How are diversity and wellbeing connected? Does separating the two make a wellbeing strategy limiting? Rachel Arkle from Yoke Consultancy points ou the three signs why your diversity programme might be missing the point
At Yoke, we focus on every aspect of a worker’s wellbeing. Nutrition is at the core of staying well and more importantly, thriving. It can have a huge effect on someone’s performance and focus, so why aren’t more employers helping their workforce with nutritional education?
For over a decade, we’ve seen a drive for gender balance in the workplace, with leadership in particular under the spotlight. Despite considerable effort and investment, many remark, that progress (even at Google) is glacial, with economists extending their prediction for gender equality until 2186.
On January 9th Theresa May pledged to tackle the ‘stigma’ of mental health and demanded that from a ‘moral and economic standpoint’ employers should join her. So where does this leave wellbeing and more specifically our role in the workplace?
Our White Paper will be published on Monday 16th January, titled "How to Create a Healthy Business". Here's a sneak preview from one of our White Paper conversations; Justin Crossland, VP Global Wellbeing at Barclays.
Mentally ill people are challenged twice.
Rachel Arkle recently published a blog on HR review emphasising five things you need to understand about mental health: what mental health means for your people, who is at risk, what to do about it, how to communicate, and understand mental health is a practice.
Sharing your monthly stories: this month it's our Director Rachel Arkle, reflecting on her year at Yoke
What was the highlight of your year at Yoke Consultancy?
The thing that has excited me most in 2016 has been watching the wellbeing world mature and gradually become a priority for an increasing number of businesses.
According to IBEC’s 2013 Management survey, stress was the predicted hot topic for the future of Learning and Development, with the solutions market expected to grow 27%.
Now 3 years on where are we at?
The implications for mental health treatments after the U.S. election results
Steps for employees to identify and address this common mental disorder
In her recent blog ‘Three ways to deal with mental health’, Rachel Arkle highlighted three stages of effectively addressing mental health issues in the workplace: awareness, acceptance and sharing. To follow on from this, this blog will look more closely at these stages with regards to one of the most prevalent mental illnesses: social anxiety disorder[i].
You may think yet another headline, but last week released their results from a 20,000 person survey on mental health.
Mental Health is here to stay.
The latest statistics show related issues are on the rise, with 77% of us suffering from poor mental health in the last 12 months.
According to a survey by Deloitte, two thirds of Millenials would like to quit their jobs by 2020.[i] This finding causes many to search for the reason why Millenials are leaving the workplace after such a short period. Although they are considered the most stressed generation ever by the American Psychological Association, stress was not the primary cause of Millenials leaving. The strongest predictor for Millenials seeking new jobs was feeling unappreciated at work .[ii] So how can workers feeling unappreciated be prevented? Better Leadership.
It is a commonly held wisdom that before you’re able to help others, you must first help yourself. For example on a plane, you are asked to first fit your own oxygen mask before helping others.
The workplace is changing, with more forward thinking companies realising that getting the best out of their employees, means providing balance and support. This wasn’t always the case – traditionally, having good financial performance was the only indicator to a successful business (1). However, we now see that happiness and good results in the workplace go hand I hand, with Oswold et al (2014) finding that happiness made individuals on average 12% more productive in their tasks. (2)
Wellbeing is booming
Wellbeing is booming. According to Google Trends there are now 50% more “wellbeing” searches than 5 years ago. Across the globe Australia’s curiosities are the highest, with the UK a close second. And most interesting it is here in the UK that we refine our searches towards work most frequently, asking “What is workplace wellbeing?” and “What are the best steps towards workplace wellbeing?” the most.
So with all that in mind, I’m going to offer a succinct definition of wellbeing and it’s value to your business. And from here invite you to take Yoke’s 30 seconds #wellbeingrealitycheckquiz to figure out where you’re at with wellbeing today….and of course what best step to take next :)
Whether you were leave or remain, we can all agree that we are in one of the most dramatic and unstable periods that the UK has faced in modern times. The post-referendum fallout has ranged from the predictable (plummeting pound, a gloating Farage and a farewell to Cameron), to the bizarre (Backstabbing Gove, regretful leave voters, Brexit camp already renegading on their promises) to the heart-breaking (broken governments and the exposure of latent racism and xenophobia). These recent events, as well as the general uncertainty borne from this, have led to higher levels of anxiety and stress amongst Britons. The Guardian has already reported an increase in mental health referrals and therapists’ citing higher anxiety and despair amongst their patients¹.
Wellbeing is here to stay.
As busy HR execs you know it’s important. The business case is well cited and you are aware that some of your competitors are moving forward quicker than others. It’s something you’d like to spend more time on, but as ever divergent priorities pop up, and it’s a challenge to make it happen.
Seneca the Younger was an advisor to Roman Emperor Nero, a playwright and an investor; an accomplished and respected man. Yet it is his writings on Stoicism (a philosophy of life) that though written over 2000 years ago have stood the test of time.
There has been plenty written about the importance of making your work meaningful. Much of this refers to some sort of higher meaning, focusing on the positive effects your work can have on others and the world. Whilst this is of course helpful, it seems that people often forget that the simplest way to make your work meaningful is to find the meaning your job has for you. If this feels selfish, consider the fact that if your work is personally meaningful you will do it better and this will benefit others. Most importantly, though, you will feel better. We spend a lot of our lives working – it should be more than just a means to an end. Doing work that feels personally meaningful is a huge step you can take to improve your wellbeing (Arnold et al., 2007), and no, it doesn’t necessarily require a huge career change.
Last month Yoke released a white paper with HR Review on “3 reasons your wellbeing strategy could be ineffective…and how to fix it!”
Excitingly it got over 100 downloads in 8 days, which is one of the fastest download rates for the first 10 days. But what does this tell us?
I am going to start this with a story from my workplace. My work neighbour, Dave, enlisted the help of our colleagues to interview CEOs. Charlotte, a very senior, impeccably dressed woman was assigned an interview but had a moment of crisis. She didn’t feel prepared enough so couldn’t do it. Dave, having been let down by Charlotte, then went over to a 21 year old who joined our team two months ago and asked him to do it instead. With a shrug of the shoulder and a "Yeah sure ", he accepted. To me this was flabbergasting. Charlotte, a woman who has infinitely more experience, didn’t feel she was up to scratch, but this child was willing to give it a go?…and with a mere shrug of the shoulders?
It is no surprise that employees are more supportive of a decision if they have had a say in it. Seeing their ideas put into practice gives people a sense of accomplishment, motivating them to make it successful. So what can employers do to promote suggestions from employees?
When we think about stress we think about our brain.
For the curious amongst us, notions of anxiety and fear may conjure up images of neuroscientists sketching out the ‘fight of flight’part of the brain, where these emotions manifest. Understanding this functioning is important, especially for those of us who want to improve our ability to think clearly and effectively.
Relationships: reflections of your reality
February has arrived; the month of love, where we take time to celebrate &/or commiserate our relationships. Ironically it’s also the period where we realise we’ve let the majority of our new year intentions slip; of which a high proportion relate to improving the quality of our relationships!
So as we move back into our old ways of interacting and being with partners, friends and colleagues, it’s worth considering (again) ‘what do I really want my relationships to look like; how far is that from my reality and what can I do to get there?’
Download the HR Review Wellbeing edition. Including and article from our MD Rachel Arkle. Follow this link:
So it's that time of year; the time to set 'life changing' resolutions that we hope will build healthier and happier lives for 2016.
The idea of setting resolutions for our personal life is often exciting; we go about planning ambitious adventures, health routines and travels that we expect to help us reach new heights in many areas of our life.
However research shows that many of us focus on every thing but work during this our ‘wellbeing’review. Manager's in particular have a poor track record in harbouring their team's renewed energy. Surely it's a rarity that all your colleagues are aligned to a single purpose at one time; a purpose focused on cleansing old habits and behaviours and embracing new ones?
Community and Wellbeing
If you were asked how you would define ‘community’what would you say? Perhaps you would mention your work colleagues or even an online meet-up group. In some cases it’s difficult to know where to start, especially if we have a tendency to spend a lot of time on our own.
According to the English Dictionary (2015) community refers to ‘a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.’Historically the idea of neighbours and commonalities were often synonymous, with nearby residents often forming solid friendships that subsequently created our sense of community. However as the ever demanding and complex world evolves, the idea of community has dramatically changed with it. It now extends far beyond those who live just around the corner (if we even know their name at all!) to online communities and friendships that surpass geographical restrictions.
How able do we feel to live the life we want?
Or from an organisation’s perspective, how able do you feel as an employee to do your job properly?
This idea first popped up in 1959 when the researcher R. W. White published an article on ‘competence’as a concept for performance motivation. This led others to think more deeply about executive training, with subsequent ‘pioneering’programmes focusing on capability enablement rather than intellect. Gradually the thought that a combination of practical skills and behaviours improved performance was accepted and Prahalad & Hamel’s (1990) theory of ‘core competencies’emerged. In essence it suggested that if we focus on a set of key skills we should be able to live and work more effectively.
Having led a series of Wellbeing workshops this year, I’ve learnt that the third domain of the ‘7 step framework’ is often the most challenging to both articulate and be received by the audience.
‘Meaning & Purpose’ are concepts that mean different things to different people. For some considering their life’s value can be confusing; whether we adopt a scientific approach or a spiritual view point, asking ourselves ‘What is my life all about?’ can be an overwhelming. And if we turn to Google for assistance we’re met with over 700 million results, which simply provokes more despondency and debate. For others however, embracing these ideas of existence opens up exciting potential, with quests for significance becoming a primary pursuit in their daily life.
Written for www.hrreview.co.uk
To relate is to make or show a connection with someone. To develop a relationship reflects the way in which two people continue to connect through a state of being.
They are an art and as we all know too well, relationships are both challenging, difficult, rewarding and nourishing, all rolled into one!
So despite the ups and the downs with our loved ones, whether they be at work, at home or in our community, it’s interesting to understand: ‘how do they really affect our wellbeing?’
A recent report from the Office of National Statistics has analysed ‘our relationships’using UK trend data from the last 3 years. It’s produced some fascinating insight which reaffirms the existing global academic consensus that relationships are not only positive but are indeed ‘vitally important to an individual’s well-being’(ONS 2015).
So that’s great, we know relationships are good for us, but I personally would like to dive a little deeper and understand exactly how they improve our overall quality of life and happiness.
The idea of being physically ﬁt and bodily happy is enticing. Yet why do we increasingly struggle to achieve balance in this part of our lives?Following an introduction to our ‘7 sector framework of organisational wellbeing’ this week we’re diving a little deeper into the concept of Physical Health. Why start here? Well, it may surprise you that despite employees’ personal and often good intentions, our research has shown this area to persistently score the lowest in relation to all other aspects of wellbeing at work. Workers rank physical health as the second highest contributing factor to health and expect the second highest level of support from employer’s. However employees continue to seriously fall short in fulﬁlling their physical goals. So why is there such a gap? An obvious response would be to challenge the realities of our increasingly demanding work routines. As we work longer and harder our energy and time reserves are depleted to such an extent we ﬁnd it ever more challenging to prioritise physical activity. Squeezing a gym session or an evening salsa class in after an 15 hour day is tough!
Stress, anxiety and depression are powerful words. They reﬂect the state of our mental health and increasingly pervade our vocabulary, especially at work. According to UK mental health statistics, at least 1 in 4 of us suffer from these illnesses, with many claiming job pressures to be a direct cause. How many of us have witnessed or contributed to coffee machine shares about high pressured working? When asking a colleague how they are, how often are you met with ‘I’m chasing my tail’ or ‘this is not sustainable’ responses?
According to Yoke’s research, ‘Mental & Emotional Health’ is the number 1 area of Wellbeing (across the 7 sector framework) that employees expect and want help from their employers. Yet despite this call for action, a recent AXAPP Healthcare report found that 69% of bosses don’t take mental health seriously. So much so that despite 25% of the workforce taking mental health leave, employers did not believe or support it as a valid reason for absence. This trend is worrying, but as MIND, the mental health charity responded, ‘not unexpected.’ This divide between individual’s needs and group action is reiterated at the national level.