There's been a lot written in recent years about making the health of your employees an organizational priority, and that’s as it should be. An individual employee’s wellness correlates directly to that employee’s quality of life, to their overall job satisfaction, and, of course, to their productivity. And everything connects: Not only are healthy employees happier employees… they’re also much better for your organization’s bottom line! Maintaining a healthy work force drives down your costs for things like health insurance, days missed, and bringing on temporary workers to fill in for absent full-time employees.
Yet there’s another side of the wellness discussion that has gone under-examined, and that’s the corporate side. Your organization deserves to have its wellness taken into account, too.
If you lead a team or a company, you need to understand that making the corporate wellness discussion a priority is essential if you want to sustain the personal wellness of your employees! Read on and you’ll see what I am getting at.
THIRTEEN BLIND SPOTS THAT CAN UNDERMINE CORPORATE WELLNESS
First, what do I mean by “corporate wellness?” Consider the following. Corporations have thirteen extremely common blind spots that present themselves regardless of the industry or the size of the company. Our experience is that, if these blind spots are left unaddressed, they that can have a direct dramatic negative impact on the health and well-being of any organization – and, by extension, on the health and well-being of every single one of the organization’s employees.
What’s important to notice here is that these blind spots can emerge or re-emerge at any time, even if you’ve dealt with them effectively in the past! Take a look at the list and ask yourself how many of them describe what’s happening in your organization right now.
Not being in recruiting mode. The best companies are always on the lookout for the best people. Are you only in recruiting mode when there is a staffing emergency?
Not establishing a process for hiring. Following a “gut feeling” is not enough. You need a clear, quantifiable hiring process, and everyone who hires employees needs to follow it.
Not tying corporate goals to personal goals. This needs to happen at the individual employee level, which means managers must gain a deep understanding of the personal aspirations of those who report to them.
Not creating and sustaining a culture of accountability. Creating a culture of accountability from the top down requires that leaders show vulnerability. The leader’s personal example is the biggest determinant of success in this area.
Not creating a common organizational language that supports constructive problem-solving. This is particularly important with interactions between departments (such as marketing and sales).
Not capturing best practices. Document what your top performers do and build their best practices into the onboarding and performance review processes.
Assuming management staff do not need training and coaching. Most managers do not receive basic management training or reinforcement, and they should.
Not knowing how to coach. Contrary to popular belief, coaching is not “telling them what to do.” It’s supporting employees in a one-on-one setting and asking them the questions that enable them to take personal responsibility for their own personal and professional development.
Not building the bench. Like a professional sports team, your organization should be developing a reliable pool of emerging talent, not just a few superstars.
Not focusing on lead generation. This is the lifeblood of your business.
Fostering a culture of learned helplessness. Leaders, and everyone else, can fall prey to dysfunctional communication patterns that undermine a sense of personal responsibility. This needs to change – starting at the top.
No methodologies and systems. When everything is improvised, inconsistency carries the day, and predicable events – like key people taking time off – lead to major, immediate problems. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Not sharing the vision with those tasked with implementing it. Only people who share and are aligned with the leader’s vision for the company can evangelize on behalf of it. This vision must be constantly reinforced over time.
SCHEDULE REGULAR CORPORATE WELLNESS CHECKUPS!
Leaders are never “done” dealing with these issues. These thirteen blind spots can be expected to present themselves as obstacles to your organization’s corporate wellness again and again. They are particularly common in situations where the organization is growing rapidly or there have been major changes in focus or leadership.
Remember: Everything is connected! The health of the organization really does affect the health of the individual. Each and every one of these blind spots can and will end up having a negative impact an individual employee’s personal well-being!
For instance: If you don’t have the right onboarding process in place, that means people take longer to ramp up and learn the best practices they need in order to succeed within the role. That means more stress, more self-doubt, lower productivity levels, and more morale problems within your teams. When people aren’t able to produce at the level that you want them to produce, that spells trouble for both the company and the employee. It’s like that for all thirteen of the blind spots. There’s both an organizational downside and a personal downside.
After thirty years of field-testing this principle, I firmly believe that regular “corporate wellness checkups,” using this simple list of blind spots as a starting point, are essential for both personal and organizational health. Leaving even one of these blind spots unexamined is a major risk factor for a later corporate health emergency!
If you’re a company leader, I strongly recommend that you sit down with your management team every quarter, step back from the task of dealing with the latest crisis of the day, and take a look at the blind spots that may be causing all those crises. Invest some of your leadership team’s time and attention in a vigorous discussion about your corporate wellness. Use that “wellness” analogy – everyone gets it right away. Say “Let’s do a health check on our organization.”
Once you’ve started that discussion, you and your team can look closely at which of the thirteen blind spots is currently keeping your organization from its optimum level of wellness. It’s a virtual certainty that at least one blind spot is present, and it’s highly likely that there are two or more blind spots that need your attention.
Use these quarterly “checkup” discussions to figure out what your blind spots are – and what changes need to take place for both your company and your employees to get back on track toward optimal health and well-being.