Taking the stress out of your workplace is a vital ingredient to success.
The creation of employee wellbeing focus groups are a key way in which businesses can start to improve physical and mental health in the workplace, advises a regional expert.
Award-winning Fortis Therapy & Training, led by Alexis Powell-Howard, joined leading regional law firm Wilkin Chapman solicitors and HR recruitment specialists Hays for a presentation and workshop entitled People, Organisations and Wellbeing.
Introducing Alexis to an audience of around 70 at the Oaklands Hotel for the breakfast seminar, Wilkin Chapman Partner and head of employment law and HR, Teresa Thomas had the following advice for business leaders and managers.
“As employers you need to be focused on wellbeing, alongside an ‘employee’s fit’ in terms of personality and approach. ‘Have you got the right people in the right places and how do you best support them’,” she said.
Alexis, whose firm won the 2019 National Small Business of the Year Award, told delegates: “People in your organisation are your most treasured resource, even though there will be times when it may not feel like that.”
Taking inspiration from internationally-known HR guru Jack Welch, she explained the need for managers to recognise the need to support individuals – especially those who were newly-promoted.
“Across all sectors there is an issue around people getting promoted because they are already very good at what they are doing, but then their role becomes about managing people and that can be really tricky. Managers need training on managing people. We know from the research that increasingly ‘management style’ is being cited by employees as increasing work-related stress,” she said.
Urging managers to find ways in which they could have ‘honest conversations’ with employees, Alexis emphasised the importance of keeping people motivated, especially in times of change or growth.
“Working to someone’s strengths and focusing on that is always better than concentrating on a weakness. Their weakness may be someone else’s strength within the team and vice versa,” she advised.
Healthy organisations have engaged teams, with working environments that did not impact on mental and physical health, she said. And, added Alexis, to achieve that firms needed to ensure all their key leaders and members were on board with any strategy that promoted employee wellbeing.
“Developing focus groups, for example, with employees examining wellbeing, stress and mental health, improves awareness and can inform and ensure any strategies fit your individual business and the people within it,” she added.