Why line managers are the key to successful workplace wellbeing

April 11, 2023

As a global HR executive search and recruitment consultancy, we help HR professionals thrive and empower HR leaders to put people and culture at the heart of their business – creating a more progressive future for everyone.

Partnering with Aurora Wellness

Earlier this year, we partnered with Aurora Wellness to host virtual roundtables on wellness in the workplace. Aurora is a change consultancy that specialises in mental health, wellbeing, productivity and leadership development. Obehi and Ngozi from Aurora were joined by Claire Pierce, Rachael Bailey and Ella Tasker from Frazer Jones.

Obehi Alofoje and Ngozi Weller from Aurora Wellness

Aurora focuses on strategically embedding good mental wellbeing practices into businesses and offer therapeutic support for individuals who are struggling. The key to their success is that they believe people who feel better do better. Focusing on employee wellbeing isn’t just moral, it’s the responsible thing to do.

It’s also a sound strategy for businesses and their profitability. People are your key resource and they can only deliver and perform at their best when they have positive mental health. Leaders are responsible for the welfare of new and existing employees in their business.

Takeaways from our roundtables

Mental health disorders are going to cost £16 trillion globally in the next seven years. This is more than the cost of cancer care, diabetes and respiratory diseases combined. It will be the most expensive health disorder.

Many of your people are concerned about work-life balance, mental health and burnout. Mental health stress has a huge impact on business performance and its bottom line. If businesses aren’t prepared to invest in their people – including salaries, benefits and support – you won’t go far in you’re strategic direction.

Thinking strategically

So how can you overcome these challenges? Many businesses talk about and invest in mental health but they don’t implement anything strategically. There is a big difference between wellbeing tactics and strategies: your focus needs to shift to human-centric skills, compassion, communication, resilience and emotional intelligence to fully support your staff.

Whether you’re a team leader or a people manager, you are responsible for someone else’s care and career. The CIPD Good Work Index 2022 found that only 56% of their survey respondents considered their employer supportive of mental health. This should be a basic requirement of line managers, who should be able to have difficult conversations and spot when someone is struggling.

Management styles and skills

Management style is one of the most common causes of employee workplace stress. Many leaders view mental health and wellbeing separately from the rest of their people development strategy. But it should be a key competence that you require of your managers and so they need to be given the right skills.

The Aurora 360 framework

The Aurora 360 framework enables you to create a psychologically safe workplace. It starts with discoveries: how do you know what your employees really think about your business? This is where you build your case for action and investment. But how do you know what will work and make a real difference on the ground? Finding the answer could involve focus groups, surveys, exit interviews and return-to-work interviews.

If you distribute work surveys, how often? Who are you asking? What do you do with the results? All of these questions impact how your people respond to your survey. Identify your problem before your solution. It goes deeper than just awareness – it’s showing that your business is actually going to support your people as individuals.

Understanding what healthy means

Everyone needs to understand what “healthy” means and where to go for help. This involves upskilling your managers through training and empowerment. You can then focus on governance, including policies and processes that support levels of care.

You could track your effectiveness through key performance indicators (KPI) so you know in real time what’s working and what isn’t so you can make the right changes to your problems.

By implementing these steps, you can have an effective wellbeing strategy – not just tactics.

Get in touch today to discuss your hiring needs or career.

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