Long hours & pressure-cooker culture
At organisations with a top-down ‘command and control’ culture, leaders are subjectively assessing an input – ‘face time’ – but without questioning whether it is related to productivity. If they have been part of an organisation for a while, this behaviour can become deeply ingrained and it may not occur to them that there is an alternative. In contrast, values-driven organisations are focused on the quality of outputs and recognise that engaged employees are more productive because they have more control over when they work.
Leaders can no longer turn a blind eye. You should quantify wellbeing using indicators such as sickness absence, and compare this between teams and against the industry standard. If the results show that the company or particular teams are performing poorly, this can convince the board to sit up and take note of the damage being caused. We carried out a number of studies with individual clients that show a clear relationship between wellbeing, business and HR metrics. One recent example of a clear linkage that we found was in a large national bus operator. The bus depots in which levels of wellbeing were low also had higher accident rates and poorer safety records, as well as higher sickness and absenteeism rates – evidence of where wellbeing really can make a big difference.
High sustainable engagement
Our research shows that organisations with high levels of both engagement and wellbeing outperform those with merely high levels of engagement. Those with high engagement but low wellbeing suffer from ‘burn-out’ among their staff, particularly their key talent. This is shown by high levels of presenteeism, sickness and eventually voluntary turnover. If the health of your organisation is suffering, you need to make a convincing business case and senior managers must lead by example. This may require redefinition of the organisational values which will encourage the right behaviours. These behaviours should be linked to management competencies measured through tools such as 360-degree feedback and employee surveys.