuable content and optimise for inclusive accessibility: Create a Health and Wellbeing communications hub that focuses on enhancing the employee experience whether you are at home and at work.
3. “Make it safe and make it open”
Create an open culture which allows for consistent authentic two-way dialogue. Audit your digital and in person communications channels and create a plan that not only supports key milestone in Global wellbeing but allows for story sharing and active participation – leading by example is also really effective here – let your leaders share too.
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