How to increase employees’ satisfaction and boost organization performance at the same time? Wellbeing officer – This is the way.
Mental health consciousness era
We are finally entering the mental health consciousness era (some faster than the others). Changes that are happening within our environment, technological development and within ourselves are more evident and fast-paced than ever. Still, although people are changing and organisations along with them, management has difficulties catching up. We want to be more productive, therefore we invest in result-oriented solutions and end up getting satisfactory short-term results while neglecting the long-term outcomes of this approach. Sometimes even knowing where to direct efforts, one can end up with a dissatisfied and underperforming team. How can we ensure that our employees are satisfied with their workplace, feel that their job is meaningful and therefore perform outstandingly. Wellbeing officer might be the answer.
Why is wellbeing important in a workplace?
Let’s take a look into some scientific data first. Wellbeing is known to have positive causal effect on physical health (Diener and Chan, 2011; after: Bryson, Forth, Stokes, 2015), thus enabling to reduce anxiety, absenteeism and increase peoples’ engagement. Another causal relationship is observable between wellbeing and inflated productivity (Oswald, Proto, Sgroi, 2015). Moreover, positive emotions in the workplace play an important role in inducing creativity and problem-solving (Amabile, Barsade, Mueller, Staw, 2005). Wellbeing translates as well to teamwork quality (Sandberg, 2010). In contrast, incivility in a workplace can have number of disastrous effects on employees’ job satisfaction, wellbeing, cognitive performance and overall wellbeing (for more see: https://www.ted.com/talks/christine_porath_why_being_respectful_to_your_coworkers_is_good_for_business/transcript).
Why shouldn’t you just give people more money and expect them to work harder?
Because then you are overlooking two important concepts such as organizational culture and organizational climate. Neglecting them or rather creating a money-oriented culture with little consideration to people’s wellbeing can lead to development of counterproductive behaviours, little engagement and lack of meaningfulness. What is more, increased prosperity does not necessarily translate to wellbeing. People apart from financial stability need a chance to grow. Even if someone would care only about economic gain, giving money to his employees would not ensure that they would work harder. If an employee presents a negative attitude toward a workplace or his colleagues then pay rise will not change that. It can temporarily increase one’s performance, but that again is a short-sighted approach.
What does a Wellbeing officer actually do? Where and How magic happens?
It is a role that gained much popularity over the last three years (not coincidentally after the release of Chief Wellbeing Officer book), but not without reason. This term can be applied to HR business partners, HR managers, Leaders, Happiness officers depending on what are their objectives and tasks or anyone with accurate knowledge and who can remain impartial.
Wellbeing officer is not as some might think about smiling at everyone and buying cookies. It is a job position that requires expertise rooted in psychological findings, understanding of people needs as well as knowledge on good organizational practices. Many interpersonal skills that are not easy to come by are indispensable to hold this position successfully along with highly – developed analytical skills.
Responsibilities of the Wellbeing officer
- Wellbeing officer is someone responsible for tailoring a wellbeing strategy to employees’ needs. In order to do so he must be advanced in carrying out research to assess employee’s satisfaction and find barriers standing in the way of wellbeing. Then he is the one to address them.
- Wellbeing officer is someone who can think outside the box and start growth initiatives in a creative way. Someone full of positive energy to encourage people to take action.
- Wellbeing officer is a trainer, mentor and partner who delivers adequate training to help employees grow both individually and as a team. He is a communication master and can share good practices himself. He tackles counterproductive behaviours and plays an important role in mediating conflicts.
- It is someone trustworthy who listens to the workers needs and problems helping them overcome obstacles. He increases engagement and encourages socialisation.
- Wellbeing officer makes sure that employees have the possibility to grow and take pleasure in their work. He creates effective workflows and strengthens the organizational culture that fosters openness, engagement and fulfilment.
It all sounds great, but how to put this into practice.
Some of these tasks might seem unachievable, but they really are, although not without much effort. Being nice isn’t sufficient, someone with that much responsibility will have to develop whole motivational systems and overcome considerable resistance. It is a long process of small and gradually applied adjustments. Attitudes aren’t changed in a day, that needs time and frequent exposure to good practices, as well as a conducive people-oriented atmosphere. Wellbeing officer is about giving employees a chance to flourish and enjoy their work. This is the way ?