Employee well-being: 5 Lessons about preventing chronic stress and burn-out (from 40+ senior HR managers)

Employee well-being

No need to bother you with the dazzling numbers of stress and burn out in employees nowadays. Articles on employee well-being are probably piling up in your inbox. It is obvious and undeniable; employee mental health is at risk, and we cannot look away.

Over the past years we have performed thousands of confidential online coaching sessions. Employers incorporate our coaching method in their HR strategy to enhance mental well-being of employees. As part of the well-being community, we have organized multiple round table meetings with 40+ senior HR professionals originating from different countries, sectors and of various sizes. Outcomes of coaching conversations and round tables reflect the current situation on mental health. Based on these outcomes we provide you the top 5 practical tips and guidelines for building resilience in employees and prevent burn out and chronic illness.

At the end of this article you can find a toolkit to foster employee well-being.

5 ways to improve employee well-being and prevention of burnout

 

1 – Lead by example

If you are going to talk the talk… you will have to walk the walk. If your ambition is to motivate employees to take better care of themselves or to create an environment where employees feel comfortable to speak up when they are struggling, the answer is simple: set the example. And yes, that is easier said than done, and doesn’t come naturally to everyone. However, no need to rush to a commercial ‘psychological safety’ workshop. For a start, it is worth sitting down with staff and discussing the potential effect of sharing and opening up. It is proven to help create happier and healthier employees leading to more employee engagement and ultimately, more productivity.

In need of a list of ideas to empower your people? Download our free toolkit.

Create moments of connection - Inuka Coaching

2 – Create moments of connection to improve employee well-being

This focus point has become even more important now in the post-pandemic world, where work sometimes seems to have shifted from more of a team effort to an individual effort. Staying connected and having genuine relationships and people who care about you at work has become more of a challenge, however it is a crucial component in supporting engagement and motivation. Investing in building high-quality relationships and a positive climate is critical to team well-being.

Why? Because connected teams drive collaboration, nurture healthy working relationships, and promote knowledge-sharing. The more connected we are as colleagues, the more enjoyable and efficient our workplace will be.

One way to create moments of connection amongst your employees is by introducing a “check in” moment at the beginning of a meeting. Want to learn how to set up a check in moment properly? Download our toolkit. There you’ll find three other ways to improve the connection within your teams. 

3 – Establish an open and safe atmosphere

The shared values and behaviours of a company shape the organizational culture. It goes without saying that a thriving organizational culture is best for employee well-being. Building a strong culture requires significant thought, behavioural activation and change management, which we will not dive into in this paper. However, feeling distrust or sensing a bad atmosphere is what we systemically hear from our coachees as a cause of stress. So, in the toolkit below we have described a few suggestions to make a step towards a good atmosphere and to make employees feel more engaged. 

“At my department, making a mistake is seen as a failure, so not making any is leading in my work and I feel it is blocking me.” – Anonymous employee

Establish an open and safe atmosphere - Inuka Coaching

 

4- Emphasize employee well-being during the onboarding phase

The onboarding program is the first impression a new employee gets from the company. Only 20% of organizations have proactive, systematic, strategic onboarding across their entire workforce. A missed opportunity because this is the moment to tackle burn out by its root cause! And literature supports this insight. A survey of 7,500 full-time employees by Gallup exposed the top five reasons for burn out. Curious? You will find the list as well as onboarding suggestions in our toolkit. 

5 – Make your mental well-being policy inclusive

An important insight from our round table meetings is the fact that there seems to be a gap in accessibility between reaching employees who are genuinely interested in well-being and those who are not. The first group is easy to reach and open to initiatives to prevent burn out. This group tends to resilience more easily. The challenge is to reach the group for whom these kind of initiatives don’t come naturally.

Yes, I did mention that I was stressed. HR mentioned a mindfulness workshop but I am a technician of 59 years old and I am not into sitting on a cushion to feel mindfull!” – Anonymous employee

Want to learn how to implement these learnings step-by-step? Check out our tookit!

Foster employee well-being

Free Toolkit

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